On April 5, 2017, at about 10:08 p.m., the North Castle Police Department received a 911 call from a resident on Carpenter Way reporting the theft of a motorcycle. Caller reported he was attempting to sell his dirt bike to a party who fled with the bike without paying. Within moments of that 911 call, another person independently called the North Castle Police Department reporting a motorcycle being operated erratically on the roadway, at a high rate of speed, with no lights on and this motorcycle was being followed or chased by a minivan. Those vehicles were in the area of Labriola Court.
Officers responded simultaneously to both locations. Sergeant Sammann located a minivan matching description at Labriola Court and Old Route 22. Sergeant Sammann effected a traffic stop on Route 22 near Old Route 22. The minivan in question stopped briefly, but then drove away abruptly before he could approach. A pursuit ensued south on Route 22 for roughly four minutes when the minivan stopped on Route 22 in the area of the Rye Lake Bridge. Sergeant Sammann, Officers Costa and Carricatto engage in high-risk stop procedures and subsequently took five males into custody.
The stolen motorcycle was located inside the minivan. Members of the Westchester County Police Department responded to the scene of the stop to assist with apprehension.
The five males arrested in this case reside within New York City; Francisco Pereira, age 16, Robin Medina, age 20, Ernick Rodriguez, age 19, Christopher Cespedez, age 17, and Jonathan Serrano, age 17.
The charges include Grand Larceny in the fourth degree (E folony) and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the fourth degree (E felony). The five males were released on bail an they are due to appear in North Castle Court on April 18, 2017 for arraignment.
Car Break-ins In Broad Daylight Again Do Not Leave Valuables Showing in Your Car
On Monday February 16, 2015 the North Castle Police received a report of four vehicle break-ins that occurred at Business Park Drive, Armonk. All of the incidents included smashed automobile windows and the larceny of purses that were sitting in plain view inside the locked cars. Three of the break-ins were reported at 11:57 a.m. from the Equinox parking lot. One additional incident of the same modus operandi (MO) was reported nearby at 205 Business Park shortly afterward at 12:15 p.m.
On July 29, 2015 a similar incident was reported at La Quinta at 94 Business Park Drive when a complainant called at 8:55 AM to report a vandalized vehicle. A North Castle Police Officer responded and reported two vehicles at that location with broken windows.
In February, the targeted automobiles had valuable items that were visible from the outside, said Lt. Geoffrey Harisch. He said that when a thief sees something that appears to be valuable, they break the window, grab it and go. “It’s a matter of speed; hit and run.”
Lt. Harisch recommends that people do not leave valuable items in the car that can be viewed from the outside, such as a pocketbook or camera case. “That is what prompts these break-ins,” said Harisch. The broken window then gives them immediate access to the car lock. They open the door lock and grab the item.
“They are not going to break-in your car unless they are sure there is something of value in it. They are not going to waste their time searching through the car which takes precious seconds. It’s not how they operate.” Harisch said that if you leave something exposed, the chances are your car is going to be broken into. If you put everything away, and they don’t see anything of value, these guys won’t attempt a break-in.
The four reported larcenies in February remain under investigation by the North Castle Police. In the meantime, Club Fit health club in Briarcliff Manor reported three similar larcenies on Sunday. The cars were broken into the same way, and the Village of Ossining’s Detective Lt. William Sullivan believes it may very well be the same group of thieves. Circumstantially speaking, Harisch said if the MO is the same, it’s safe to say that the Armonk and Briarcliff Manor incidents are connected. Sullivan said that people should secure their personal belongings out of public view or in a gym locker. The Ossining PD has contacted health clubs in the area to advise them of the break-ins.
Based on experience, Harisch said this could involve a team of a driver and two other people who are dropped off. “They see the target, break in, steal it and go. One guy breaks the window. The other guy steals the stuff.” They quickly repeat the same scenario, and then hop in the car with the driver and take off. Or, there could be only two people: one breaks in and steals the item while the driver waits and then picks him up. People who are doing this in broad daylight are most likely professionals.
They check several cars at a time, said Harisch. They break one window, perhaps with the blunt force of a hammer, but it’s hard to determine what they used because when car windows are smashed, they shatter into small pieces.
If items are stolen from your car, Harisch recommends that you report it immediately. Typically within the first hour, the thief will try to use the credit cards or something else that was stolen. There may be a surveillance camera at a bank where they can capture the thief’s activity.
The thieves might be so savvy that they case the parking lot for cameras and work around them. But Harisch said people who do this are usually brazen and do it often. They know what they are looking for, smash the windows, and then they are gone.
Gym parking lots are targets of thieves all over the country. Many break-ins have been reported in gym parking lots because people tend leave their valuables locked in the car. Monday’s larceny reports were not the first time car break-ins have been reported at the gym or in Armonk.
Monday’s incidents could be connected to larcenies that occurred years ago when there were a stream of break-ins at the same location. Property owner Michael Fareri said that he will discuss with his tenant what can be done to deter this from happening again in the future. But he added, “People have to be more vigilant to protect their valuables.” While installing surveillance cameras is something they need to consider, he said, in troubled economic times, these things happen.
If surveillance cameras are installed properly, this could deter professional thieves or at least provide video surveillance to assist with police investigations.
The following article was written after a discussion about burglary prevention with Lieutenant Geoffrey Harisch of the North Castle Police Department.
Republished February 23, 2017 “If you see something, say something.” The billboards are familiar in Manhattan and other big cities. But it is just as true in Armonk, according to North Castle Police Lieutenant Geoffrey Harisch, a 29-year veteran on the force. Trust your instincts, he advises, and if something does not feel right, call the police department. "I don't know how many times people tell us, ‘We knew something wasn't right, but I did not want to be a pain.’ We encourage people to call," said Lt. Harisch. "That is what we are here for, to respond to suspicious calls and investigate them. Even if it is anonymous, call it in. You can say, ‘There is a dark blue car and it seems suspicious, but I don't want to get involved, I want to be anonymous’ and hang up."
"The economy is a reflection of the burglaries that are going on," said Lt. Harisch. Two recent burglaries in Armonk are under investigation and the details can not be discussed. "But if we catch someone, they are usually accountable for several burglaries and we can stop it for while. That one phone call can help if a patrol car is in the area, the patrol can stop the car, maybe notice something in the car and the next thing you know we are closing out the case that we have the entire task force investigating. In the past, multiple local burglaries have been tied together, but sometimes they are independent. As the detectives collect more data and information, they try to connect things and figure out the ‘modus operandi’ or method of operations. Usually, the final connection is made when they catch the people and then you find out certain things from what they are willing to give you.
"I tell people the number one thing is to please lock the doors and turn on the security alarm. Many people say, ‘we are afraid the alarm will be set off and we will have to pay a fine.’ What is the point of an alarm system? Make sure your batteries are charged and that everyone in the house knows the code.”
Other ways to discourage burglars are fairly simple and rely on common sense. "If you go away,” Lt. Harisch stressed, "stop the mail, the newspaper and anything that is obvious that will pile up. A halfway decent burglar will case the place and look for telltale signs of no activity. Is the car parked in the same exact spot all the time? Use deterrents -- a beware of dog sticker, a note on the door, ‘Mary, I'll be back in 5 minutes.’
"The average burglary can take five to eight minutes. The burglars read the obituaries and target those homes. Some people hire a security company to attend to the estate or stay in the house.”
According to Lt. Harisch, the police offer additional ways to avoid break ins,. "If you go away, file a dark house card with the North Castle Police Department; when time and priority allows, we do a routine check. The form asks: Do you have timers on your lights? Did you stop your mail? Who are your key holders? If something happens, give us one or two phone numbers to call 24/7. It could be something besides a burglary, perhaps smoke coming out of the house from an oil burner backup.
"Protect yourself by having one or two neighbors look out for you. If you leave a car out in the driveway, and you have a good rapport with your neighbors, ask them to move the car, turn it around, or pull it further up the driveway to appear as if someone is home. If you are away for an extended period of time, and someone is casing the place, don't stop services like grass mowing or anything else that appears as maintenance. Plus, if the landscapers see something, they will report it. The landscaper is also a deterrent because it is an activity."
From "A Prolific Burglar Shares Tips From Prison", Lt. Harisch relayed the wisdom gleaned from the author’s admitted 203 burglaries and six-year prison sentence. The author wrote that a big indicator for him was mail in the doorway, ‘It is such a giveaway that someone is on holiday.’ In most North Castle homes, newspapers pile up in the driveway and burglars check the mailboxes to see if they are full, or if the mailbox is full, the door may open.
"Leave music playing in the house. It does not use that much electricity. It is another thing that keeps them from hearing if somebody is walking around,” Lt. Harisch continued. “These are all deterrents and some are better than others. Dogs are loud and noisy. The burglar might break in then and there, or if he is not sure, some of them come back with a partner or maybe not. Or they will knock on the door and then they will wait. If someone is home, they will give some stupid reason, such as their car broke down, or ask for directions. That's a golden opportunity to call us. Respond with, 'I'm not really sure.’ Try to act as normal as possible, and try to see what kind of car they are in or if someone picks them up. Call immediately, as soon as they go. Even if you can't get the plate number, describe the car, a blue four-door car. But we don't want people to jeopardize themselves by running out to take a look at the plate number. Try to describe the guy, his looks and his size.
"The majority are burglars for a reason, they don't want to be robbers. They don't want to do any forcible stealing as in a robbery, but they rather do the sneaky stealing. In my career, a majority of times, when a burglar was caught in the house, they did everything to get away from the resident. They don't want to be identified and they are not about attacking anyone. They are just there to steal what they want to steal. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, as there always are, but more times than not, they are going to try to get away and don't want to be identified.
"After someone who I know got burglarized, he left a bucket around his car as if someone were washing their car, went out for a while, and would be right back. It is not something you usually see sitting in the driveway.
"Anything that you can do that gives the appearance that someone may be home is a huge deterrent to a burglar. The lights on are always good, but a professional who may be back more than once to study the house will see that the lights are on at the same time. In my experience, the majority of burglars were opportunists. They come in to a neighborhood, drive by, break in, take what they want and leave. They would be in such a rush, as some of them want to steal something specific as jewelry or money. There has been a case where all they wanted was the television set. The guy walked by a wallet packed full of cash that was sitting on the table because he zeroed in on getting the television, got the television and left. A majority of those people are drug addicts, they go to their fence, sell it and get their money. But now it is more about the economy and people suffering.”
Lt. Harisch also discussed the psychological impact of having one’s home burglarized. He outlined some of the ways homeowners can enhance the security of their homes, "If someone is a victim, it is a tremendous invasion of privacy. It is a violation especially if someone breaks in and you have family. You can take steps to prevent it. Make your house more secure, if your basement door has only one lock, put a deadbolt on it. You can add strength to the lock by putting longer screws in the door, and make them go deeper into the wood. If you have the money, set up an indoor security surveillance, they are not that expensive. Also you can set up an outdoor surveillance system on the main focal point of the driveway to the approach of the house from the road. The minute a burglar sees that, especially if he has a little savvy, he is not going to want that. And psychologically these things may ease your mind.
"Generally, burglars want to be discreet and make a entry as quickly as possible from a blind side of the house away from the public's view -- usually the rear or side of the house that is not open to the neighbors. But if they walk up to the front door, and notice the front door is open, they will just walk in. That's why I encourage everyone to lock the front door. Also from the insurance perspective, it makes a difference if there is forcible entry into the residence. There is no excuse to not lock the house.”
Burglars are often looking for jewelry since the items are easily transported and sold, and many homeowners keep easy access to even their most expensive items. Lt. Harisch had a number of suggestions for keeping these small valuables more secure, "Don't write down your four-digit pin number anywhere. If they find it in your wallet or purse, they will likely figure it out. Also keep a list of all your valuables, especially your jewelry. You can keep your costume jewelry out, but hide your good jewelry in a place that is not going to be the usual, use your imagination to put it somewhere that is unusual. They want to be in and out real quick. Do not use your dresser drawers or areas like that, they will find that. If you are not wearing an expensive piece of jewelry; a fine ring or nice watch all the time, put that in an area that is not such an inconvenience to get to when you need it, but is cleverly hidden. Or get a safe deposit box. And leave the rest of the stuff, costume jewelry that is not as expensive, to throw them off to think they got what they came for, so they stop searching.”
Lt. Harisch emphasized that anytime you have reason to believe that you are being observed or targeted for a burglary, "Call us right away, especially if they knock on your door. Every minute, that person will travel that much further away. When they ring your bell, try not to act suspicious of them, just answer the question, ‘No, I don't have any antifreeze.’ A majority of the people have a gut feeling and should act on that. Call and don't delay."
North Castle Police
Police Blotter: Vehicle Thefts and Larceny
On Tuesday February 21, 2017 the North Castle Police received three reports of stolen vehicles and larceny.
At 2:53 PM, a resident on Mianus River Road returned home after several days on vacation. He reported that his black Mercedes Benz, which was parked in the driveway, was not there when he returned.
At 3:19 PM, another resident on East Middle Patent Road called to say that her vehicle was parked unlocked in her driveway from Sunday evening until Tuesday morning. She reported that the vehicle was rummaged through and the key was missing from within the vehicle.
At 3:32 PM, an employee of Mianus River Gorge Park reported a suspicious vehicle was parked in the parking lot and had the engine running since that morning. The vehicle, a gray BMW with Connecticut plates, was reported stolen out of Stamford, CT.
North Castle Police Implement New Collection of Prescription Drugs
April 21, 2015 The North Castle Police Department is pleased to announce the implementation of a new program for disposing of prescription drugs and medications. Our new program allows citizens to safely rid their homes of potentially dangerous prescription medications and provides for proper disposal, in doing so, protecting our children and the environment. The drug take back program originated with the Drug Enforcement Agency (D.E.A.) working in conjunction with local municipalities on a semi-annual basis in which specific dates were set aside for citizens to dispose of unwanted prescription medications at their local police department. Traditionally, the North Castle Police Department, the D.E.A. and the North Castle Recycling Committee coordinated efforts so that the Drug Take Back Day took place on the same day as the highly successful Zero Waste Day in Town. The overwhelming public response led Town Officials and the North Castle Police Administration to explore ways to expand the program. Now, citizens can safely dispose of prescription medications 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new North Castle Drug Collection Unit has been installed in the lobby of the Police Department which is located in Town Hall. The unit itself is similar to that of a U.S. Mailbox.
Acceptable Items: - Prescription medications - Prescription patches - Prescription ointments - Over the counter (OTC) medications - Vitamins - Medication samples - Medication for pets
For question regarding this new program, contact the North Castle Police Department at (914) 273-9500.
Police Department Offers Burglary Prevention Tips
Useful advice is given by the North Castle Police Department of how to protect your home, keep it safe and secure. Windows, doors, lighting and general tips are areas of your home that can be made safer.
Windows & Doors • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if you are going out for just a short time, make sure you lock up. • Keep your garage door closed and locked. Do not rely on an automatic garage door opener to provide security. Also, make sure to lock any connecting door between the garage and your home. • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen. • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. In addition to keeping them locked, place a metal rod or wooden pole into the track to prevent burglars from forcing it open or lifting it off the track. Special locks are also available to provide better security. • Use curtains on garage and basement windows.
Lighting • Absence of interior lighting indicates a home is unoccupied. • Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day. • Have adequate exterior lighting, including motion-sensitive lights that alert you when someone has come on your property. • Make sure there is good lighting around your front door and along any walkway or hallway leading to it.
General Tips • Setting your alarm. Many times, burglary victims have alarms that were not set. Regardless of the short time you plan on leaving your house, SET YOUR ALARM!
Have your alarm system serviced as per your monitoring company’s recommendations. A regularly serviced alarm system will prevent false alarms, and ensure your home is protected in a power outage. • Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take all items away daily. • Make it appear that you are never away for an extended period of time; arrange for your lawn to be mowed, snow removed, etc., if you are going away for an extended time, • Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, or other "secret" hiding places -- burglars know where to look for hidden keys. Partnering with the Police • The MOST important thing YOU can do is CALL THE POLICE to report a CRIME or any SUSPICIOUS activity. You have to be the eyes of your neighborhood. And remember you can always remain a pair of anonymous eyes! • Light up your residence, lock your doors at all times, and call the Police when you see something suspicious.
Town of North Castle Police Department 15 Bedford Road Armonk, NY 10504 (914)273-9500 Emergency call 911
Westchester County Released CrimeTips App
September 17, 2014 The tip411 system has now released apps for both Apple and Android users to submit tips to any participating tip411 department in Westchester, including North Castle's Police Department.
See something that’s not quite right? An App can be downloaded for iPhones and Android to easily report anonymous tips to the local police.
North Castle’s New Police “tip411” Allows for Complete Anonymity
April 15, 2014
North Castle’s Police Chief Geoffrey Harisch has secured a free nationwide communications service that has been made available by the Westchester District Attorney’s office. The tip411 Citizen Observer system is user-friendly, completely anonymous, and is monitored 24/7 by three trained detectives of North Castle’s Detective Division: Sergeant Dennis Murray, Detective Thomas McCormack and Detective Patsy DeBenedictis, who has been appointed administrator of the system.
Instead of leaving a recorded voicemail, Detective DeBenedictis says, the anonymous texts and emails of the new 411 system are received immediately and the technology does not allow for the tipster to be identified.
The Citizen Observer system offers two options for tipsters to report tips: text messages and a web-based form located on North Castle’s town website, in the News and Announcements section.
Each text tip or message is received instantaneously and all information goes through the Citizen Observer site. All identification is blocked and therefore cannot be traced. The tips are investigated and typically there is a low percentage countywide, about four percent, of tips that turn out to be bogus, says Detective DeBenedictis.
Text tips are simple to send. Type 847411 or tip411 and message NCPD then space, followed with the tip, and then send. Within a few seconds the members of the Detective Division will receive the message on their cellphones, as well as the Police Department’s desktop computer. After an officer logs in with his credentials, the tip is received and identified by an assigned number. The Police Department may respond to the tip and have a dialogue with the tipster, but the sender will always remain anonymous. If the submitter texts STOP, the Police Department is notified, and the communication is automatically terminated.
Unless the sender asks for no further communication, the Police Department will reach out and ask if there is something else to report. In the cities of White Plains and Yonkers about 40 percent of the tipsters have agreed to meet with the police. DeBenedictis says this can be done discreetly and confidentially. But safety is essential. “We don’t ever want anybody to put themselves in jeopardy. If something is going wrong, dial 911.” The tip line should be used for illegal activity in an ongoing investigation. For example, a tipster may call and say, “Vehicles were broken in at The Gym and we think we know who it is.”
Tipsters may also use the web-based form to send tips from an “Anonymous Tip Form” posted on the North Castle website (listed above). A photograph may be electronically attached to this form. After submitting the form, the sender receives an assigned number which can be used to follow up with more information in another submission. This option does not allow for a back-and-forth dialogue with the North Castle Police Department.
North Castle’s Town Board member Barry Reiter observed the system in use and says, “I’m impressed that it is totally anonymous and it is effective because it’s instantaneous where as a voice message has to be retrieved.” If the voicemail is called in on a weekend, a detective may not receive the message immediately.
North Castle Police Department’s 24-hour call-in anonymous tips hotline system will still remain in effect to report any type of illegal or criminal activity in the Town of North Castle. Dial 273-2077 and detectives may pick up the incoming call if they are available, or callers may want to leave a message after hearing the voice mailbox’s message: “You have reached the North Castle Police Department’s anonymous information hotline. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911. Otherwise, please leave a message regarding information you feel the Police Department should know about. Please be as descriptive as possible. Thank you.” A caller using this alternative may be concerned about their identity becoming known by their voice.