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Bay Ridge Remembers Life Stolen On 9/11

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Sober salute: A “vivacious” and “genuinely good-hearted” 25-year-old Dyker Heights man, who perished alongside all his co-workers at Cantor Fitzgerald on 9/11, was immortalized when his community united to re-name a local street in his memory. Against the solemn skirl of bagpipes, the family, friends and neighbors of Robert F. Tipaldi assembled at the corner of 79th Street and 11th Avenue, where they participated in a poignant ceremony, dedicating the intersection as “Robert F. Tipaldi 9/11 Memorial Way.” Sadness etched the faces of Tipaldi’s parents, Richie and Stella, and his siblings, Richard and Lauren, as they took to the podium to eulogize the avid athlete and nature lover, who was “a constant source of pride and inspiration” and who “brought joy to those around him with his achievements and vibrant personality.” Among the guest speakers was Salvatore Ferrara, president of Xaverian High School, Robert’s alma mater before he went on to study business at St. John’s University and landed a job as an assistant trader at the prestigious brokerage firm. The young man was remembered by guest speakers, who lined up at the podium to offer their eulogies, as being an enthusiastic individual, who “could light up a room with his enthusiasm for life, and break up everyone around him with laughter with his incisive sense of humor.” Presiding over the installation ceremony was Councilman Vincent Gentile, who helped push for the renaming procedure through the City Council. In addition, Art Aid artist Keith Piaseczny presented a commemorative sign to the Tipaldi family, bearing the names of all victims, who perished during the World Trade Center terror attacks on September 11, 2001. A commemorative flyer, distributed to attendees, concluded with the passage: “Although (Robert’s) time with us was short, he blessed the lives of those who knew him, and his spirit will live on with all those he touched.” CABBIE CARJACKED: A 35-year-old cab driver told police last week that someone dragged him out of his 1997 Lincoln Town Car and fled with his wheels. The victim said that he was rolling past the corner of 3rd Avenue and 73rd Street at 4:20 a.m. May 8 when the suspect, identified as a 5’8” 150-pound, 27-year-old white male, flagged him down. The cabbie picked the man up. A few minutes later, the suspect got out of the back seat, threw open the driver’s door and pulled the victim out from behind the wheel. As of this writing, authorities were still looking for the thief and the car. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call the 68th Precinct at (718) 439-4211. All calls will be kept confidential. *** CAMERA, WATCH TAKEN FROM HOME: A digital camera, a pricey watch and $150 in cash were taken from a Battery Avenue home last week, officials said. The burglar entered the Bay Ridge home sometime between 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on May 5 by forcing open a rear basement window. When the 25-year-old victim came home, he found the window open and his property missing, officials said. *** LAUNDRY LOOTER SOUGHT: Cops are looking for the thief who broke into a 3rd Avenue laundromat last week, reportedly taking $800 in receipts, officials said. Police said that the thief broke into Top 1 Laundry, located at 8619 3rd Avenue, sometime between 6 p.m. on May 4 and 7:30 a.m. the following morning. Investigators believe that the thief forced open a basement door in the rear of the building. *** BELLYING UP TO THE BAR AFTER CLOSING: A bar-hopping burglar is being sought for breaking into the Dennis Ferris Bar at 6901 Fort Hamilton Parkway last week. Workers told police that the thief entered the bar sometime after closing at 1:45 a.m. on May 4 by breaking through a side window. The burglar fled the establishment with over $300 from two Mega Touch machines and $168 from the register. All told, a total of $968 in cash and property were taken from the bar, officials said. *** CIGARETTES TAKEN FROM DRUG STORE: Thieves broke into the Eckerd’s Drug Store at 7501 5th Avenue last week, taking an undetermined amount of cigarettes, officials said. Police said that the break-in took place between 4:20 and 5 a.m. on May 2. Cops were alerted to the break-in at that time and found the security gate on the Bay Ridge Parkway side of the store pried open. The only thing taken were the cigarettes behind the counter, officials said. *** TOW TRUCK DRIVER ROBBED: A tow truck driver making his rounds through the area was punched and robbed of his cell phone, officials said. Police said that they are currently looking for the thief, although they don’t have an adequate description of the suspect. The 45-year-old victim said that he was rolling by the corner of 86th Street and 15th Avenue at 7:15 p.m. on May 8 when the thug ran up to him and punched him. The suspect took the driver’s cell phone and ran off, said officials. *** ACCOSTED AND ROBBED AT DOORWAY: A 61-year-old Bay Ridge resident told police that he was accosted, bound and robbed just as he entered his 93rd Street home last week, according to officials. Police are looking for three suspects in this home invasion, who were described as two white males and a white female. The victim told police that he believes the suspects followed victim to his home, located near 3rd Avenue, at 7 p.m. April 25. He said that he had just opened the door to his home when the suspects knocked him to the ground. The assailants bound his hands and feet and covered his mouth with duct tape before running off with his wallet. The victim said that he had about $700 in his wallet when it was taken. Police said that the victim was not seriously harmed. Cops are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to call the 68th Precinct at (718) 439-4211. All calls will be kept confidential. Armed with his photo, cops are warning area residents of a cunning con artist responsible for bilking at least three seniors of some of their life savings. Police said that the man, described as a 5’11”, 160-pound black male with short salt and pepper hair, traps his victims in what is known as a “good faith scam.” Officials said that the man approaches his victim under the guise that he had found an envelope full of money, which he is more than willing to share with the victim if they can put up some of their own money “in good faith.” Greed being the great motivator that it is, many victims fall prey to the scam, not remembering the old adage that “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” As of this writing, police have not publicly circulated the man’s picture, which was picked out of a photo array by one of the victims, but have shown the mug shot to residents at neighborhood meetings, in the hopes that someone recognizes him. Earlier this month, Deputy Inspector William Aubry, the commanding officer of the 68th Precinct, showed the suspect’s picture at a town hall meeting in Dyker Heights called by State Senator Marty Golden. That very same day, the charlatan bilked a woman of nearly $2,000, Aubry said. “What he does, he says I have $30,000 or $35,000 and I’m willing to give you half,” Aubry told audience members. “Someone else comes along, and the woman doesn’t know the person is with him, but she’s with him. It’s a female and a male. The guy says, I know a lawyer up the block. What we can do is we can work out a deal. If you put up $5,000, you will be able to get $15,000 a week from now.” Aubry said that the thief will go into the law office and pretend he’s talking to someone and come out, pretending that everything’s a “go.” In that particular case, the victim, 89, told police that she was at the corner of 86th Street and Colonial Road at 10 a.m. when the suspect approached her, asking if she had lost her wallet. He immediately engaged the woman in a conversation, claiming to have found $100,000 in “foreign money.” The suspect’s accomplice quickly arrived and hatched the plan to split the cash three ways. They then went to the so-called “lawyer.” When they came out, the suspects told the seniors that they needed $5,000 for taxes and lawyer fees. The woman reportedly gave the suspects $2,000, as well as her social security number, officials said. The two other victims the suspect is connected to were bilked in a similar fashion, officials said. Cops are asking anyone with information regarding this scammer to call the 68th Precinct at (718) 439-4211. All calls will be kept confidential. —Tom Tracy

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