Astoria cops catch duo wanted for 29 cases of larceny from Rite Aid pharmacies

Officers Prezmyslaw Jamiokowlski (left) and Craig Zaleski (right) were given Cop of the Month honors at the 114th Precinct Community Council meeting.
THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua

It started as a routine stop of two men in a driveway; it ended with a big arrest for two 114th Precinct officers.

Police Officers Przemyslaw Jamiolkowski and Craig Zaleski received Cop of the Month honors during Tuesday’s 114th Precinct Community Council meeting in Astoria for arresting two men wanted for a rash of larcenies in the area.

The officers were patrolling the neighborhood on Dec. 22, 2015, around 9:30 p.m. when they spotted two men acting suspiciously in a private driveway at the intersection of 29th Street and 21st Avenue, according to Captain Peter Fortune, the precinct’s commanding officer.

The men were removing the wrapping from packages and placing the items in a shopping cart. The area had seen a spike in reports of stolen packages, so Jamiolkowski and Zaleski approached the men and began questioning them.

“It was quickly evident that the men were up to no good because upon questioning one of the men, they gave conflicting stories,” Fortune said.

Jamiolkowski recognized one of the perpetrators from a camera surveillance video documenting a previous grand larceny at a Rite Aid pharmacy in the area. The cops placed the men under arrest and quickly contacted the property owners to tell them about their stolen packages.

After further investigation, officers discovered that the men were also wanted for an active investigation for a robbery involving a livery cab driver, 29 larceny incidents from local Rite Aid pharmacies and numerous stolen package thefts.

Fortune commended the officers for their “vigilance and exceptional investigation.”