By Carlotta Mohamed
Frustrated over attempted vehicle break-ins in Whitestone, one resident wants the 109th Precinct to address the issue and put more patrol cars on the streets.
Massimo Mancini woke up to his vandalized car last week at approximately 5:30 a.m. and filed a report with the 109th complaining about the recurring problem in the neighborhood.
“They didn’t take anything in my car. They completely missed some of the stuff they could’ve taken. I had money that was wrapped up in a receipt, they grabbed it, and threw it on the floor thinking it was just receipts,” said Mancini.
He felt violated and when he spoke to the police, he was told that the “men go up and down the street and check for cars and take what they can.”
“These guys don’t really get punished. They get one night in jail and then they’re free,” the Whitestone man said.
“Can you imagine that someone can break into your possession and steal whatever they want and get one night in jail, a slap on the wrist? There’s something wrong with that, in my opinion,” said Mancini.
Six months ago, Mancini’s business partner, who lives two blocks away from him, saw three guys on surveillance footage walking down the block going to driveways, attempting to break into cars.
Mancini claims that the 109th Precinct doesn’t feel the need to send more patrol cars out on the streets since the crime rate is low in the neighborhood.
After the break-in, Mancini said that now when he wakes up in the morning, he checks to see if his tires, rims, and everything else are still on the car.
Police Officer Ares Huang of the 109th confirmed through the Crime Analysis Unit there have been 11 car break-in incidents in Whitestone, but said it’s happening everywhere in the precinct and the police are patrolling the neighborhood to catch the criminals.
“We have an NCO program with officers in each sector at all times where people can reach out directly for contact on crimes and any related issues,” said Huang. “The officers know all of the crimes out there that’s happening, and crimes happen everyday, but we’re not neglecting the issues there.”
According to Huang, after an officer completes the paperwork for an arrest at the precinct, it is sent to the DA’s office and the person is transferred from the precinct to the court at central booking, where the accused stays at a temporary detention center and posts bail to be released.
Huang said when the person who is suspected of committing the crime is arrested, it depends on their record and the value of possessions that were taken.
“Anything above $1,000 is a felony known as grand larceny, and anything less than $1,000 is petty larceny known as a misdemeanor,” said Huang.
Mancini said he notified state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) about the Whitestone break-ins. Avella had sent a letter requesting a “review of the matter” to the 109th precinct Commanding Deputy Inspector, Keith Shine.
Huang said they have received the letter and plan to schedule a meeting to discuss the matter.
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha