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105th’s top April cops busted rim thieves: Courtesis

Deputy Inspector Joseph Courtesis (l.) honors Police Officer Sheldon Malcolm as one of the 105th Precinct's Cops of the Month for April. Photo by Rich Bockmann
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Two 105th Precinct officers were recognized last week for arrests they made that helped bring down the precinct’s grand larceny numbers.

Sgt. Matthew Menz and Officer Sheldon Malcolm responded to a call around 4 a.m. in mid-April about three suspects attempting to steal rims from a car in Queens Village. When they arrived, the three men fled and the officers followed them on foot, arresting them without incident.

In their possession, the suspects had a car jack, gloves and lug nuts from the wheel of the car, said Deputy Inspector Joseph Courtesis. About three weeks prior, Menz had made a similar arrest, and the subsequent debriefing of the suspects led to the dismantling of two separate crews, Courtesis said.

“As a result of these takedowns, the precinct is now showing a 44 percent decrease in grand larcenies from vehicles 28 days period,” the deputy inspector said at the precinct’s community council meeting last week, where the two officers were honored as Cops of the Month.

Courtesis gave an update on crime statistics in the precinct, and said that while some of the “alarming numbers” he was seeing in the first half of the year were declining, the command was still struggling with burglaries, which were up about 34 percent in the last 28-day reporting period.

The command had recently arrested suspects in the act of committing burglaries inside stores on Merrick Boulevard, Courtesis said, but he was surprised when they turned out to be young teenagers.

“They weren’t who I was expecting,” he said.

Another crime pattern the commanding officer wanted to update residents on was a series of robberies of food-delivery people. Courtesis said he knew of three incidences where delivery workers from three different restaurants were confronted by two males as they made their deliveries around 10 p.m. In two of the cases, the suspects displayed firearms, and Courtesis said he believed all three to be connected.

Each summer, the precinct has difficulty curtailing large house parties, which sometimes turn violent. About 30 new officers are now patrolling the command, and Courtesis said he reassigned officers to work when the parties are active.

“In the last two weeks we shut down 34 parties,” he said. “It’s on already and I only expect it to get busier.”

The department’s Patrol Borough Queens South is looking for about 25 to 30 community members from each of southeast Queens’ precincts for its Block Watchers program in which concerned citizens are trained on how to report suspicious activities.

Block Watchers are assigned a personal identification number, and when given to 911 or 311 their reports receive a higher priority. Those interested in becoming Block Watchers were directed to contact their precinct’s community affairs office.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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