Troopers on Patrol
On December 26, 2015, SP Valley Stream patrols were dispatched to a complaint about a rock-throwing incident that had occurred on an overpass on the Meadowbrook State Parkway, in the Uniondale area of the town of Hempstead. The report indicated that several vehicles had been struck by bricks and large concrete blocks that had been thrown onto the parkway from a pedestrian overpass, south of Hempstead Turnpike. During the response to the incident, patrols learned that one of the victims had been taken to Nassau University Medical Center to be treated for injuries sustained as a result of the incident.
Sergeant Evan G. Dick, SP Lake Success, responded to the hospital to photograph the victim's injuries and document the damage to the complainant's vehicle. While photographing the vehicle, a large brick was observed in the back seat. The complainant advised Sergeant Dick that the brick entered the vehicle through the windshield while driving northbound on the parkway. In an attempt to identify the exact location of the incident and possibly locate any suspects involved, Troopers Eric L. Brown, Joseph L. Potucek IV, and Michael G. Olivieri, all of SP Valley Stream, were sent to the area where the incident was believed to have taken place. Investigator Heather L. Sinkowitz, SP Valley Stream, responded as well.
During the response, Troop L Communications continued to receive multiple calls regarding the debris-throwing activity, which included several witness accounts. Using this information, troopers were able to locate evidence consisting of several bricks and concrete blocks, in the lanes of the Meadowbrook State Parkway. It became obvious that the bricks and blocks had been thrown off the Glenn Curtiss pedestrian footbridge. A search of the area for the suspects yielded negative results. However, the exact location from which the bricks were thrown was located.
Over the course of the next several days, the investigation progressed as additional details continued to stream in to the case investigators. Interviews in the adjacent neighborhoods were conducted by Senior Investigator Patrick J. Colgan, SP Valley Stream, Senior Investigator Thomas J. Hughes, Major Crimes, Investigator Laurence L. Hemmerich, Major Crimes, and Investigator Sinkowitz. More than seventy residential homes were canvassed by BCI members from SP Valley Stream and the Troop L Major Crimes Unit.
Shortly after the incident had occurred, local media posted a tip-line phone number at the request of the case investigators. Several days after the incident, Troop L Communications Specialist Ms. Marlene T. Brigantino received a call from an individual who was responding to the request for public assistance. Initially, the caller requested to remain anonymous due to her close relationship with the perpetrators. Ms. Brigantino was able to convince the caller to reveal her identity and to identify the suspects in this case. Ms. Brigantino's persistence in gaining the confidence of the caller was highly instrumental in narrowing the focus of the investigation.
Investigator Sinkowitz and Investigator Michael P. Grosso, SP Valley Stream, interviewed the two male suspects identified by Ms. Brigantino's caller. Both subjects reside in the area where the criminal behavior took place. Investigators were able to establish that they had identified the individuals who were responsible for the crimes. Two males, ages 17 and 19, were arrested for the felonies they randomly committed against innocent people. The defendants were each charged with the crimes of Reckless Endangerment 2nd Degree, Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree, and Assault 2nd Degree.
Historically, many cases like this remain unsolved, despite the enormous danger to the motoring public. The collective efforts of all involved helped prevent future criminal behavior and further public exposure to these types of senseless and dangerous acts.
On December 30, 2015, Trooper Brian G. Kieckhafer, SP Newburgh, was working a commercial vehicle enforcement out of SP Newburgh. At approximately 12:28 PM, he received a radio transmission from T/Sergeant Matthew X. Konkle, Troop T Headquarters, for a BOLO of a blue 2006 Hyundai Accent bearing NY registration HAY1354, driven by a suspect wanted by the Schenectady Police Department for an attempted homicide.
Trooper Kieckhafer observed the suspect vehicle traveling southbound from the Harriman Tolls (Exit 16) and advised dispatch. Trooper Kieckhafer followed the vehicle to mile marker thirty-one where he stopped the vehicle with the assistance of the Ramapo Police Department. He took the suspect into custody without incident, and with the assistance of Investigator Eric S. Haydt, Troop F, turned the suspect over to the Schenectady Police Department.
On January 1, 2016, at approximately 11:38 AM, Trooper Anthony A. Favre, SP Tarrytown, received a radio transmission from T/Sergeant Konkle advising all posts to BOLO for a black 2015 Jeep Patriot bearing NY registration GXT2113, possibly being operated by a male subject wanted by the City of Ithaca Police Department for questioning in an attempted homicide.
Trooper Favre observed the vehicle and began following it until additional units could respond. When backup arrived, he initiated a felony traffic stop with the assistance of Lieutenant Lawrence A. Muller, Z/Sergeant John F. Maasz Jr., Troopers Carlos Desilva and John H. Finaro, all of SP Tarrytown. The male passenger was found to be the subject of the BOLO and was taken into custody without incident. Both subjects were transported to SP Tarrytown.
During an inventory of the Jeep, Trooper Favre located $3,000 cash inside the inner pocket of a Coach bag belonging to the driver. All property was secured. The driver was charged with traffic violations and released. Additionally, the passenger was found to be in possession of 2 grams of marijuana. He was processed for Unlawful Possession of Marijuana and released into the custody of the Ithaca Police.
Troopers Kieckhafer and Favre's vigilance while on patrol located dangerous criminals. Their efforts are commendable and their actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of the New York State Police.
To all the members involved in these cases, congratulations on jobs well done. To them, and all our Troopers on Patrol, keep up the tradition.