Tire thefts & gambling – Reaction to neighborhood ills

By Aaron Short

Vehicle break-ins, treacherously icy sidewalks, and illegal gambling houses were the topics of the day at the Nottingham Association’s December meeting at Public School 193, Bedford Avenue and Avenue L, last week. According to Chaim Deutsch, chief aide to Councilmember Michael Nelson, a string of tire thefts were brought to a stop. “We caught the guys who were stealing tires from the cars,” said Deutsch. “They were pulling up to cars, taking the wheels off and putting the cars on cinder blocks. We called the police and followed them down the Belt Parkway. The police picked them up and pulled them over right before the Verrazano Bridge. They were charged with possession of weapons, too.” The Nottingham Association is known for its aggressive patrol unit which helps keep the community safe. A patrol car drives through the neighborhood at night looking to prevent burglaries, thefts and other criminal acts that have been reported in the neighborhood. “We switched the patrol car to cover Friday nights in order to catch the most crime such as car break-ins, burglaries, and busted windows,” said Deutsch. “The swoops have been very successful. Last year we had over 200 arrests and this year we have had only 40.” Deutsch and the association members believed that the crime was occurring on Fridays because the Nottingham Park section in Midwood is primarily a Jewish neighborhood and people’s guard may be down on Shabbat. “A lot of people come here from out of state, Pennsylvania, New Jersey to visit friends and family over the weekend,” Deutsch said. “They leave things in their car. They’re just visiting. They think the area is safe like their hometown. Criminals aren’t stupid.” Deutsch also gave an update on a residential building on Bedford Avenue and East 24th Street that illegally housed gambling activities. “We called and asked for a sting operation,” Deutsch said. “At 1:30 a.m. we saw two men walk up and down the block, hesitate, and then enter the house and get buzzed in. We got the plate numbers and called the police. Literally not two minutes later, 15 cop cars swarmed the area. Later we found out that the two guys had Uzis.” Deutsch said that the police caught one man and were still looking for the other suspect and the man who set up the gambling arrangement. One of the gamblers, according to Deutsch, apparently was not wearing pants when he was caught. “We learned a big lesson here. If you gamble, keep your pants on,” Deutsch said. Members of the Nottingham Association also reminded people to buy smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, shared information about shoveling and salting icy sidewalks, and debated whether to fix the patrol car or buy a new one. The members in attendance wanted to buy a new patrol car but were divided over whether to buy an inexpensive model or a more expensive hybrid car that would be better for the environment. They voted to form a committee to look into the issue. Deutsch ended his report by warning about a man with a red trimmed beard who sneaks up behind women on the street and pinches their behind. Several women have called the police to file the complaint but the man is still at large. “We call him the tushmeister. He has not been caught yet, so be careful,” Deutsch said.

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