02/06/14 4:49pm
02/06/2014 4:49 PM


“No one was more surprised in that courtroom than me.”

Not typical words coming from a defense attorney, moments after one of his client’s cases ended.

Just before potential jurors were set to enter the courtroom, a Riverhead taxi driver — 29-year-old Howard Ferebee Jr. — accused of being the getaway man in a Horton Avenue burglary last year, pleaded guilty to a lower charge Thursday afternoon in a bizarre court appearance that lasted nearly 20 minutes as the defendant peppered the judge and his attorney with questions.


02/06/14 3:07pm


The homeless man charged in a Polish Town armed robbery attempt last month last month may have connections to “similar” incidents in the area, county prosecutors said at the man’s arraignment Thursday morning.

Monwell Wright, 20, was indicted by a grand jury and charged with two counts of felony attempted robbery, and one count each of felony and misdemeanor assault before Judge William Condon in Suffolk County court.


01/25/14 7:42am
01/25/2014 7:42 AM
GOOGLE MAPS PHOTO | A red marker shows the location of a second reported mugging in Riverhead in less than 24 hours.

GOOGLE MAPS PHOTO | A red marker shows the location of a second reported mugging in Riverhead in less than 24 hours.

Less than a day after a man was beaten in an attempted armed robbery in Polish Town Friday, a second victim has been mugged at gunpoint less than five blocks away, Riverhead Town police said.

The reported victim — identified by police as Baldomero Cujon Cotzoj, 33, of Calverton — was walking south on Griffing Avenue just north of the railroad tracks about 10 p.m. Friday when he was approached by two men, police said. One of the men grabbed him and displayed a handgun while the second man stood at his side, according to a police statement.

The armed man demanded cash from the victim, and then beat him in the head several times with the butt of the handgun, police said. The two men ran off in an unknown direction without taking any cash from the victim, according to the statement.

The victim called police, who arrived at the scene with the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The man was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center, treated for non life-threatening injuries and released, police said.

The armed robbery was the second reported mugging in that area in less than 24 hours.

About 6:15 Friday morning, a Riverhead man was held at gunpoint by a man and a woman, then beaten over the head with a rock while walking to work on Sweezy Avenue near Pulaski Street, Riverhead Town police said.

The two suspects in that robbery ran off when a car passed by. No money was stolen in that robbery either, police said. Friday morning’s victim walked home to call police, and was later taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center with facial, head and shoulder injuries, police said.

Police did not say whether detectives believe the two incident are related or not. The investigations into both reported crimes are ongoing, according to police.

Anyone with information is asked to call Riverhead Police at (631) 727-4500 ext. 313.


11/19/13 7:14am
11/19/2013 7:14 AM


Suffolk County and Riverhead Police released visual images from an armed robbery which occurred on Route 58 in mid-September, asking the public’s help in finding the two men they say held up the store.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers are also offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case, giving up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

According to police, two men entered the Hess station at the corner of Ostrander Avenue and Route 58 about 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 13, a Friday. The duo reportedly robbed an employee at gunpoint, fleeing the convenience store with $200 in cash and $100 in Newport cigarettes.

No injuries were reported at the time of the arrest, police told the News-Review in September.

The Route 58 Hess wasn’t just the only Hess in the area to fall victim to an armed robbery recently, but also one of over a half dozen gas stations targeted throughout Suffolk County by an alleged serial armed robber. At the end of October, a Hess on Edwards Avenue in Calverton was robbed; police arrested Manorville resident Paul Tromblee on Nov. 10 in relation to the robberies. He remains held on bail.

Anyone with information about the arrest is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.



11/05/13 1:52pm
11/05/2013 1:52 PM
COURTESY SCPD | Police say this man robbed a Calverton gas station.

COURTESY SCPD | Police say this man robbed a Calverton gas station.

Suffolk County Police said on Tuesday that they are investigating a recent gas station robbery in Calverton as one which was carried out as part of a larger pattern, and are asking for the public’s help in tracking down the man they say is responsible for all of them.

The Hess gas station on Edwards Avenue – barely in the jurisdiction of the SCPD – was robbed last Wednesday night, after a clerk said that a man pulled a handgun on him, demanding cash from the register about 7:45 p.m.

Police said that over the past two weeks, similar robberies have occurred at seven different establishments, at gas stations in Eastport, Mastic, North Babylon, St. James, Dix Hills and Bohemia, as well as Jamba Juice in Stony Brook. No one was injured during any of the robberies.

The suspect is described as a white male, about 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-2 with a tall to medium build. Police said he usually wears a dark-colored or gray hooded sweatshirt.

According to police, the man has frequently approached the clerk to purchase an item and when the cash register opened, pulled a gun and demanded cash.

Mohammed Kahn, the clerk at the Calverton Hess, told the News-Review last week that the robber walked straight up to the register and demanded cash, first giving him the impression that the act was a trick.

“I was looking to him like he was joking,” Mr. Kahn said at the time.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. Any information that leads to an arrest could result in a reward of up to $5,000.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | This Hess station on Edwards Avenue was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday night, authorities said. The robber remains at large.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Hess station on Edwards Avenue that was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday night, police said. The robber remains at large.

10/28/13 4:40pm
10/28/2013 4:40 PM


A Flanders man is facing weapons and robbery charges after he allegedly walked up to a fast food restaurant drive-through window in Riverside early Sunday and threatened to shoot an employee if the worker didn’t give the man hamburgers and money, state police said.

The man was apprehended a few minutes later after a “brief struggle” with police, according to a police statement.

Police said 33-year-old Juan Mendez-DePaz walked up to the drive-through window at the McDonald’s on Flanders Road about 12:05 a.m. wearing a cowboy hat and a black vest.

Mr. Mendez-DePaz put his hand inside his vest and told the employee at the drive through window that he had two guns in his vest and threatened to shoot unless he was given hamburgers and cash, police said.

The employee immediately closed the window and called 911. State troopers and Southampton Town police got to the scene “within minutes” and found Mr. Mendez-DePaz in the parking lot based on his description. The robber allegedly showed police a “large knife” on his hip, and was apprehended after fighting with police.

He was arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon and felony robbery. He was held at Suffolk County jail pending arraignment.


09/26/13 3:42pm
09/26/2013 3:42 PM
JOE PINCIARO PHOTOS |  Ishawn Jackson, Jhmil Dawson and Lavon Dawson being escorted into town court Thursday.

JOE PINCIARO PHOTOS | Ishawn Jackson, Jhmil Dawson and Lavon Dawson being escorted into Town Justice Court on Thursday.

Three men arrested after an attempted robbery at the CVS pharmacy on Route 58 in Riverhead Wednesday are being investigated in connection with several pharmacy robberies throughout Suffolk County, prosecutors said.

During their arraignments Thursday in Riverhead Town Justice Court, county assistant district attorney Tisha Burrows said Jhmil Dawson, 26 of Coram, his younger brother, Lavon Dawson,17, of Riverhead, and Ishawn Jackson, 16, of Calverton, may have been involved in a “pattern of other robberies” that have occurred throughout the county since January.

One of those robberies includes the Jan. 14 robbery of the same Route 58 CVS, Ms. Burrows said.

Ms. Burrows also told the court that Lavon Dawson has confessed to the January robbery, in which he and two other men entered the CVS armed and wearing masks, taking off with over $8,000.

He also confessed to holding the handgun during Wednesday’s armed robbery, pointing it at a CVS employee and forcing the employee to the floor in an attempt to steal money and cigarettes, she said.

Defense attorney Anthony Rutkowski said the handgun recovered by police was a BB gun.

Lavon Dawson, who has no criminal record according to the assistant district attorney, was charged with first-degree attempted robbery as well as first-degree robbery – both felonies – following his confession.

Ms. Burrows requested $200,000 cash bail, however Justice Allen Smith set it at $100,000.

Both Jhmil Dawson and Ishawn Jackson are also facing first-degree attempted robbery charges, with Jhmil Dawson also being charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, also a felony.

Hours after the Wednesday morning incident at CVS, the men were spotted by a farm worker in fields at nearby Anderson Farms and apprehended shortly after, police had said.

Jhmil Dawson is being held without bail, due to a past criminal history, Mr. Smith said during court.

Mr. Dawson has two prior felony convictions, including an attempted robbery conviction for which he served time in jail, Mr. Burrows said.

Ishawn Jackson, 16 and still in the Riverhead school system, is being held on $100,000 bail

Family members for all three men were present in court.

Before her son’s court appearance, Lakisha Jackson said her “heart is broken.

“He is so good with his sisters; he’s just a follower,” Ms. Jackson said. “I love him.”

Jhmil Dawson currently lives with his mother in Coram, his father, Andre Lee, said.

“He just turned the wrong way.” Mr. Dawson said, explaining that his son had recently moved back to Coram from Virginia, where he had graduated high school. “May God bless him.”

A Suffolk County grand jury is taking up the case, and all three suspects are due back in town court Monday.


Correction: Ishawn Jackson is being held on $100,000 bail. We previously reported $200,000.