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Cops: Two; Crooks: zero - Crime busters take down thugs

The Brooklyn Paper
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The cracker-jack crime fighting team recently honored for taking a machine gun off the streets of Bath Beach is once again in the sights of a grateful community.

Members of the 62nd Precinct’s anti-crime team – Sergeant Geoffrey Varela and Police Officers Oliver Muir, Yakov Kaushanskiy, Salvatore Latorre and Daniel McNeil – were all honored Tuesday for taking down two muggers in the same night.

Deputy Inspector John Sprague, the commanding officer of the 62nd Precinct, told Community Council members that Varela’s team has played a major role in the command’s overall success in fighting crime.

“They’re an excellent team,” he explained. “They truly have the pulse of the community. Each day they’re responsible for going out to prevent crime and apprehend the people who commit these crimes and they have been doing consistently good work.”

The team’s robbery arrest spree began on the evening of January 2 after a 43-year-old man held up cab driver at knifepoint near the corner of Kings Highway and West 8th Street.

The cabbie told police that he had picked up a fare at 10:50 p.m. that night when he suddenly felt a knife to his throat.

The thief took $200 from the cabbie, jumped out of the vehicle and ran to an awaiting van.

As the van fled the area, Varela and Latorre quickly picked up the perpetrator’s scent.

They located the van and followed it to the neighboring 61st Precinct and ultimately pulled the vehicle over at the corner of Avenue T and East 4th Street.

Anti-crime team members took their suspect into custody, recovered the knife and brought him back to the scene of the crime, where he was identified as the mugger, officials said.

Sprague said that after bringing the thief in for processing, half of Varela’s team was sent out on patrol again.

A short time later the crew was credited with chasing down and arresting a man wanted for a chain-snatching at the corner of 78th Street and 19th Avenue.

The officers split up and cut off the thief as he tried to make his escape, officials said.

“These guys made one collar, then go right back out there and got another,” Sprague said as he handed out “Cops of the Month” certificates.

This is the second time in three months that the anti-crime team was honored as “Cops of the Month.”

In October, the crew was credited with a stellar gun bust in which an ATI SKS — a machine gun that is more commonly found in the streets of Afghanistan rather than the streets of Brooklyn — was recovered.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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