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Suspect in hotel shooting charged with robbery in another incident: DA

By Sadef Ali Kully

One of the career criminals, suspected of having a connection with a hotel shooting last month of a mother and daughter near Kennedy Airport, was charged with robbery incidents in Queens and Nassau counties, according to police officials and the Queens district attorney.

Police arrested Donald Warren and John Howard, but currently only Warren has been charged in another crime, according to the Queens DA.

NYPD officials said Warren and John Howard, both paroled convicts, were linked to nine other robberies in southeastern Queens and Nassau County.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said both suspects have not officially been connected to the shooting incident at the Hampton Inn in South Ozone Park but said police were looking for other suspects connected to the assault in their ongoing investigation.

Police said forensic evidence from past robbery incidents led to the arrest of Howard and Warren.

Both arrests came after a mother and daughter from Maryland were injured Jan. 21 during a robbery at Hampton Inn in South Ozone Park. The mother, Andrea Koller, was shot in the torso when she tried to stop the suspect from robbing her daughter. The daughter, Meredith Stifter, was pistol-whipped in the head after being robbed of her jewelry.

Koller and Stifter had just arrived at the hotel and were checking in when the robbery took place.

Both victims were taken to the hospital for the injuries sustained during the robbery, Stifter was released the same day and Koller was in critical condition for 24 hours after the incident. police sources said.

According to Queens DA Richard Brown, Warren, who was on parole, was charged with attempted robbery in another incident Jan. 9, according to the criminal complaint.

A 45-year-old woman was walking through a parking lot near 144-02 135th Ave. in Jamaica that afternoon when she heard a male call out, the complaint said. When the victim turned around, an unknown black vehicle approached, a man displayed a black revolver and demanded money, police said.

The victim ran off and the suspect did not get any cash, police said

Police said both suspects may have been involved in four other reported incidents in Queens 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.

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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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