Man Poses as Wounded Veteran, Minivan Mayhem, Black Bear in a Tree – Bedford-Katonah, NY Patch

Here is our weekly rundown of unusual police activity in the area over the past week.

Perp Pilfers Spare Key from Unlocked Land Rover, Steals Lincoln

A Dobbs Ferry resident reported that his 2000 Land Rover was entered overnight on June 16, and that the perpetrator stole the spare key to his Lincoln MKS—making off with the car, police said. The 2009 Lincoln—valued at $45,000—had been parked on Ridge Road, very close to the Land Rover, police said. 

“This doesn’t happen that often—it’s pretty unique,” said Dobbs Ferry’s Lt. James Guarnieri. “If the keys to one car are inside the other, it doesn’t take much to piece it together if you’re a car thief.”

The moral of this story: Don’t leave keys in an unlocked car.

 ‘Career Criminal’ Nabbed in Harrison

Harrison Police have arrested a man they believe has been invading homes in Westchester County and Connecticut for more than 30 years.

Thomas Haywood, 48, of 45 Traverse Avenue, Port Chester, was arrested June 21 after Harrison police identified him as the man wanted for allegedly invading a home in Greenwich. Harrison Police had been monitoring him as a suspect in local burglaries when they were contacted by Greenwich police, said Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini. Harrison police viewed surveillance tapes in Greenwich and identified Haywood as the same man they were investigating.

“Because we knew his travel patterns and where he was residing, in different places, we sent the surveillance teams out to locate him and we found him,” Marraccini said.

Police called Haywood a “career criminal” who has been committing crimes in Westchester County and Connecticut for more than 30 years. “He’s been in the area committing crimes since 1981,” said Marraccini.

Minivan Mayhem in Port Chester

A Port Chester man is accused of striking three cars during a wild cross-town drive on Thursday night, according to Port Chester police.

Officers got their first call at 6:35 p.m. from a woman on Highland Street, who told them a man driving a red minivan struck her parked car and kept going, Lt. James Ladeairous said. The victim wrote down the license plate and provided it to police, who traced it to a Maple Place address. While the officer was taking the report on Highland Street, another woman approached and said her car was just struck on Parker Street — same red minivan, same license plate. A few minutes later, while the patrolman was taking the second report, a third person walked into police headquarters on North Main Street and said his car was also struck by a red minivan, this time on King Street. The description and plates matched.

Later Thursday evening, a patrol officer spotted the minivan parked in a driveway on Maple Place. Officers located the driver, a 30-year-old man from Poningo Street. He was charged with three counts of leaving the scene of a property damage accident. The van was registered to another Port Chester man, who told police he allowed the suspect to drive his vehicle.

Man Fools Family, Fiancé and Community Into Thinking He’s a Military Vet

A Greenwich man apparently led a double life, duping his family, fiancé and members of the Greenwich community into thinking he was a wounded U.S Army veteran having served four tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It turns out the man, identified by Greenwich Police, is Jesus M. Garcia, a 20-year-old who despite his military-like tattoos and uniform, didn’t serve a day in the Armed Forces. Garcia is accused of concocting stories of being a U.S. Army Ranger to gain the sympathy of people who gave him money, bought dinner and gave him a job. Police estimate Garcia received about $1,000 from sympathetic, civic-minded residents and veterans.

The story began to unravel just before Memorial Day, police said.

Gray said that he spoke with Garcia and set up an appointment thinking that as a veteran himself, he might be able to help. “I thought, four tours of duty, and PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome), is he off because of mental health issues related to his service. He broke the appointment saying his was having surgery to have shrapnel removed,” Gray said.

On May 27, Garcia met with Police Capt. James Heavey, who also is a U.S. Army veteran, in anticipation of Garcia speaking at a Memorial Day ceremony. During conversations with Heavey said it became apparent that Garcia was a fraud and provided an investigating officer with a false name and date of birth. “There were inconsistencies in his portrayal of his military record and his uniform was not to standards,” Heavey said. He also could not provide a military ID card despite being dressed in uniform, police said.

According to Gray, “When he lied, he had no military ID, gave the wrong date of birth and refused to give other information … it (his story) all fell apart.”

Woman Admits Falsely Accusing Volunteer Firefighters Of Theft

A Rockland County woman who accused volunteer firefighters of looting her home during a 2010 fire pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying about the theft.

Kam Yung, 49, of 56 Constitution Drive, Tappan, has been sentenced to community service, ordered to pay a fine, a court surcharge and write a letter of apology to the volunteers of the Tappan, Sparkill and Orangeburg fire departments. 

The guilty plea stems from an April 23, 2010, incident when Orangetown police and Tappan, Sparkill and Orangeburg volunteer firefighters responded to a fire call at 56 Constitution Drive. The blaze was put out and no one was injured, however, at about 8 p.m. that night Yung reported to Orangetown police that $7,000 cash and jewelry had been stolen from her bedroom by the volunteer firefighters.

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said an investigation by Orangetown detectives revealed that Yung lied to the police and there was never $7,000 cash in her bedroom and jewelry was not missing.

Black Bear Found in Tree Relocated to the Wild

A bear wandered into a residential neighborhood in Nanuet Monday morning and had to be removed by state wildlife experts.

Clarkstown police said the bear was spotted on James Drive near Jean Marie Gardens at about 7 a.m. The bear ended up in a tree on a residential property. Police safeguarded the area until a wildlife expert from the state Department of Environmental Conservation arrived. Police said the bear was tranquilized and safely removed by about 8:30 a.m. No one was injured.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said that the bear was examined and determined to be a 223-pound male black bear that is about 4 years old. The bear had tags showing previous contacts with wildlife officials, however, the bear was not considered a nuisance.

The bear was relocated to an undisclosed state-owned site and released into the wild.

Beware Internet Dating Con

An Irvington resident reported being the victim of a long-time con on an Internet dating site. The victim spent a total of $12,000 via Western Union in a number of transactions, making this grand larceny in the third degree. This victim said deception started slowly and the money was spent over the course of a month.

Police are investigating the fraud as theft by deception and want residents to be aware that a number of online scams involve sending payments via Western Union. The scammer will request money immediately and use pressure tactics that appeal to the victim’s emotions and good intentions, police say. Some red flags are Western Union money transfers and fraudulent emails based out of African nations.

Hatfields and McCoys, Mamaroneck Style

An existing rivalry between two neighbors on Staub Court in the Village of Mamaroneck was further stirred up Thursday night when one neighbor snapped at the other and said, “get a damn hobby,” as he sat on his front porch.  The incident was documented only.

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