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78th Precinct Crime-Busters Win At Cops & Robbers Game

For their role in taking a robbery suspect out of Prospect Park and into a jail cell, several cops from the 78th Precinct were named “Cop of the Month” this week. While robberies in Prospect Park are not frequent, robberies following a particular pattern are even less frequent. But such was the case in November, when two days separated two robberies in the park. To make matters worse, Deputy Inspector Thomas Harris, the precinct’s former commanding officer said, the second robbery was committed just hours after he was discussing the park with NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “I was thinking, ‘This isn’t good,’” Harris recalled at the 78th Precinct Community Council this week. “Robberies in Prospect Park are very bad for business,” he said. Harris sent out his anti-crime unit and quickly got results. Officers Julio Franco, Paul Farella and Maria Solano saw someone who matched the suspect, and decided to observe his behavior. Their instincts were correct. The suspect was spotted urinating on a tree, an offense that gave the cops reason to stop him. They did, and gave him a summons. “He gave them a phony name,” Harris said, which then gave the cops a reason to bring him to the precinct—where he was later linked as being the perpetrator, Harris said. “This was really intelligent police work,” Harris said. For their efforts, the trio were awarded Cop of the Month plaques for November. Also recognized for their police work were Officers Craig Melfi, Alfredo Morgando, Nelson Fernandez and Joseph Solomon. In December, these cops, part of the precinct’s anti-crime team, were dispatched to help stop a rash of shootings near Warren Street. The cops didn’t disappoint. On Dec. 6, the cops arrested a man carrying a gun; and on Dec. 20, cops arrested two more suspects, also in possession of a gun. The arrests earned the officers “Cop of the Month” honors for December.

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