Undercover agents from the 109th Precinct went into Food Mart Easy Stop, located at 162-20 Northern Blvd., Monday afternoon after Commanding Officer Thomas Cea received a letter from Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) alerting police to the alleged porn sales, police said.Cea opened the letter from Avella Monday morning and had Jayendra Baldevbhai, a 27-year-old Flushing resident, arrested by that afternoon."I didn't like the fact that children frequent the store, so we decided to act immediately," Cea said.Police officer Christine Scarry made the arrest after confronting Baldevbhai, who identified himself as the store manager.At the precinct, officers had a collection of tapes and DVDs with explicitly sexual jackets and titles such as "She Bangs, She Bangs," "Mr. Horsepower" and "Pretty Black Faces."The sale of exposed pornography was made illegal as a result of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's crackdown on the city's sex industry in the 1990s.While it is legal to sell pornographic videos, Cea said it is not permitted to display the merchandise in a public shopping area. Instead, businesses are required to sell porn tapes in back rooms."It's a regular grocery store and this was wide open right in front of where kids buy soda and chips," Cea said.Baldevbhai was charged with public display of offensive sexual material, Cea said, which is a misdemeanor that could carry a sentence of up to one year in prison.He was brought out in handcuffs in the precinct Monday where officer briefed reporters about the arrest, but did not answer questions about his arrest. Officers said the store had about 600 tapes and DVDs for sale at a price of about $19.99, plus tax.Avella said he learned about the pornography from an Auburndale civic association meeting that one of his representatives attended."When I send my staff out, they not only just listen to what's going on, but usually at the end of the meeting people come up and give us complaints," Avella said.He said he was pleased to hear about the speedy police work when reached by phone Tuesday."It shows the system does work," he said.Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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