Hijacker-busting cops shine - 69th Police Precinct salutes stellar five-member team

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A gun-toting crew allegedly responsible for raiding a DHL truck was carted off to a jail cell thanks to a team of savvy Canarsie cops.

Speaking to members of the 69th Precinct Community Council, Captain Milt Marmara, the precinct’s commanding officer, bestowed “Cop of the Month” honors to Sergeant Sunil Singh and Police Officers Seleta Hunt, Demetria Starks, Yancy Blowe and David Barker.

The five officers were responsible for apprehending a team of thieves allegedly responsible for robbing a DHL truck as it rolled through Canarsie back on May 16, he said.

“The sergeant and the three police officers were on a routine patrol that day when Officers Blowe and Barker responded to a robbery of a DHL truck on the northern end of the command [near Glenwood Road]. The driver was assaulted and robbed of his truck,” Marmara explained. “When the call about the robbery came over, they took it upon themselves to go to the opposite end of the command, thinking that if they wanted to make a fast getaway, they would head for the Belt Parkway.”

Upon arriving on the scene, the officers’ gut reaction paid off: there was the stolen DHL truck. A second vehicle was following the truck, “Smokey and the Bandit” style.

Thus began a car and foot chase that led from Rockaway Parkway onto the Belt Parkway, officials said.

After calling a level one mobilization, two of the three suspects were caught. The DHL truck was recovered with all of its parcels intact.

Marmara said that the stellar arrest may have opened the door to many more.

Investigators are trying to see if the thieves are responsible for a series of other DHL and UPS truck robberies in the city over the last few months.

Marmara said that the initiative these officers showed in the arrest is shared by all of the cops in the command – which is why crime in Canarsie continues to fall.

As of last week, crime in the command has fallen by five percent, Marmara said.

Recently publicized NYPD statistics show that there have been a marked decrease in car thefts and grand larceny reports for the year, but the number of burglaries, felony assaults and robberies have actually risen.

Burglaries and assaults have only risen by one or two, statistics show.

The number of robberies, however, has jumped by nearly 22 percent, from 91 in 2007 to 111 this year.

Besides honoring his cops of the month, Marmara also acknowledged the outstanding work of one of his civilian employees at the Foster Avenue stationhouse.

Albert Jernigan, a Supervising Police Administrative Aide was given the Civilian Employee of the Quarter award for all of his hard work and dedication, Marmara said.

“He’s been with us for some time and from what everyone tells me, his work has been nothing but excellent,” Marmara said.

Updated 3:46 pm, October 19, 2011
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