Capt. Recounts Maspeth Crime Spree
Officers slapped the cuffs on a wild robber in Maspeth and a serial cell phone snatcher in Middle Village during a busy weekend for the 104th Precinct, the force’s commander reported during a press briefing at the Ridgewood stationhouse on Monday, Aug. 25.
Capt. Christopher Manson summarized the Aug. 24 arrest of 41- year-old Patrick Pellegrino, who allegedly went on a crime spree that included smashing up and stealing a cab, breaking through a home and trespassing in a cemetery at night.
Manson also noted the capture of Bronx resident Rafael Betances, 19, who was busted after allegedly stealing a cell phone from a woman in Middle Village last Friday, Aug. 22, and later fingered for three other recent thefts in the 104th Precinct’s confines.
Regarding Pellegrino, Manson said the trouble began at about 11:45 p.m. Friday night in the vicinity of Perry Avenue, Borden Avenue and Hamilton Place in Maspeth.
Reportedly, a man was driving his cab eastbound on Borden Avenue when Pellegrino, armed with a hammer, allegedly approached the car and began smashing its windows.
The driver managed to pull away from Pellegrino and stopped about a block away from where the attack occurred, it was noted. After the driver exited the vehicle and inspected the damage, Manson stated, Pellegrino allegedly ran up to the man and punched him in the face, then jumped into the cab and drove away.
Minutes later, the commander noted, Pellegrino allegedly drove to a nearby residence and busted through the front door. He then returned to his vehicle and fled the scene.
Responding to multiple calls about the incidents, and reports of a cab driving erratically through Maspeth and Middle Village, the 104th Precinct began canvassing the area for the suspect and vehicle.
At about 1:49 a.m. early Saturday morning, Aug. 23, officers from the precinct located the smashed up and stolen cab in the vicinity of 62nd Drive and 69th Street, adjacent to All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village.
Seconds later, Manson stated, the officers spotted a person running through the cemetery-who turned out to be Pellegrino. He was booked on weapons possession, robbery, criminal mischief and trespassing charges-but was removed to Bellevue Hospital Center for a psychiatric evaluation.
As for Betances, the commander stated the suspect-while riding a bicycle-allegedly grabbed a cell phone out of the hand of a 37-yearold woman in the vicinity of 67th Road and 78th Street in Middle Village at about 3:15 p.m. last Friday.
Police received a 911 call about the theft and initiated a search; Manson noted that, at the time, the precinct was actively investigating a pattern of similar robberies in the confines that had taken place in previous days.
During the search, police located Betances in the area of Juniper Valley Park and took him in for questioning. He reportedly confessed to committing three other recent cell phone snatchings in Ridgewood and Glendale.
Betances was charged with four counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. He was ordered held on $25,000 bond or $10,000 cash bail during his arraignment in Queens Criminal Court last Saturday before Judge Michele Armstrong, according to records.
Despite the busy weekend, crime dropped slightly in the 104th Precinct for both the last 28 days and for the year, Manson stated.
According to the CompStat report concluding on Aug. 17, crime dropped by 1 percent for the year, with 931 felonies reported, 10 fewer than the number recorded at the same time last year.
Robberies, felony assaults and burglaries all plunged by double-digit percentages, but grand larcenies and auto thefts spiked, as noted in the report.
Regarding traffic, Manson credited increased enforcement related to the city’s Vision Zero street safety campaign in reducing vehicular accidents resulting in injuries. So far in 2014, the 104th Precinct had 146 accidents resulting in injuries to drivers or pedestrians, down 23 percent from last year.
At the same time, 104th Precinct officers issued approximately 6,676 moving violations, 845 more than the number recorded at this time in 2013. These violations include failure to yield to pedestrians, disobeying traffic signs, speeding, failure to stop at red lights and making improper turns.
“Anytime there’s a pedestrian struck, we do operations” in the area where the accident occurred, Manson said in explaining the precinct’s enhanced enforcement of traffic laws. The precinct also focuses on accident-prone locations around the command.
The commander noted that officers also conduct regular DWI enforcement operations around the precinct’s confines on weekends.