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Local Crime Drops in November, Likely to Fall For Year

Dec. 2, 2011 By Christian Murray

While the crime rate dropped significantly in the Sunnyside/Woodside and LIC districts in the past month, a number of loose ends remain untied – such as bringing charges against a man who allegedly murdered a Woodside man and finding a groper of local women.

The number of crimes that were reported in the precinct was down 20 percent for the month of November, compared to the same month in 2010, according to Capt. Terry O’Toole, who spoke at Tuesday night’s police precinct 108 meeting. There was a significant drop off in the number of robberies, from 15 to 9, and burglaries, from 25 to 20.

The 20 percent decline is based on the number of criminal reports filed that fall under seven major crime categories: murder; rape; robbery; felony assault; burglary; grand larceny and grand larceny auto.

By this measure, crime is down 3 percent so far this year – which includes 2 murders, the same number as last year. The number of reported rapes has almost halved– from 15 for the first 11 months in 2010, to eight so far in 2011.

However, despite the positive news, the police have yet to get to the bottom of some outstanding crimes.

They have not yet arrested the man who murdered 62-year-old Wayne Graves in his bath tub at Berkeley Co-op Towers, at 52-40 39th Dr. on Oct. 19.  The man was struck in the head with a blunt object by someone he knew.

Capt. O’Toole said “a man has been arrested in Boston on a different warrant,” who is believed to be the perpetrator of the crime. He would not elaborate further.

Additionally, a man who has groped many Sunnyside and Woodside women while riding his bicycle through the neighborhood has yet to be apprehended. The perpetrator has attacked six females—including a 12-year old – in between Sept. 15 and Oct. 7. Police did say that there have not been any further incidents.

Capt. O’Toole said there are a number of theories as to whether the groper is one individual or a group of individuals—since there are so many incidents across the city. “It’s very random. They ride their bikes, see someone who is attractive, grab them and take off,” O’Toole said.

Meanwhile, on 40th Street (near 47th Ave) a burglar made off with more than $2,000 in jewelry at around 11 pm, Nov. 16. There have been 10 burglaries on this block so far this year, with most at 47-25 40th Street.  O’Toole didn’t have a definitive answer as to why this block had been such a target, other than saying: “It can be just one guy who lives there—and one guy can do a lot of damage.”

Local politicians dropped by the meeting to award Capt. Mark Wachter with citations for his work as a lieutenant at the 108 police precinct. Wachter will be joining the 112th precinct, which covers the neighborhoods of Elmhurst and Corona.

“Lt. Wachter was very responsive to my office; he was the point person on graffiti, and was the force behind the closing of Casa Romana (39-20 Queens Blvd), where there were some serious issues,” said councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who handed Wachter a city council citation.

Meanwhile, representatives for assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and congresswoman Carolyn Maloney handed out their own citations.

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