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Two men arrested in Hampton Inn shooting: NYPD

By Sadef Ali Kully

Police officials said two men were arrested in connection with the Hampton Inn shooting robbery of a mother and daughter near JFK last week as part of an investigation into a series of incidents at hotel parking areas.

Ex-cons John Howard and Donald Warren were taken into custody Wednesday and believed to have taken part in five robberies in New York City and four in Nassau, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said, according to Newsday.

Newsday said the two men were suspects in the armed robbery at Hampton Inn near Kennedy Airport last week. Details of the other robberies were not given.

Before the arrests police had said suspects, one of whom was in the getaway car and the other who is suspected of actually robbing the 53-year old mother and 20-year-old daughter, escaped in a white sedan.

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According to police officials and hotel sources, the mother, Andrea Koller, and daughter, Meredith Stifter, had just arrived from Maryland Jan. 21 and were checking into the Hampton Inn at 144-10 135th Ave. when they were robbed at the entrance of the hotel.

Police said while Stifter waited in the car at the entrance, a suspect approached her with a gun and demanded money. She did not have any money, so he stole her rings and then pistol whipped her with the weapon, the NYPD said.

Police said Koller walked out from the hotel as the robbery was taking place and got into a physical struggle with the suspect, who shot her once in the torso. He fled the scene with Koller’s handbag, according to the authorities.

The NYPD said the suspect fled the scene in a white 2005-2010 Volkswagen Jetta driven by a second suspect.

Police described the suspects as two black males; the first suspect looked like he was in his 30s, 5-feet-11 inches, medium build, wearing a black ski mask, black Columbia jacket, black pants and black sneakers. Police only described the second suspect as having braided hair.

Emergency responders took both women to Jamaica Hospital. The daughter was released the day of the incident, according to police while the mother was out of critical care by Friday, according to media reports.

Police released a sketch of one of the robbers suspected as being involved in the robbery at Hampton Inn and a string of coordinated gunpoint robberies by a suspected robbery crew across southeastern Queens over the last few weeks.

Police officials said the suspects may have been involved in five reported incidents dating back to the last week of December. The modus operandi of the suspects is to approach men and women who are sitting in a car from both sides, police said.

The suspects, who carry weapons, then attack and rob the victims, police said.

The first incident happened Dec. 28 outside a home on 153rd Lane in Jamaica near JFK Airport. A 64-year-old man was sitting in his vehicle when he was approached by two suspects, police said. Each suspect forced his way into the car and demanded the victim turn over his wallet and threatened to shoot him. The suspects hit the victim before robbing him and fleeing the scene, police said.

Police officials released photos of the jewelry stolen from Stifter Sunday. The rings were described as a silver-metal elephant ring; gold-and-black-metal 2013 Notre Dame High School class ring; silver-metal hammered flat ball ring and a silver-metal hammered flat ring with a blue stone.

Police said there have been no arrests and the investigation was ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers’ website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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