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Crimes Nearby: Gang Shooting, Public Lewdness, Craigslist Scam and More

A weekly round-up of the top crime stories reported in neighboring communities.

The following information was supplied by the Nassau County and Rockville Centre Police Departments. A criminal charge is only an accusation and does indicate guilt.

Bloods Gang Member Arrested for August Old Mill Court Shooting

A Rockville Centre man and known Bloods gang member was arrested Monday in relation to ashooting that occurred on Aug. 7 near Old Mill Court.

According to Rockville Centre Police, Michael Harris, 23, has been charged with assault in the second degree, criminal use of a firearm in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. Harris was arraigned on Oct. 9 at First District Court regarding the charges.

Police say that around 2:15 p.m. on Aug. 7, Harris shot a 22-year-old man on the west side of North Centre Avenue midway between Old Mill Court and Maine Avenue. The defendant resides close to Old Mill Court, according to police.

Harris, a member of the Bloods, fired several shots at the unnamed victim for "unknown reasons," police said. However, at the time of the shooting, Village Administrator Keith Spadaro said that the shooting appeared to be "not random in nature." 

The victim suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds and was treated at South Nassau Communities Hospital, police said.

The arrest was a result of an investigation conducted by Rockville Centre Police Department detectives.

Shots Fired at Occupied Vechicle

Third Squad detectives are investigating a shooting that occurred in Hempstead on Thursday at 12:01 A.M.

Detectives report that two male suspects, armed with a handgun, approached three male victims, ages 21-22, while they were seated in their vehicle in the rear parking lot of 485 Front St. and demanded their cell phones.  The victims refused and resisted. Victim #1 was struck in the head with the handgun during a scuffle.  Then one of the suspects fired two gunshots into the vehicle, striking a victim in the knee.  The second round struck the seat of the car.  The suspects fled the scene on foot without proceeds in an unknown direction.

The gunshot victim, who sustained a non-life threatening injury, was transported to a local hospital by private auto for treatment.  The second victim sustained a contusion above the eye.  The third victim was uninjured.

Both suspects are described as male blacks.  No further description is available.

Detectives ask anyone with information regarding this crime to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.  All callers will remain anonymous.

Suspect Arrested for Public Lewdness

Third Squad detectives report the arrest of a Westbury man for Public Lewdness that occurred on Wednesday at 11:55 am in Hempstead.

According to detectives, the 18 year old victim, who was standing outside the rear door of her S. Franklin Street apartment, observed a maroon Dodge pickup truck with NY registration DE8868 pull up next to her yard. Jeffrey Lichtenberger, 37, allegedly exited his vehicle, walked next to her yard and pulled his pants down exposing himself to her. After walking away, the victim turned back towards Lichtenberger ,who again pulled his pants down, exposing himself for a second time. After calling 911 from her cell phone, the suspect entered his truck and drove away.

Later that day the victim positively identified Lichtenberger from a photo array and at 5 p.m. The suspect was located and placed into custody without incident.

Lichtenberger is charged with Public Lewdness and was arraigned on Thursday, October 11, 2012 in First District Court, Hempstead.

Police are asking anyone who believes they may also have been victimized by Lichtenberger to contact Third Squad detectives at (516) 573-6354.

RVC Woman Pleads Guilty in Craigslist Identity Theft Scam

A Rockville Centre woman pleaded guilty Wednesday after using fake Craigslist ads for nonexistent jobs and apartments to steal steal hundreds of identities nationwide and filing hundreds of fraudulent tax returns, according to the Nassau County District Attorney's office.

Susan Pemberton, 43, of Rockville Centre, pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the third degree, scheme to defraud in the first degree, offering a false instrument for filing, and identity theft in the second degree. She faces two to four years in prison at her Jan. 23 sentencing.

According to the Nassau County DA's office, Pemberton, along with Cynthia Sibert, 23, of Roslyn, requested more than $500,000 in state income tax refunds, which raised flags at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. They also used the stolen identities to apply for bank loans and credit cards and stole a total of more than $75,000.

Throughout the nearly two-year long scam, the women placed ads on Craigslist for employment opportunities and apartment rentals that didn’t exist, Rice said. They sent their victims employment and rental applications that sought personal information and used that data to file more than 250 fraudulent tax returns, and to obtain bank loans and credit cards in their victims’ names.

Search warrants executed at the defendants' homes and rental mailboxes uncovered several computers, hundreds of documents, and notebooks with detailed records of the victims’ personal information and tax refund amounts, with several entries marked "BIG FAT REFUND," Rice said.

Credit cards and checkbooks in names other than the defendants, as well as credit card purchases of luxury goods, like Gucci baby shoes, were found at the defendants' homes, Rice said. Printouts of the Craigslist rental and job ads and applications were also found.

“These women were nothing more than two small-time scam artists who preyed on hard-working people looking for a job,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “My office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who steal the identities of others for their own criminal gain. I want to thank the State Department of Taxation and Finance for their invaluable contributions to this investigation.”

Sibert also used her job as a home health care aide to steal the identities of elderly people in her care and opened credit cards in their names, Rice said.

Pemberton was arrested Nov. 16, 2011.

Cibert pleaded guilty to her involvement in the scam last June and was sentenced to time served and five years probation. A third co-defendant, Keith Campbell, 52, of Brooklyn, also pleaded guilty to his involvement last July and received a conditional discharge.

The arrests were the result of a joint investigation between the DA’s Office and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigation Division – Buffalo Office. The investigation was assisted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

 $24K in Musical Equipment Stolen

On Oct. 2, a complainant from St. Marks Place in Rockville Centre reported that sometime between 2 p.m. and 7:19 p.m., unknown person(s) removed assorted musical equipment totaling $23,900 from a locked basement.

Woman Spots Man with Gun at Molloy

On Sept. 27 at 11:45 a.m., a complainant from Oceanside reported that at approximately 11:20 a.m. she believed she observed a male in possession of a handgun while in the Public Square at Molloy College. Police personnel and Molloy College security searched the area with no results.

For more local crime, click on the following links: Malverne,  Garden City, Rockville CentreFive Towns and Long Beach

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