Cop arrested for DWI fatality

The Brooklyn Paper
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A 30-year-old NYPD police officer who patrols the streets of Bay Ridge was arrested in Mill Basin early Sunday following a booze-fueled accident that took the life of a 33-year-old woman.

Police said that Vionique Valnord, a security guard from Rogers Avenue in East Flatbush, had just left a wedding and was hailing a cab on East 56th Street and Avenue N at 1:10 a.m. on September 27 when she was struck by a Jeep being driven by Andrew Kelly of the 68th Precinct.

Kelly, a seven-year member of the force, was one of many witnesses to render aid to the woman. His four passengers, including an off-duty cop from the 70th Precinct in Flatbush, reportedly left the scene before responding officers arrived.

Paramedics rushed Valnord to Kings County Hospital where the woman -- the daughter of a minister who performed the wedding she had just attended -- died of her injuries.

Responding officers arrested Kelly, who was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. He was immediately suspended from the force and was later released after making $200,000 bond.

Officials at the scene said that a cup of beer was in his jeep when the accident took place.

Kelly, they alleged, had been drinking a full two hours before the accident as he watched a football game at a friend’s house.

According to published reports, the off-duty cop that was with Kelly at the time of the accident, who has been identified as Police Officer Michael Downs, has also been suspended from duty.

Downs allegedly didn’t tell his superiors what had happened until he showed up to work at 8 a.m. Sunday morning, officials said.

Cops are investigating a cabbie’s claim that a phantom gunman robbed him of $600.

The 29-year-old victim said that he was idling at the corner of Avenue R and East 17th Street at 2:30 a.m. on September 25 when a stranger pulled a gun on him and demanded his money.

The victim said that he gave the gunman the money, but when questioned further said that the camera in his livery cab had been shut down before the robbery.

The validity of his statements was brought into question when the victim refused to work with detectives to find the thieves responsible, sources said.

Members of the Midwood Shomrim patrol helped police grab up an alleged thief caught busting into cars in Midwood, officials said this week.

Police said that the volunteer patrol was rolling by Quentin Road and East 22nd Street at 12:30 a.m. September 22 when they spotted 32-year-old Robert Drach allegedly rooting through a car.

Shomrim members alerted police and kept an eye on Drach as he allegedly moved from the car he looted to a Honda Odyssey, which he also was also spotted breaking into.

Cops caught Drach red-handed with the items he allegedly stole a short time later. He was charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

Two men claiming to be cops were arrested recently for shaking down a man at a store at the corner of Avenue M and East 12th Street, cops from the 70th Precinct said.

The victim said he was in the store at 2:40 a.m. September 17 when the two suspects came in and identified themselves as police officers.

They then went up to the victim and demanded his money, police said.

When he balked, the thieves shoved their victim and went through his pockets.

Police said that the two thieves, who were not identified, were arrested a short time after the confrontation and charged with robbery.

There’s supply and demand. Then there are supplies, demands and guns.

That’s the MO of a well-dressed thief responsible for hitting two area Staples supply stores recently.

Police allege that the thief has been raiding Staples stores since June 16, when he robbed a Sheepshead Bay location on Ocean Avenue near Avenue Y.

Police said that the thief entered the store at 7:20 a.m. that morning, approached staff members as if he was a customer and then pulled a gun.

The thief then took the employees to the manager’s office, where he ordered them to open the safe, police said.

The thief reportedly “stayed off the grid” until August 26, when he hit the Staples store on Coney Island Avenue between avenues O and P in Midwood.

The thief, described as a black male in his 30s and 40s, between 5’11” and 6’1” and between 170 to 200 pounds is also responsible for raiding a Staples in Queens, cops said.

Cops are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to come forward.

Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

Cops are looking for the rooftop renegades who broke into a Kings Highway fruit store last week.

Someone cut a hole into the roof of Fruits A Plenty, 1507 Kings Highway, sometime after closing at 9 p.m. on September 23 and lowered themselves inside, where they raided several cash registers.

When employees opened the place at 6 a.m. the next morning, the registers were open and empty. It was unclear just how much was taken as this paper went to press.

Cops are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to come forward.

Calls can be made to the 61st Precinct at (718) 627-6611. All calls will be kept confidential.

An 80-year-old woman returned to her Avenue R home last week to discover that someone had ransacked the place.

The senior said she first realized something was wrong at 10:30 p.m. on September 25 when she came home and realized that someone had rifled through her bedroom closet. The locks to the closet, as well as the nightstand, had been damaged, she said.

That’s when she found the second-floor window ajar, the locking mechanism broken.

Police believe that the thief forced open the window and raided the place in the hour and a half that the senior was out, officials said.

Cops have yet to determine what had been taken as this paper went to press.

An 18-year-old employee at the Target in the Junction was arrested last week for allegedly lifting at least $8,000 from her cash register.

Police said that Tyana Boone was charged with criminal possession of stolen property, grand larceny and petit larceny after her arrest on September 19.

“Loss prevention” specialists from Target determined that Boone’s register was seriously light on receipts between September 4 and September 19.

When they questioned her, she admitted to the thefts, which amounted to $8,000 in receipts, officials said.

Police are looking for a crew of thieves who conned their way into an 83-year-old woman’s home as she waited for her daily Meals-on-Wheels drop off.

The senior said that she was waiting for her lunch on the stoop of her East 13th Street home at 1:30 p.m. September 17 when a woman and a man approached claiming to work for the water company.

The duo said they needed to go into the senior’s apartment to check her pipes and faucets.

The woman allowed them to go in, not realizing that a third man snuck in with them.

Working together, the charlatans searched through the apartment and ran out without telling the senior anything further, officials said.

Nothing had been reported stolen as this paper went to press.

Cops are encouraging all residents, especially seniors, to be wary of these flim-flam artists.

If someone shows up claiming to be from a utility company and asking entrance to your home, make sure that they have identification, police said. One can also call the utility company to check if workers had been dispatched to your home, they added.

Anyone with information regarding the scam artists is asked to call the 61st Precinct at (718) 627-6611. All calls will be kept confidential.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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