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Year in review: Queens’ top stories from March 2021

marchyearinreview
As the year comes to a close, take a look back at some of QNS’ top stories from March 2021.

As the year comes to a close, take a look back at QNS’ top stories from March 2021, from local crime and restaurant openings to the creation of COVID-19 vaccine sites and court cases.

Flushing small business owner takes action against DoorDash over fraud allegation

David Liu, owner of A-Crepe in Flushing, says DoorDash claims he violated the food delivery company’s terms of service but didn’t provide an explanation. (Photo by Eric Leung)

At the beginning of March, QNS reported on DoorDash terminating A-Crepe’s merchant license over suspected fraudulent activity. According to the shop’s owners, the food delivery service had withdrawn a total of $46,700 earned from sales and proceeds without notice and terminated the restaurant’s account days later without any explanation.

“All within one day, without warning. After that occurred we were really confused,” Eric Leung said on behalf of his business partner and owner David Liu. “This is literally months and months of revenue — we have rent, bills and other expenses to pay and we can’t afford to without this money.”

Leung went on to say that since DoorDash had access to A-Crepe’s account number, the company pulled the funds using an automated clearing house transfer (ACH). Liu and Leung were able to recover $32,000 after the pair disputed it with Bank of America and filled out an affidavit saying that the ACH transfer was unauthorized. The remaining $14,000 in funds were still withheld by DoorDash.

Despite contacting DoorDash for an explanation as to why their account was canceled without notice, a company representative reportedly cited “fraudulent activity” but no further information.

“The only specifics we can provide is that the terms of services have been violated through fraud and when that happens, they will not reactivate the store. I apologize for the inconvenience,” a DoorDash representative told A-Crepe in a Jan. 19 email.

Following the ordeal, Leung gave a message to all small business owners: Don’t be afraid to speak up.

“If we can do it, then anyone can do it. I just want people to stand up for what is right, and that’s all for the power of community. We will stand together for what’s right and tell those big companies we’re not going to get bullied,” Leung said.

Missing Kew Gardens woman found dead inside wooded area of Forest Park: NYPD

Meghan Stecher (Photo courtesy of NYPD)

A young Kew Gardens woman named Meghan Stecher was found dead in Forest Park, just days after she was reported missing.

Stecher’s body was reportedly found inside an area of the park about 100 yards north of Forest Park Drive, near the Long Island Rail Road’s Lower Montauk Brach, around 10:30 p.m. on March 2.

The Austin Street resident was reported missing at the end of February and was last seen alive at her home on Feb. 25.

Police said that EMS personnel pronounced her dead at the scene. There were reportedly no visible signs of trauma to her body and cops were investigating her cause of death.

Sources familiar with the investigation said that Stecher was known to frequent Forest Parks and nature trails in and around Willow and Meadow lakes in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

NYC Sheriff’s Office shuts down illegal rave at radioactive Superfund site in Ridgewood

The sheriff’s office raided an illegal rave on March 6, 2021, inside a warehouse located within a Superfund site in Queens. (Photo courtesy of NYC Sheriff’s Office)

The NYC Sheriff’s Office broke up an illegal rave at a Ridgewood warehouse, which was also a radioactive Superfund site.

According to reports, law enforcement responded to 1133 Irving Ave. at about 1:40 a.m. on March 6. The site is part of the 3/4-acre EPA-designated Wolff-Alport Superfund Zone, where there had been ongoing efforts to clean up radioactive contamination.

The sheriff’s office said that it had gotten a tip-off about a potential rave and they spotted a large number of people entering the warehouse that night.

Upon entering, law enforcement witnessed at least 142 people dancing and drinking alcohol without face masks. To top it off, the location also did not have a valid liquor license or a valid certificate of occupancy.

Reports indicated that the sheriff’s office cleared the party out without incident.

City opens new COVID-19 vaccination site at Flushing Library

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jim.henderson

In the fight against the pandemic, the city partnered with Queens Public Library to offer COVID-19 vaccines at Flushing Library, located at 41-17 Main St.

“With more supply coming online, we are expanding the number of sites to serve the people of our city across the five boroughs,” de Blasio said. “This new partnership with Queens Public Library will help us put shots in the arms of Queens residents right in the heart of their communities.”

Back in March, the library began offering more than 200 vaccine appointments per day, with dedicated appointments for eligible Queens residents. At the time, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott said that the library was positioned to serve as a site where the vaccine could be distributed to “high numbers of people, given its standing as a trusted center of community, prominent location, heavy foot traffic and convenient access to public transportation.”

Police find man dead with gunshot wound to chest inside parked car in Howard Beach

A 57-year-old man was found dead with a gunshot wound to his chest inside a car in Howard Beach on Friday, March 12, 2021. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

The same month, police investigated the suspicious death of a 57-year-old man in Howard Beach, after he was found in a parked car with a gunshot wound to his chest.

According to police, a source had called in about an unidentified man inside the car, which was parked at the corner of 95th Street and 156th Avenue, around 3:30 a.m. on Friday, March 12.

Reports said that investigators found the man with a gunshot wound to his chest and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said they later discovered a gun on the front seat, which they believed to be the one that produced the bullet that killed the man.

At the time, detectives were investigating whether or not the man had died by suicide or homicide.

Group of teens attacks 13-year-old Asian American boy in suspected hate crime in Flushing

A 13-year-old Asian American boy was attacked inside Flushing’s Bowne Playground in an alleged hate crime on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Photo via Google Maps)

On March 16, a 13-year-old Asian American boy was playing at Bowne Playground when he got into an argument with three other teen boys, according to an NYPD report.

The three boys shoved the 13-year-old to the ground and proceeded to take turns throwing a basketball at the boy’s head, cops said.

Reports said that one of the attackers berated the boy, saying, “Stupid f––g Chinese. Go back to your country,” before running off.

The boy, who had suffered injuries to his head during the beating, was taken to Flushing Hospital in stable condition.

According to reports, the attack was the latest in an alarming trend of anti-Asian hate crimes in the borough, city and country.

Just days before, an Asian American mother was walking near a Fresh Meadows part with her young child, when an unidentified man spit in her direction and called her the “Chinese virus.”

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