It’s a quiet summer afternoon on Ocean Parkway and three teens run past your car – two of them hot on the heels of the third.
Is it simply three kids horsing around or is it a robbery in progress?
Guess correctly, you may stop a mugging. Guess incorrectly, you’ve brought a quick end to a harmless game of tag and given a bit more ammunition to the critics that say cops stop innocent kids on the street for no reason.
In rendering his decision that hot August afternoon, all Police Officer Sammy Tong had to do was look in the first runner’s eyes.
“[My sergeant and I] thought that they could have just been playing around, but that first kid had that look – he was terrified,” Tong explained after receiving “Cop of the Month” honors recently – one of three officers to receive awards from the 66th Precinct Community Council. “We followed them, and discovered that the two guys chasing him were trying to get his phone.”
As he honored the seven-and-a-half year NYPD veteran with his second “Cop of the Month” award for 2008, Inspector Peter DiBlasio, commanding officer of the 66th Precinct, said that Tong was working with his anti-crime team when he saw the three teens run across Ocean Parkway between Ditmas Avenue and Avenue F.
When the teens turned up Avenue F toward East 5th Street, Tong and his sergeant followed and caught the two thieves just as they had chased down their victim.
“They got there right on time,” said DiBlasio. “Right now, those two thieves are still in jail.”
Tong shared “Cop of the Month” honors with Police Officers Markay Lucas and Vincent Buono, who were honored for arrests taken place in June and July respectively.
DiBlasio explained that Lucas put an end to a rash of bank robberies in the area when he recognized a tattoo that the thief was described as having.
Two days after the last bank robbery, Lucas and his partner were patrolling the corner of Caton and McDonald Avenues when the five-year veteran saw a man walk from a parked car to a convenience store.
When the man stepped into the light, Lucas saw the tattoo on his neck and recognized it as the one the bank robber had.
Lucas and his partner detained the man, who was later identified as the bank robber, DiBlasio explained.
Buono was responsible for apprehending six suspects following a 3 a.m. attack at the corner of Ninth Avenue and 46th Street on July 12.
“[The suspects] surrounded a resident and beat him up,” DiBlasio said. “When Officer Buono shows up, he and his partner took the victim and canvassed the area with him until all six individuals were under arrest.”
“Stories like these happen everyday in every part of the community,” DiBlasio said, regarding the three stellar arrests. “These cops are the guys that are keeping the people of the 66th Precinct safe.”