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Chief: Vandalism at firehouse not believed to be gang-related

A Sept. 28, 2018, incident in which a Hampton Bays man smashed the windows of a pickup truck at the Riverhead Fire Department is not believed to be gang related, according to Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller.

But he said police are being extra vigilant about threats to police officers since April 2018, when police in Nassau County learned from an MS-13 informant that members of that El Salvadoran gang were looking to kill a police officer because police had been making too many arrests of MS-13 members.

The rumor had been that the smashing of the firefighter’s truck was done as an MS-13 initiation and that the gang planned to do something to a police officer as well.

“We’ve heard the same rumors everyone else has heard,” Chief Hegermiller said. “We’re investigating, but it’s not founded at this time.”

The man arrested for the truck incident was Carlos Humberto Regalado-Ramos, 22, of Hampton Bays. He was arrested Dec. 17, 2018, and charged with second-degree criminal mischief, which is a class D felony punishable by up to seven years in jail. He was released from court on his own recognizance and is due back in court Feb. 4.

Mr. Hegermiller said Mr. Regalado-Ramos is not a gang member. He said police are still investigating what the motive was for the vandalism.

A police report of the incident said that Ms. Regalado-Ramos used a baseball bat to shattered both passenger-side windows of a firefighter’s personal truck that was parked outside the Roanoke Avenue fire headquarters. He also made several dents alongside the passenger side fender and damaged the side view mirror and front door handle on the passenger side of the truck.

Court reports indicated that the total cost of the damage to the truck was $7,932.

Dennis Hamill, the chairman of the Riverhead Fire Commissioners, referred questions about the incident to police.

In Southampton Town, anti-police graffiti was found on a bathroom by the Wildwood Lake beach in April of 2018. The graffiti also had tags of the 18th Street gang, which is aligned with the Mexican mafia, according to Southampton Police Lieutenant Susan Ralph.

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