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Bronx resident convicted for ‘06 Woodside car rob

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A Queens Supreme Court jury took less than an hour to find a Bronx man guilty of robbery for stealing a Lexus at gunpoint from a porter working at a Woodside car dealership in 2006, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

The jury for Raphael Then, 28, convicted him on two counts of robbery, the DA said. The trial for the Bronx resident had lasted one week before Queens Supreme Court Judge Kenneth Holder, the DA said.

Then faces 25 years in prison at his June 7 sentencing for the crimes, the DA said.

“This defendant is a menace to society and must be removed from our streets,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “This conviction ensures that he will be severely punished for his actions.”

Then committed his crime Oct. 15, 2006, at 5 p.m. at Baron Auto Mall, at 55-11 Northern Blvd, the DA said. As the workday was wrapping up, a porter was moving cars around to put them away for the night, the DA said. After the porter had moved a 2003 Lexus GS onto the sidewalk, Then yelled at the porter as he was walking away from the vehicle, the DA said.

When the porter turned around, Then aimed a gun at him and ordered the porter to give him the Lexus’ keys, the DA said. After the porter complied with Then’s demand, Then ordered the porter to go inside the dealership and not speak a word about the incident, the DA said.

The porter ended up calling the police after going inside instead, the DA said. Officers in the Bronx discovered the Lexus 12 days later on Clay Avenue near 173rd Street through the use of a mobile plate reader, the DA said. The reader informed the police that the license plate was stolen and determined its history, the DA said.

The officers did surveillance of the car and found Then when he got into the vehicle, the DA said.

Between 2001 and 2011 in the 108th Precinct — which covers Woodside, Sunnyside and Long Island City — overall robberies dropped by more than 50 percent, according to police statistics. There have been 70 robberies in the precinct this year, according to police statistics as of May 20.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 8:32 pm, May 30, 2012
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