Queens Courier Year in Review: The top stories from January 2019

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U.S. Postal Service installs the ‘Cadillac of Mailboxes’ to stop mail theft

Plans to replace regular blue mailboxes with high-security collection boxes were implemented in northeast Queens in January. According to Donna Harris, a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, the independent government agency provided residents with the “Cadillac of Mailboxes.”

These boxes feature a “small slit as opposed to a larger opening,” said Harris. The slits on the mailboxes measure “three-eighths of an inch high” in an attempt to prevent mailbox fishing attempts.

She added that the agency has been working in cooperation with the NYPD to evaluate data that shows which boxes are targeted most frequently.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure the mail is safe,” Harris said. “We want customers to know that we take this very seriously.”

Both the USPS and the NYPD advise residents to mail checks and cash via the post office but share tips for those who opt to use blue mailboxes. Tips include using pens with permanent ink that can’t be “washed” or erased, checking bank account balances regularly and report any mailbox tampering to 911.

Authorities raid Flushing home and come away with surprise haul

Cops seized 480 pounds of weed in Flushing raid. (Courtesy of Queens DA’s office)

When police officers and federal agents raided a Flushing home in January as part of a credit card fraud investigation, they found much more than the makings of a counterfeit credit card mill. Authorities seized 480 pounds of marijuana and $600,000 in cash from the residence on 22nd Avenue, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Three people at the home were taken into custody. Members of the NYPD and the FBI Joint Major Theft Task Force raided the two-story home.

With street sale estimates for marijuana in New York ranging between $275 and $338 an ounce, the total amount of marijuana seized from the Flushing home figures to exceed $2 million. Law enforcement agents have not yet disclosed an approximate street value of the pot.

Masked gunmen invade Glendale hone: NYPD

Masked gunman invade Glendale home. (Photo via Getty Images)

Two armed thieves terrorized an 18-year-old man and stole thousands of dollars in property during a Glendale home invasion in January.

Law enforcement sources said the victim was at home, in the vicinity of 78th Avenue and 84th Street, when the two suspects, who were wearing ski masks, entered the location and pulled a gun on him. One of the invaders then pistol-whipped the victim, then tied him up.

Cops said that the thieves proceeded to search the home and removed $9,000 in cash along with a wallet, a PlayStation 4 video game console and a safe. The gunmen then fled the location in an unknown direction.

There was no physical description of the men and no identifying marks, according to the NYPD. The victim was not seriously injured.

Woman struck by motorist in downtown Flushing

FDNY rescues collision victim in downtown Flushing. (Photo courtesy of Rob Reynolds)

A woman was struck and pinned under a vehicle while crossing Roosevelt Avenue between Main Street and Union Street in January leading to calls for increased safety measures in Downtown Flushing.

Police said a 59-year-old woman was. heading to the subway station, when she was hit by a black Ford and was pinned under the vehicle, before first responders freed her and transported her to a local hospital.

“At the end of the day, the intersection of Roosevelt and Main Street is statistically one of the busiest intersections in New York City for both pedestrians and vehicle traffic, and we will continue working with the DOT, 109 Precinct, the Community Board and all stakeholders to ensure drivers and pedestrians are educated and informed about the need to travel safely,” City Councilman Peter Koo said.

Koo added that he’s worked with the DOT on a number of improvements centered on the downtown Flushing area over the last several years, which include a complete reconstruction of Main Street, wider sidewalks up to 9 feet to make it safer for pedestrians, new crosswalks, pedestrian islands, street repavings, bus lanes, traffic signals, adjustments to traffic signal timings, and more restrictive traffic patterns that prioritize pedestrian crossings.

Man steals 3,500 cases of beer off train in Ridgewood

Man steals 3,500 cases of beer off train in Ridgewood. (Photo via Flickr)

A man brewed up quite a caper on the Ridgewood/Glendale border: stealing approximately 3,500 cases of beer from an idle train car on a freight rail line in January. Police said the grand larceny occurred near the intersection of Cody and Cypress Avenue, near a train overpass.

Surveillance images showed the vague figure of a man through a thicket, but no discernible details of the person’s features can be gleaned from the images.

According to the NYPD, at least 350 cases stolen were Corona brand; the entire shipment was valued at about $100,000. Detectives could not explain how one man could move so much beer on his own.

Word of mouth circulating between beer distribution companies in the area said it may have impacted Manhattan Beer Distributors in Ridgewood on Metropolitan Avenue and Woodward Avenue.

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