12/11/13 11:56pm
12/11/2013 11:56 PM

Screen shot 2013-12-11 at 11.55.18 PM

Editor’s Note: The felony robbery charge against Mr. Williams was dropped on June 11, 2014.

A Riverhead teenager already arrested on robbery charges three times in the past was arrested once again in relation to a robbery on Wednesday, when police say he – along with another man and woman – robbed a man at gunpoint on Delores Avenue shortly after 4 p.m., sending nearby Riverhead schools into lockdown.

According to police, 18-year-old Julian Williams was arrested on a felony charge of first-degree robbery. Authorities said that an officer in the area was approached by the victim of the robbery soon after it occurred. Police then alerted area patrols and with the help of New York State Police, conducted a search of the area for any suspected to be involved in the incident.

Police said that Mr. Williams was spotted a short time later and arrested. His home on Osborn Avenue was searched by authorities; the guns allegedly used in the robbery were found nearby, police said.

Riverhead schools Superintendent Nancy Carney said the district received a warning from police about 4:30 p.m. to go into lockdown at Riverhead High School, Riverhead Middle School and Pulaski Street school. Though the school day had already ended, some students and faculty were still at the buildings for after-school activities, Ms. Carney said.

Police kept in contact with the schools during the lockdown and at 5 p.m. police chief David Hegermiller called to give the all clear, she said. A police officer was stationed at the school as students were dismissed, she said.

We appreciate the support and communication of the Riverhead Police Department in in this matter,” she wrote in an emailed statement. “I thank Chief Hegemiller for his direct and swift communication with me. I also thank Mr. Henderson and all our staff for their efforts in handling this situation.”

Wednesday’s reported robbery is not Mr. Williams’ first run-in with the law; the teenager was arrested in relation to a downtown robbery in August 2011, and in December of the same year in another incident.

Most recently, online court records show that Williams was charged with second-degree robbery in relation to an incident that occurred on July 9. He had been held on $15,000 cash bail through mid-August, when he was reportedly released on his own recognizance. He was supposed to be due back in court on Wednesday.

Police said additional arrests are expected in the case, which is considered ongoing. Mr. Williams is due to be arraigned in court on Thursday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story cited police as saying the guns used in the alleged robbery were found in Mr. Williams house. They were found in the “area” near the home, police said.

12/02/13 3:25pm
12/02/2013 3:25 PM
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | The state police barracks in Riverside.

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | The state police barracks in Riverside.

Just over a week after a clerk was arrested for selling alcohol to a minor in Riverhead, an underage drinking sting set up by state troopers Friday netted two more arrests in downtown Riverhead, according to police.

Riverhead Supermarket & Deli employee Breny Castillo, 21, of Freeport sold alcohol to a minor, and was charged with unlawful dealing with a child, a misdemeanor, and one count of prohibited sale of an alcoholic beverage, a violation, state police said.

The underage agent also bought alcohol from the Time To Eat Café on West Main Street, police said. The clerk, Felix Jerez-Estevez, 46, of the Bronx, was arrested on the same charges as Mr. Castillo.

Both Mr. Jerez-Estevez and Mr. Castillo were given tickets with a future date in Riverhead Town court, police said.

A dozen other stores were targeted in the sting and were in compliance with the law: Polish Town Corner Deli, Main St Quick Stop, Lucky Wine & Liquor, Stop N Go Mini Mart, Peconic Wine & Liquor, OK Gas Mini Mart, Village Delicatessen, MG Deli, Mae’s Deli, Village Grocery, Railroad Market & Grocery, and Oscar Deli & Grocery.

The underage alcohol sting was the second conducted by state police in about a week. On Nov. 20, a Mount Sinai teen working at a Route 58 gas station sold alcohol to an undercover agent and was arrested, state police said at the time.

None of the businesses targeted in the sting on Friday were tested during the previous operation.

psquire@timesreview.com

12/02/13 1:24pm
FILE PHOTO

FILE PHOTO

A 20-year-old Riverhead man is facing a felony burglary charge after he was caught at a Riverside business soon after the building’s alarm went off Wednesday, Southampton Town police said.

Police went to Charlie’s Quality Collision on Riverleigh Avenue after the alarm was activated just before 10 p.m., according to a police report. An officer saw signs of forced entry into the building and searched the inside of the business and the surrounding area with the help of state police and a sheriff’s K9 unit, the report states.

A short time later, officers found Brian Flores at the property and arrested him, police said. Police did not say what, if anything, had been taken from the store.

Mr. Flores was arrested and brought back to headquarters to be processed.

He was arraigned in Southampton Town court Thanksgiving morning and was released after posting $1,500 bail that day, county jail officials said.

psquire@timesreview.com

11/25/13 4:27pm
11/25/2013 4:27 PM
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | The state police barracks in Riverside.

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | The state police barracks in Riverside.

A Mount Sinai teen working at a Route 58 gas station was the only clerk to sell alcohol to an undercover agent during an underage drinking sting conducted in Riverhead last Wednesday, state police said.

The following businesses were found to be in compliance: Gulf gas on Main Street, Gulf Gas on Route 58, Winemart, Roanoke Liquors, Wine Depot, Hess Express, Mobil Gas Bolla Market, both Route 58 7-Eleven locations, Sunoco in Calverton, as well as The Thirsty Cellar, Alpine Liquors, Hess Mart Express, Empire Gas, and Valero Gas in Wading River, according to a report.

Route 58 Mobil employee Hamza Khan, 18, was charged with one count of unlawful dealing with a child and one count of prohibited sale of an alcoholic beverage after selling a 6-pack of Budweiser to an undercover officer, according to a report.

10/09/13 5:13pm
10/09/2013 5:13 PM
COURTESY NEW YORK STATE POLICE | Riverhead resident Korey Duff

COURTESY NEW YORK STATE POLICE | Riverhead resident Korey Duff

New York State police said a Riverhead man admitted to having 129 grams of marijuana after a traffic stop on Route 25 Tuesday night in Riverhead.

According to police, a white Hyundai was pulled over for speeding about 9:50 p.m., and an officers said they smelled the drug emanating from the car after interviewing the driver.

The front seat passenger in the car – Korey Duff, 28 – admitted the pot was his, police said, and was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor. State police said he’s due in Riverhead Justice Court on the charge at the end of the month.

09/18/13 10:36am
09/18/2013 10:36 AM

barracksNew York State Police arrested a Jamesport pizza parlor employee, as well as a Mattituck shop clerk, in an underage alcohol sting on Tuesday after authorities said they both sold beer illegally to undercover cops.

According to police, one employee at Lenny’s Pizza and Pasta in Jamesport, as well as another at Mattituck’s La Tienda, were both charged with unlawfully dealing with a child, as well as prohibited sale of an alcoholic beverage, both misdemeanors.

Six other locations in the Mattituck-Laurel area were involved in the sting did not sell alcohol to a minor, police said: 7-Eleven, Murphy’s Spirit Shoppe, J. Shields Fine Wines, Handy Pantry, and BP Gas/Okan Grocery – all in Mattituck – as well as Empire Gas in Laurel.

Police issued appearance tickets to La Tienda employee Liliana Gomez Orellana, 34 of Jamesport, as well as Christine M. Miller, 40, of Jamesport, who was working at Lenny’s.

 

06/27/13 1:00pm
ATTORNEY GENERAL COURTESY | Screen grab from video supplied by the attorney genera's office.

ATTORNEY GENERAL COURTESY | Screen grab from video supplied by the attorney general’s office.

The owners of a Gulf gas station in downtown Riverhead were arrested Thursday morning for allegedly orchestrating a scheme to steal more than $670,000 from a government food and nutrition program, the New York State attorney general announced.

Ravinder Parkash

Ravinder Parkash

Almost two dozen other Suffolk County residents, including 17 from Riverhead Town, were also arrested as part of a 60-count grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday after an 18-month investigation, said state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Police raided the East Main Street gas station Thursday morning, arresting owner Ravinder Parkash, 59, for felony grand larceny and money laundering, state officials said.

Mr. Parkash was held on $500,000 cash bail at an arraignment Thursday afternoon at Suffolk County criminal court — state prosecutors used the court space, even though the defendants are not being charged by county authorities — and is due back in court July 9.

“He does not have substantial ties to the community other than the convenience store he operates, which is where he engaged in this criminal conspiracy,” assistant attorney general Tyler Reynolds told acting state Supreme Court Judge James Hudson in court.

The alleged scheme involved illegally trading cash for hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, the attorney general said.

“The conduct alleged in this case became even more heinous when we found the defendants stole emergency benefits for victims of Hurricane Sandy and used it for their own selfish purposes,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a release.

Police also arrested Mr. Parkash’s wife, Prabha Rani, 58, and  two dozen other recipients on theft charges.

Ms. Rani was held on $250,000 cash bail after her arraignment and is also due back in court July 9.

Mr. Parkash and his wife processed “phantom” SNAP transactions in cooperation with the cardholders without selling them any food from April 2010 to June 2013, the attorney general said. The owners allegedly gave the cardholders cash equalling up to half of the amount of the fake purchase and kept the remainder of the money for themselves, officials said.

Following Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture allocated an additional 50 percent in benefits to all SNAP recipients in affected areas without regard to need. The recipients charged in the case received Sandy benefits and illegally used their cards for cash in the months after the storm, the attorney general said.

The 18-month investigation revealed that in 2012 alone, Mr. Parkash and Ms. Rani rang up over $329,000 in SNAP benefits, authorities said while comparing those numbers to those SNAP benefits being tallied at nearby stores, none of which were higher than $6,439.

In every month since 2011, the couple redeemed more than $22,000 in SNAP benefits, with the number jumping to $36,000 in November 2012, and $30,000 in December after all SNAP card holders in Suffolk received the additional aide after Hurricane Sandy

The money laundering charge comes as a “result of his use of a bank account set up for the use of New York State Lottery business that came into his store, but which he used to launder proceeds of his illegal scheme,” authorities said.

Also arrested and charged with one count of fourth-degree grand larceny and one count of misuse of food stamps were: Carla Anderson, 38, of Riverhead; Jill Arrington, 38, of Calverton; Anthony Calloway, 36, of Riverhead; Lakisha Darden, 36, of Aquebogue; Eric Dunsing, 37, of Riverhead; Kerri Ferrante, 27, of Riverhead; Shavon Goode, 30, of Riverhead; Josie Harris, 47, of Riverhead; Jessica Kennedy, 27, of Riverhead; Cynthia Massenburg, 48, of Riverhead; Tameka Miles, 31, of Riverhead; Stephanie Nash, 28, of Riverhead; Troy Smolen, 46, of Riverhead and Sirena Trent, 38, of Riverhead.

Five others from elsewhere in Suffolk County were also arrested.

The defendants, several of whom were wearing pajamas, were arraigned Thursday in a packed courtroom.

Also indicted were Brenda Richardson, 50, of Riverhead; Eric Brown Jr., 24, of Riverhead and Anthony Durham Jr., 26, of Riverhead. They have not yet been apprehended.

The attorney general filed a civil suit against Mr. Parkash, Ms. Rani and their business, Shivani Enterprises, Inc., seeking restitution of more than $670,000 and damages of more than $2 million. The business was also criminally charged.

Police confiscated a computer, security cameras and information regarding food stamps during the gas station raid, according to witnesses at the store.

Mr. Parkash was also arrested in April 2012 on charges that he sold alcohol to a minor from the snack mart.

Town assessment rolls list Prabha Rani as the property owner.

ORIGINAL STORY: Police raided a Gulf gas station on East Main Street in downtown Riverhead Thursday morning, confiscating a computer, security cameras and information regarding food stamps, according to witnesses at the store.

A man at the station’s snack mart, who requested his name not be used in this report, said he received a phone call from the property owner requesting the man open the store to authorities.

The gas station was cordoned off while state police and New York State attorney general’s office investigators combed the store, the man said.

He said employees at the station’s snack mart didn’t know what prompted the raid. The store was re-opened about 9:20 a.m. after officers left the scene. State police said they are coordinating the investigation with the state attorney general’s office.

State officials would not comment on any arrests or pending charges.

The property owner could not be reached for comment.

cmurray@timesreview.com

TIM GANNON PHOTO | State police shut down the Gulf gas station property just west of the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center Thursday morning.