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Crime busters in the drivers seat - 60th Police Precinct hails cops of the month

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A car thief who was the bane of motorists throughout Staten Island had his emergency brake pulled during a recent holy day pilgrimage to Coney Island, officials said last week.

Police announced the arrest of the car thief Tuesday as they honored the two quick-thinking cops who placed him under arrest following a Palm Sunday skirmish.

Officials said that Police Officers Tara Thomas Frontera and Robert Zhen were patrolling the area on the morning of March 16 when their paths crossed with the car thief.

The thief, who Deputy Inspector Robert Johnsen didn’t name during his monthly address to members of the 60th Precinct Community Council, had been identified in connection with a series of car thefts in the borough on the other side of the Verrazano Bridge, he said.

Since he was known to frequent the area, cops had his mug shot.

That Sunday, the two officers saw the thief walking down Neptune Avenue and stopped him.

But the thief wouldn’t go willingly, said police. It took up to eight police officers to take the thief into custody following a brief struggle.

He was ultimately charged with assault, resisting arrest, as well as the rash of car thefts he allegedly committed in Richmond County, officials said.

Police Officers Frontera and Zhen were honored as “Cops of the Month” for March for spotting the thief and spearheading his capture.

As of this writing, cops were investigating if he was responsible for any thefts in the 60th Precinct, which, so far this year, has seen a slight reduction in car thefts.

According to NYPD CompStat statistics released on April 13, 31 car thefts have been reported in Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Sea Gate. On the same date in 2007, 32 car thefts had been reported.

But the car theft shortfall has done little to ease the nearly 12 percent increase in crime the 60th Precinct has suffered this year.

Statistics show that the precinct has seen a 19 percent increase in robbery (from 75 in 2007 to 89 this year), a 14 percent increase in felony assault (from 63 to 72) and a whopping 29 percent increase in burglary (from 38 to 49).

Officials from the 60th Precinct indicated that while the yearly stats are still up, the number of assaults and burglaries in the command dropped over the last month

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