Timothy Bolger

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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.

2 Mob Associates Charged With Franklin Square Heist, Feds Say

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Two reputed mobsters were indicted for allegedly robbing a Franklin Square jewelry store and trying to rob two other jewelry stores in the same community six years ago, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Darren Elliot, 30, and Matthew “Mack” Hattley, 26, both of Queens, were arrested on robbery, attempted robbery and firearms offenses, among other charges, at Brooklyn federal court. They were among seven Bonanno crime family members and associates rounded up, including the late mob boss John Gotti’s grandson.

“This office and its partners will continue to vigilantly pursue such organized violence and stop it in its tracks,” said Bridget Rohde, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, who credited Nassau County police for their help in the investigation.

Prosecutors said Elliot and Hattley stole about $250,000 in merchandise when they robbed one jewelry store at gunpoint and tied up the store owner—and tried to commit two other Frankin Square jewelry store robberies between Aug. 17, 2011 and May 5, 2012.

Others charged in the pair of indictments include the Teflon Don’s 23-year-old grandson, John J. Gotti, 82-year-old Vincent Asaro, 22-year-old Michael Guidici, 26-year-old Matthew “Fat Matt” Rullan and 37-year-old Christopher “Bald Chris” Boothby. All are from Queens.

Asaro, a former captain in the Bonanno family who was recently acquitted of charges that he plotted the Lufthansa heist, allegedly ordered an associate to set fire to a vehicle whose driver cut him off in 2012, authorities said. The associate, Gotti and Rullan torched the vehicle and fled police who witnessed the arson, according to investigators.

Two weeks later, Gotti, Rullan, and Guidici allegedly robbed a bank of $5,491 after Guidici passed a note to a teller that stated in part, “I have a bomb,” prosecutors said. And in 2014, Boothby, Hattley and another Bonanno associate allegedly stole more than $50,000 in cash and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry during a home invasion during which a woman was tied up, authorities said.

All of the suspects face up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

Lindenhurst Man Pleads Guilty to Fatal DWI Crash

Ryan Gurecki
Ryan Gurecki

A Lindenhurst man has admitted to driving drunk and causing the crash that killed a 56-year-old woman in the victim’s hometown of Huntington Station last year.

Ryan Gurecki pleaded guilty Tuesday at Suffolk County court to charges of vehicular homicide, manslaughter, assault and driving while intoxicated.

Police have said that the 35-year-old man was driving a Ford Explorer westbound on Jericho Turnpike when he struck a Ford Escape stopped at a red light that was waiting to make a left turn onto Route 110 at 9:23 p.m. Sunday, June 26, 2016.

The three people in the Escape were taken to Huntington Hospital, where Karen Holden died from her injuries. Her 57-year-old husband who was driving the Escape and her 23-year-old son were admitted to the same hospital in stable condition.

Gurecki is scheduled to be sentenced May 5 by Judge Fernando Comacho.

West Hempstead Rape, Kidnapping Suspect Arrested

Levar Burton
Levar Burton

A suspect was arrested Monday for allegedly kidnapping and raping a 21-year-old woman at gunpoint in West Hempstead three months ago, Nassau County police said.

Levar Burton was charged with kidnapping, first-degree rape and sexual abuse. The 24-year-old Amityville man was also charged last week with robbery and sexual abuse stemming from a case in Great Neck earlier this month. And now investigators are asking any other potential victims that might have been targeted by the suspect to come forward.

“This individual is misguided,” Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, a Nassau police spokesman, told reporters during a news conference Tuesday at police headquarters. “His actions are reprehensible.”

Police alleged that Burton was masked and armed with a handgun when he approached the first victim on Terminal Road, forced her to drive to an unknown location and sexually assaulted her at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

The suspect fled the scene on foot in an unknown direction. The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Then, at 4:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 7, Burton approached a 37-year-old woman from behind while the victim was walking on Middle Neck Road, demanded money from the victim and touched her inappropriately before stealing two phones from her and fleeing the scene, police said.

LeBrun said that Burton threatened both victims and there was evidence that linked the cases, but he could not be more specific. The suspect worked as a newspaper delivery driver for MRG Distribution, but that it was unclear whether Burton was on the clock at the time of the attacks, he added.

He was released last week on $100,000 bail before being arrested Monday for the December incident. Burton will be arraigned Tuesday on the new charges at First District Court in Hempstead.

Special Victims Squad detectives ask anyone with information regarding this suspect to call them at 516-573-4022.  All callers will remain anonymous.

Hempstead Shooting Leaves Man Dead

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Morguefile photo

A 37-year-old man was shot to death in his hometown of Hempstead on Monday evening and Nassau County police are searching for the shooter, authorities said.

Hempstead village police officers responded to a 911 call of a man being shot on Front Street near the corner of Hendrickson Avenue and upon arrival, they found Nelson Rodriguez suffering from bullet wounds at 6:15 p.m., police said.

The victim was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead three hours later.

Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information about this murder to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.  All callers will remain anonymous.

North New Hyde Park Pedestrian Hit, Killed by SUV

An 80-year-old woman was fatally hit by an SUV in North New Hyde Park on Monday morning.

Nassau County police said the pedestrian was crossing Hillside Avenue when she was struck by a westbound Honda Pilot at 10:20 a.m.

The victim was taken to North Shore University/ Northwell Health in Manhasset, where she was pronounced dead. She was identified as Palma Pullo, of Floral Park.

The driver remained at the scene and was not injured. Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation.

Levittown Woman Fatally Hit by Vehicle

(Photo credit: Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons)

A 47-year-old Levittown woman was fatally struck by a vehicle on the East End over the weekend.

New York State police said April L. Valera was crossing Old Country Road when she was hit by a westbound vehicle at the corner of Kroemer Avenue in Riverhead at 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

The victim was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead. No criminality is suspected.

Police ask anyone with information on the crash to call them at 631-756-3300.

Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Fatal DWI Crash

A Brooklyn lawyer has admitted to driving drunk when he was involved in a crash that killed a 21-year-old Ronkonkoma man on the Long Island Expressway in 2015.

Raj Jadeja pleaded guilty Thursday at Nassau County court to manslaughter, assault, driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired by combined influence of drugs and alcohol.

Police have said the 36-year-old man was driving a BMW eastbound on the LIE when he struck another BMW driven by George Ragotte, who had slowed down to avoid a two-vehicle crash in Plainview at 2:13 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015.

The victim was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead four hours later. Jadeja and the drivers in the initial crash were treated for their injuries.

Jadeja, who is free on $275,000 bail, is scheduled to be sentenced May 25.

Body Found in Vehicle Fire at Jones Beach

A dead body was found in a vehicle that was found on fire at Jones Beach State Park over the weekend, officials said.

New York State Parks Police officers and Wantagh Fire Department firefighters responded to the blaze in the parking lot of the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater at 5 p.m. Friday, officials said.

After the flames were extinguished, an unidentified person was found in the vehicle.

The body was taken to the Nassau County Medical Examiner’s office, where an autopsy will be conducted to determine the person’s identity and cause of death.

Police are continuing the investigation into the cause of the fire.

Coram Man Sentenced for Fatal DWI Crash

A Coram man was sentenced Wednesday to three to six years in prison for causing a crash that killed a 28-year-old man in Deer Park two years ago.

Stephan Harbison had pleaded guilty at Suffolk County court to driving while intoxicated and vehicular manslaughter.

Prosecutors said the 28-year-old man was driving on Straight Path when he crashed into a tree in January 2015.

His passenger, Hamzah Abdul-Hakim, of Wyandanch, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Harbison had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent, nearly double the legal limit at the time of the crash, authorities said.

Homeless Man Found Dead in Farmingdale

police
Morguefile photo

A homeless man was found dead in a makeshift tent in a wooded area of Farmingdale on Saturday evening, New York State police said.

Suffolk County police notified Troopers of the discovery near the entrance ramp from southbound Route 110 to westbound Southern State Parkway at 7 p.m., police said.

The man was pronounce dead at the scene. His identity was not immediacy available. Investigators do not suspect foul play.

The body was taken to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office, where an autopsy will be conducted to determine his identity and cause of death.