By Kelsey Durham
The 111th Community Precinct Council awarded two officers at its monthly meeting Tuesday for their work in helping to catch a suspect the NYPD says is responsible for a string of car thefts that hit the Bayside area this winter.
Officers Frederick O’Modie and Alan Reed were recognized by Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta for the Jan. 14 arrest of a 19-year-old man who later admitted to stealing six vehicles across the confines of the 111th Precinct dating back to the beginning of the year, police said.
Huerta said O’Modie and Reed were on night patrol when they received a report of a possible stolen car from a neighborhood in northeast Queens. The officers circled the area and were unable to find any suspicious activity but instead of moving on after receiving the report, O’Modie and Reed looked further.
“Some officers may have just alerted patrol that they didn’t find anything, but these officers decided to investigate all possible leads,” Huerta said.
O’Modie and Reed discovered that a man matching the suspect’s description was stopped by another officer about an hour before their search and they decided to continue looking. The two eventually came across the man driving a vehicle with no headlights on near 222nd Street and 39th Avenue in Bayside and arrested him after it was confirmed that the car was stolen.
Police were later able to tie the teen to 13 additional crimes in the area, including five other car thefts that Huerta said he later admitted to. At Tuesday’s meeting, O’Modie and Reed were presented with plaques recognizing them for their determination that led to the end of a crime spree.
“These officers were able to apprehend an elusive criminal who would have stolen other vehicles,” Huerta said.
The suspect was charged with six counts of grand larceny for the vehicles police said he admitted to stealing and is also facing eight other charges, mostly criminal mischief, that Huerta said stem from some graffiti he was also allegedly responsible for in recent months.
Since the arrest, Huerta said the 111th has seen a decrease in car thefts but he still advised the public to be alert when leaving their vehicles unattended and never to leave spare keys inside a car.
He also said the Nassau County Police Department recently made arrests of a group believed to be behind nearly two dozen catalytic converter thefts, and police were hoping the arrests put an end to the problem in Queens.
Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at email@example.com.