Two New Jersey men who admitted operating a bogus 9/11 charity that collected donations using a truck painted with the twin towers and names of rescuers who died at ground zero have been indicted on conspiracy and theft by deception charges.
Prosecutors say Thomas Scalgione, 41, of Stafford Township and Mark Niemczyk, 66, of Tinton Falls brought the custom-painted pickup truck to public events, where they sold T-shirts featuring the logos of the NYPD and FDNY. But they never gave any of the proceeds, which totaled more than $50,000, to the victims' families or to 9/11 charities as promised, authorities said.
The charges stem from an investigation the state conducted last year, which led to the men entering into a consent judgment that barred the men from charity work.
Niemczyk is also accused of failing to file a personal state income tax return in 2011. Authorities say he collected thousands of dollars in proceeds at 9/11 events in 2011 and won $55,000 at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City in September 2011 that he was required to report.
The indictment was handed up Friday by a state grand jury and was made public Monday.
"It's a sad reality that in the wake of a devastating tragedy, when so many want to help, there are always parasites who view the tragedy and the generosity of others as nothing more than the opportunity and the means to turn a crooked profit for themselves," Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said. "The conduct of these two men wasn't just despicable, it was criminal, and we are bringing them to justice."
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York
Suspect Who Took Five Firefighters Hostage Had Planned It for Weeks, Say Police
By LAUREN EFFRON (@LEffron831)
Authorities in north Georgia have identified the armed suspect who held five firefighters hostage at his home Wednesday and said the man claimed to have planned the event for weeks.
Lauren Holmes Brown, 55, held the firefighters captive at his Suwanee home for hours as he rattled off a list of demands, including the restoration of his power, cellphone, cable and Internet services.
Brown was shot and killed by SWAT officers who stormed his home. All five Gwinnett County firefighters were released from the hospital after they were treated for what police said were "superficial" injuries.
Gwinnett County Cpl. Edwin Ritter said Brown was "authorized" to live in his home at the time of the hostage-taking, but it had been foreclosed, and he was going to be evicted soon. According to police, officers contacted the utility companies and learned that all of the accounts had been deactivated because of unpaid bills.
When asked how Brown managed to call 911, Ritter said the investigation was continuing.
According to property tax records, the one-story home, located in the well-kept Walnut Grove neighborhood, became a bank-owned repossession last November.
Gwinnett County firefighters responded Wednesday to what they believed was a routine medical emergency call at 3:41 p.m. Firefighters in Gwinnett County are also trained as paramedics.
When they arrived, the firefighters found Brown in his bedroom alone in bed. He "seemed to be suffering from a condition that restricted his movement," according to police.
Grandma's Cha Ching Moment, Woman Doesn't Realize She Won the Lottery for $40 Million Watch Video
Brown then produced a handgun and held the five firefighters hostage in his bedroom, telling them to gather chairs, rope and tape to tie themselves up, police said. It was then that the firefighters notified their dispatch that they'd been taken hostage.
The hostages later told police that Brown said he had been planning the hostage-taking for "several weeks" and had targeted firefighters rather than police so that "he would not be shot when he attempted to take hostages."
Brown had a total of six guns in his house, which Ritter said were a combination of pistols, handguns and rifles.
Over the course of several hours of negotiations, police said Brown also demanded that officers bring him wood and tools so he could board up his windows. He even demanded that food be delivered to him and the hostages.
One of the firefighters was released because the suspect wanted the fire truck moved away from the house.
At about 7:30 p.m., Ritter said rescue and SWAT teams made the decision to move in to rescue the remaining hostages because "it got to a point where we believed their [the firefighters] lives were in immediate danger."
First, a SWAT officer pretended to deliver food to the door, and Brown allowed two of the four remaining firefighters to leave the bedroom to retrieve it, police said.
Rescue teams and a SWAT then set off a "flash bang" inside the house to distract Brown. The two hostages who had been allowed to leave the bedroom were immediately evacuated. SWAT officers then stormed the house and demanded that Brown surrender, police said. Brown then opened fire, hitting one officer in the left forearm.
That injured officer shot and killed Brown in his bedroom. No other officers fired their weapons, police said. The other two remaining hostages took cover in the bedroom and suffered minor injuries.
The injured SWAT officer was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center, where he underwent surgery, but his injury is not considered life-threatening.
Ritter said the gun's caliber, which weapons Brown used in the firefight and his past medical history were still unclear at this time. Brown had been arrested in 2011 for failing to appear in response to a warrant in another jurisdiction, but Ritter couldn't provide further details.
"We are still knee-deep into this investigation," he said.
Story by http://abcnews.go.com/US/suspect-firefighters-hostage-planned-weeks/story?id=18934624#.UWdrfb_R3dl
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police are searching for three suspects who are wanted for more than a dozen robberies. Investigators say they lure drivers in a flat tire scheme and then snatch valuables from inside the car.
Police say the trio has hit at least 16 times since August. The first dozen robberies happened in Queens, but they’ve recently spread to other areas including First Avenue and 82nd Street on the Upper East Side.
Investigators say in every case, one of the suspects alerts the car owner that they have a flat tire. While the victims inspects the damage, the other suspects grab money, purses and other personal items from inside the car.
In some cases, police said the tires are actually slashed. In others, the suspects only claim they see a flat tire to distract the victims.
The suspects will also sometimes pretend to be construction workers, wearing vests and hats or one suspect sprays victims with an unknown substance while the others act like they’re helping.
Anyone with information should call police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.
CBSNewYork) — Nearly 12 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, a new search will soon get underway in an attempt to find remains of the more than 1,000 victims who have never been located.
Starting Monday, and for the next 10 weeks, workers on Staten Island will be sifting through nearly 600 cubic yards of construction debris from the World Trade Center site, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.
The last time the city did a comprehensive sifting of debris was in 2010.
Since then, several areas have finally become accessible, including at the World Financial Center and Liberty Street.
Parts of those areas, though, are still impossible to reach.
The Medical Examiner’s Office and other city agencies, including police, fire and sanitation departments, will take part in the operation at the Fresh Kills park area.
They will search through 60 truckloads of debris collected over the past two and a half years.
Since 2006, the remains of 34 previously unrecovered victims were identified through DNA.
Of the 2,752 victims killed at the area previously known as ground zero, 1,634 have been identified.
Story by CBS New York http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/03/29/nyc-plans-10-week-debris-sifting-operation-to-find-additional-remains-of-911-victims/
(Photo credit: ALEX FUCHS/AFP/Getty Images)
We are sad to announce the passing of our friend, Retired FDNY Captain Stanley "Shep" Foner. "Shep" has been a friend since the Firestore first opened its doors. After his retirement he would search flea markets and sales looking for "Firematic" items that we could resell in the shop, or use as decore. He often spent time on Saturdays in the shop keeping my father company, and quietly exchanging stories with other visiting firefighters.
- FDNY Appointment 6/1/1959
- Probationary Firefighter Engine 231 - October 1st, 1959
- Firefighter Ladder 120 - May 27th, 1967
- Fireman of the Month - January 1st, 1969
- Lieutenant - June 13th, 1970
- Captain - Ladder 157
UNIFORMED FIRE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION MEDAL
Captain Stanley Foner Ladder 157, received the Uniformed Fire Officers Association Medal for rescuing a woman from 1921 Avenue "I" on January 8, 1984. Upon arriving at the fire building tenants told the Captain that a woman was trapped in the building. Captain Foner forced the door of the fire apartment and made a search while other members of Ladder 157 donned their mask. He entered the apartment and started his search only to be forced back by the heat. Hearing the woman was still missing, he entered the apartment once again and this time went deeper into the burning apartment. In the rear bedroom he found the woman unconscious and covered with a blanket. Completely covering her with the blanket he dragged her through two rooms of fire to the public hallway. Ann Feslowick survived the fire due to the determination of Captain Foner.
The burial will take place:
Friday, March 29th, 1:00PM
Beth David Cemetery
300 Elmont Road
Elmont, NY 11003
By Ginger Adams Otis / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
They're a band on the run.
The FDNY EMS bagpipe band is going to step lively this St. Patrick’s Day in back-to-back parades — one in New York on Saturday and the other in Dublin on Sunday, with an overnight transatlantic flight in-between.
The EMS band will march up Fifth Ave. first, fly overnight to Dublin to march up O’Connell St. on Sunday. And that’s not all: They’ll pipe in Limerick’s parade Monday, followed by a one-on-one performance for President Michael Higgins at his Dublin residence Tuesday.
In between they’ll squeeze in a wreath-laying ceremony at the 9/11 memorial in Donadea Forest Park, a barbecue on the seafront in Bray and “the odd Guinness and Jameson whiskey tasting session here and there,” said Derek O’Rourke, the Dublin paramedic planning the trip.
But first the band has to get there — and the 30 self-taught pipers and drummers are going to need the luck of the Irish to get from St. Paddy’s-packed Fifth Ave. to JFK in time for their Saturday flight.
“We’re jumping on the bus the second we step off the parade route,” said band manager John Manning.
The bagpipers could have spared themselves some stress and flown to Dublin for the start of that city’s official St. Patrick’s Day Festival March 14.
But that would mean skipping New York’s parade, which they would never do.
“We have to be here to march for the city’s EMTs and paramedics. That is the most important thing,” said Manning.
The 45-year-old EMT almost didn’t make the trip after Hurricane Sandy flooded his Rockaways home and ruined his bagpipes. The Rockaways church where the band does its fund-raising got wiped out, too.
But the crew found a pot of gold with some private sponsors who kicked in donations.
By Caitlyn Kim WNYC News Blog
One of the FDNY’s bravest will be awarded the Public Safety Medal of Valor on Wednesday.
Firefighter Peter Demontreux is one of 18 recipients of the nation’s highest award for valor by a public safety officer. Four of the awards will be given posthumously. Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder will present the award.
The Brooklyn firefighter and his unit at Ladder Company 132, responded to a brownstone fire in August 2010. On the third floor, he encountered 60-year-old Henri Howell, who said a friend was still trapped inside. After getting Howell out, Demontreux proceeded into the building and found 51-year-old Clyde Mantany.
While trying to exit, the floor became engulfed by flames, and both he and Mantany caught on fire. He still got Mantany out of the building and then dove onto the aerial ladder outside the third floor window.
Both suffered burns, with Mantany receiving burns over 50 percent of his body. Demontreux’s protective equipment was tested and found to be have been subjected to temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees.
The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor will be another to add to his collection of honors. Demontreux received the FDNY's highest awards for bravery: the 2011 James Gordon Bennett Medal. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Dr. Harry M. Archer Medal, which is awarded to just one firefighter every three years.