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Police Blotter: Either ID Propp or subject him to DNA tests, DA tells parents

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KEW GARDENS — As pre-trial hearings in the kidnapping case of a baby taken from Jamaica Estates 20 years ago continued in criminal court Tuesday, prosecutors tried to speed up the process, Newsday reported Wednesday.

Prosecutors may seek DNA tests to confirm the identity of the child, who is now 22, if the Smiley’s don’t independently confirm that the child they raised is the biological son of Anthony Russini, of Westbury, L.I.

Barry and Judith Smiley, formerly of Jamaica Estates, pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges after surrendering to the Queens DA last year.

The meeting between prosecutors and defense attorneys took place in criminal court in Kew Gardens.

After allegedly fleeing Jamaica Estates with the baby in 1980, the Smileys settled in New Mexico and assumed the names Bennett and Mary Propp, naming the child Matthew Propp.

The Smileys were not required to be in court Tuesday, so they chose to remain at their home in Albuquerque, N.M., said Tom Garrity, a spokesman for the family. They are due back in court Feb. 13.

Lawyers for the Smileys are still negotiating with the district attorney’s office, but the case could go to trial later this year if no plea bargain is reached.

If they are convicted of kidnapping, the Smileys face a minimum of two to six years in jail up to a maximum of 25 years in jail.

Police predict links in seven jewel heists

FRESH MEADOWS — A jeweler was robbed at gunpoint last week of nearly $1.5 million in jewels, the seventh such similar heist in recent months, police said.

The jeweler, 33, was getting into his car at about 6:45 p.m. Jan. 10 in front of 71-22 166th St. when he was confronted by three armed men who demanded he turn over his two suitcases full of gems, police said. The suspects removed the suitcases from the victim’s trunk and fled. Two of the men left the scene in a maroon van and the third suspect fled in the victim’s car, police said.

The jeweler was not injured, police said. Detectives from the Queens Robbery Squad were continuing to investigate whether the suspects were the same ones responsble for six other jewel heists dating back to November totaling about $400,000, Newsday reported.

Armed Queens man takes cop hostage

REGO PARK — A Rego Park man who smuggled a gun into a Manhattan police station was arrested after he held a police detective hostage for more than three hours, police said.

Adrian Lebovici, 43, of Rego Park, was brought to the 19th Precinct station house shortly before midnight Monday for questioning on a complaint of aggravated harrassment stemming from a December incident involving his daughter’s mother, police said.

During questioning, Lebovici became agitated and struck a detective on the head with a .38 caliber revolver, police said. Police initially thought the suspect had wrestled the gun from the detective, but a further investigation proved the suspect had brought the weapon into the station himself.

An Emergency Service Unit and a NYPD Hostage Negotiating Team arrived on the scene in an attempt to calm Lebovici. With the assistance of Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Michael O’Looney, a former Channel 2 News reporter, the suspect was convinced to drop his weapon, police said.

Lebovici, who was charged with attempted murder, attempted kidnapping and other offenses, was taken to an area hospital for evaluation. The detective was taken to New York Hospital for trauma, police said. Police were continuing with an investigation.

Missing autistic man found in Manhattan subway

ASTORIA— An autistic man reported missing from his Astoria home Friday morning was found Tuesday in Manhattan, police said.

Marius Paltenea was reported missing from his residence at 24-36 41st St. at 9 a.m. Friday, police said. He was found unharmed on a southbound No. 6 train at the 77th Street and Lexington Avenue station Tuesday, police said.

Teen stabbed in fight with another student

LONG ISLAND CITY — A Long Island City High School student was stabbed Monday afternoon during a fight with another student, police said.

Shortly before 2 p.m. Monday, a dispute between two female students broke out on the corner of Broadway and 21st Street, police said. During the altercation, one of the students, a 15-year-old, was stabbed once in the chest, authorities said.

She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center in serious condition, police said. No arrest was made and police were continuing with the investigation.

Man assaulted at subway, two suspects arrested

FOREST HILLS — An unidentified man was hit over the head with an umbrella Friday night in the 71st Avenue subway station, 112th Precinct Commanding Officer Capt. Charles Stravalle said.

The man was walking in the station at 71st Avenue and Queens Boulevard at 10 p.m. when he was approached by two men in their 20s who pushed and shoved him and then hit him over the head with an umbrella, Stravalle said.

Stravalle and his partner, Sgt. John Dempster, canvassed the area and arrested the two suspects at 69th Road and Queens Boulevard, Stravalle said. The men, both from Forest Hills, were charged with felony assault, he said.

The victim was taken to North Shore University Hospital at Forest Hills with head injuries, Stravalle said.

Man pleads guilty in child sex abuse case

SOUTH OZONE PARK — A 64-year-old South Ozone Park man who tried to buy the silence of the 9-year-old girl he sexually abused pleaded guilty to sodomy, Newsday reported.

A judge ruled Friday that a jury had to see a pornographic videotape that Juan Velez showed the girl, prompting the accused to accept the sodomy plea, the paper said. He was also charged with attempted rape and sexual abuse and could have faced up to 25 years in jail if convicted, Newsday reported.

Velez, of 103-29 107th St., was a longtime friend of the victim’s family and was babysitting for the girl when the abuse occurred, the newspaper said. He offered the victim a $10 bill to keep quiet after he sexually abused her, but the girl told a school counselor what happened the next day, Newsday reported.

Velez, who faces up to five years in prison, will be sentenced Jan. 29 in Queens Criminal Court, Newsday said.

Store owner shot in robbery attempt

SPRINGFIELD GARDENS — A variety store owner was shot in the groin by a lone gunman during a robbery attempt early Friday morning, police said.

The store owner, a 54-year-old man, was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition after he was shot around 12:30 a.m.

The suspect, a male in his 20s, fled the scene, police said. They did not say if he took any cash with him. Police made no arrests and were continuing their investigation.

Common-law spouse suspect in wife’s murder

HAMMELS — A woman was stabbed to death by her common-law husband last Monday, police alleged.

Roletta Conley, 41, of 81-03 Hammels Boulevard in Hammels, on the Rockaway peninsula, was stabbed to death at her home at 5:41 p.m., police said.

Police said they arrested Rale Miller, 42, of the same address. Police did not say if Miller was charged in Conley’s death.

Police arrest suspect in bank robberies

FLUSHING — A man allegedly responsible for a string of Flushing bank heists was arrested Friday afternoon after he attempted to rob a Citibank on Main Street, police said.

Christopher Murphy, 53, was arrested shortly after he passed a note demanding money to the teller of the Citibank at 38-17 Main St., police said.

The teller walked away from the window and Murphy attempted to flee the scene in a vehicle, police said. But he was followed by a bank security guard who quickly flagged down a passing police car, authorities said.

Murphy, who was staying at the Queens Court Hotel at 133-53 39th Ave., was arrested and charged with attempted robbery, police said.

A subsequent investigation by the 109th Precinct Major Case Squad led to Murphy being charged with three additional Flushing bank robberies for a total of $13,700.

Police seek Bayside robbers for convenience store hold-up

BAYSIDE — Two unidentified suspects robbed a Bayside convenience store Jan. 8, threatening the manager with a gun before fleeing with $250, police said.

Community Affairs Officer Anthony Lombardi said the thieves entered the ABC Convenience Store at 208-02 48th Ave. at about 11:30 a.m. and ordered the store manager and customers to lay on the floor. The thieves then took the cash and fled, Lombardi said.

No arrests have been made and an investigation is ongoing, police said.

Boy, 4, killed in car collision Saturday

Elmhurst — A 4-year-old boy was killed Saturday after the car his mother was driving collided head-on with another automobile at the corner of 57th Avenue and 97th Street, police said.

The boy’s mother and the driver of the other car were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center with minor injuries after the 3 a.m. accident, police said.

The boy died at noon of severe body trauma at Elmhurst Hospital Center, police said.

No charges were filed.

Woman who stole Canadian documents sentenced to jail

KEW GARDENS — A Jackson Heights woman was sentenced to one to three years in jail for forgery and possession of stolen Canadian passports and identification papers, Queens DA Richard Brown said Tuesday.

Adrian Martinez, 30, of 21-19 76th St., pleaded guilty in December before Supreme Court Justice Joseph Grosso, who also issued the sentence.

According to the charges, Martinez was in possession of forged and stolen identification documents, including several passports, certificates of citizenship, Quebec drivers’ licenses, a fraudulently obtained New York State Department of Motor Vehicles learner’s permit and Canadian social insurance number cards in the names of three Montreal residents.

The district attorney said the crime raised additional concern about public safety in the aftermath of the World Trade Center terrorist attack. An investigation into how the documents got from Canada to Queens is ongoing, Brown said.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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