Should Long Island Police Start Their Own “Cold Case” Squad?
As a child, I watched the show Unsolved Mysteries regularly. Being that I was born in 1994, the show had already been on for about six years. I started to watch the show with my sister when I was about then years old, so at that point, the only episodes that were on television were re-runs on Lifetime. From that time on, I have always been interested in cases of missing people. How can one person just drop off the face of the Earth without ever being seen again? Surely, in most cases of people vanishing, someone, somewhere knows the fate of the missing person but is either responsible for this person vanishing, or knows who is and is afraid to come forward with the information. I am a believer that most cases of people vanishing off the face of the Earth, never to be seen again by loved ones, has a story behind it. Because of this, I feel that Long Island, whether it be for Nassau County and Suffolk County split, or both together, should have their own missing persons cold case squad.
Ever since I started watching old re-runs of Unsolved Mysteries on Lifetime, I have always been interested in learning the truth about cases of missing people in my area. Long Island, where I live, has a number of unsolved missing persons cases dating back decades. Off the top of my head, the oldest I can think of is the case of a missing two year old named Steven Damman. The two year old boy was last seen in 1955 outside of a supermarket, where his mother left him. Back in the 50’s it wasn’t a big deal to leave a child outside while a parent shopped because there wasn’t much publicity about children who go missing. I guess you can say that adults were less suspicious and maybe more so naive then they are today. But since that day, Steven hasn’t been located. Other cases of suspicious disappearances that have happened years ago on Long Island include the disappearance of Cynthia Constantine, who was last seen walking her dog in Oakdale in 1969, the disappearance of Janice Fullam, a seventeen year old who was last seen leaving a friend’s house in Smithtown in 1981 and the disappearance and probable murder of Kelly Morrisey from Lynbrook, who was last seen walking on Merrick Road in 1984.
Recently, a cold case from New York City was solved and the man who murdered six year old Etan Patz was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for his murder. Though his body has never been found and isn’t likely to be found, there was enough evidence to find this man guilty of his murder. Etan has been missing since 1977, and a cold case from forty years ago having been solved means that almost any cold case of a missing person has the potential to be solved. I feel that forming a Long Island missing persons cold case unit will increase the likelihood of the families of the missing to receive closure in the cases of their missing family members. It is possible that around the time one of these people vanished, that people knew exactly what happened to them, but were afraid to talk to police, fearing for their own lives or the lives of their own family. As time goes by though, people move, die or suddenly remember details that may be crucial in finding a missing person. I feel that having this missing persons cold case squad will at least give the families of the missing an idea of what happened to their missing family members, or even better, finally bring them home.
Should All Drug Dealers Be Responsible for Overdose Deaths of their Buyers?
Long Island may seem like the safest place to raise a family, but like every other place it has areas that do not have a good reputation. Massapequa, for example, may seem like a great area to raise children and settle down with your family. But as previously said, Massap equa has areas that are known to give the town a bad reputation. I myself have heard from many that Massapequa is the heroin capital of Long Island. I do not have statistics to prove this, but living in Seaford, a town right next to Massapequa, I am not surprised by this. I know of many people who live in Seaford who use drugs and associate with people from the town over as well. Some of the people I know fortunately have gotten clean and no longer use drugs but some of them still do. Personally, I don’t know of anyone who has fatally overdosed, but have heard of a few people that don’t live too far from me who have succumbed to abuse of drugs, particularly heroin and oxycontin. So what should be done about this epidemic that has been taking place for years? Recently, I have heard of more and more arrests of dealers who have supplied the people who passed with the drugs that caused their overdose.
Arresting drug dealers who have been traced to fatal overdoses are becoming more common. I feel that this is a good thing for our area because it may steer dealers away from selling drugs. Obviously, it isn’t the dealer’s intention to have the user overdose, but they do need to face consequences for their actions. Some dealers may only be selling drugs to support a family or their own habits, but selling or even being in possession of lethal drugs benefits no one. Drug dealing benefits no one. Whether it be the addict whose life is being destroyed by the drug, or the dealer who is putting his freedom on the line just to make some cash, dealing drugs in any community should not go unpunished. Investigating every overdose case, no matter the drug, should be taking place to remove dealers from the streets. Although it will more than likely not stop some from using or dealing, I feel that it will have an impact on Long Island as a whole. Every area of Long Island should be considered a safe place for any family to settle down and not have to worry about a family member succumbing to drug abuse because of the influences of the people in the community they live in.
What Should Be Done About the Dangers of Prairie Drive?
Just recently, a postal worker was hit by a man behind the wheel of a 1998 Lincoln Continental. Currently, the postal worker, who has only been identified as a 40 year old Bayport resident, was flown to Stony Brook University Medical Center with serious injuries. The driver of the Lincoln Continental, identified as 51 year old Stefano Belloisi, was arrested at the scene and charged with reckless driving and drug possession. It has not been said what drug he was in possession of.
The arrest and hospital admission stemmed from an incident Wednesday afternoon when Belloisi was said to have been driving recklessly heading west on Prairie Drive. Belloisi ended up hitting the postal worker, his truck, a fire hydrant and a telephone pole. Belloisi himself wasn’t injured but was arrested a short time after.
This incident has caused an uproar from the residents who live on Prairie Drive. Prairie drive is a street in North Babylon that is about a mile long. Much of this street doesn’t contain enough stop lights or stop signs, according to residents. This is a major issue according to residents because they feel that many drivers feel that the posted speed limits don’t apply to this street.
“People just fly down the street without a care in the world.” Bill Miller, a resident of Prairie Drive complains, “They need to realize that there are families with small children that live on this block and that their driving is putting everyone in the area in danger.”
So what can be done to bring awareness to this dangerous street? Many feel that more stop signs should be added to this specific street due to it’s length and history of accidents. But for now, police will be in the area observing the speed of the drivers in the area, so be careful to obey the speed limit and make sure you are aware of your surroundings.
Body Found in Massapequa Preserve: Drug Involvement? Gangs? Or both?
Just this past week, the body of an young man was found in the Massapequa Preserve on the south shore of Long Island. A dog walker came across the decomposing remains of a young man in his late teens or early twenties in a remote area of the preserve. It is very sad when the body of someone is found, but it is especially tragic when the victim found is of such a young age. And to make it worse, the Nassau County detectives have ruled this young man’s death a homicide.
There are still many questions that the police do not have answers to in this case. They don’t know what led to the death of this young man, they don’t know the exact date of death and saddest of all, they don’t even know his name. It has been said that after the discovery of the body, the medical examiner found that there had been obvious signs of lacerations and blunt forced trauma to his head. This is what caused the death of this young man.
To help bring his killer to justice, we first need to know who he was. That is where the community will come in handy. Someone knows who this man is, and once he is identified, the NCPD will be one step closer to uncovering the circumstances that led up to the untimely death of this young man.
Unfortunately, parts of Massapequa have been known for a high amount of drug usage. Some people even consider Massapequa to be the “heroin capital” of Long Island. Could drugs have been involved in this young man’s death? Or is this just another person who has fallen victim to gang violence, like the two young girls in Brentwood recently? Gangs are also known to be involved with drugs, so can this be a case involving both?
Someone knows something, and to provide justice for this young man, that someone needs to come forward. Do the right thing. If you do know who this man is, or know about the circumstances leading to his death, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. As always, you have the option to remain anonymous.
Exotic Dancing: Not as Easy of a Job as It Seems
Last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing “Lexi,” a former exotic dancer, while I did my research on the different types of odd jobs that are out there for people who aren’t fortunate enough to be able to get a college education. Just like the rest of us, Lexi needs to make money to survive. Unlike last time, this time I will be interviewing her about the specifics of her job and she will be sharing interesting stories about the pros and cons of taking your clothes off for groups o f people to see.
Some people look down on exotic dancing and feel that it isn’t a classy occupation. Though it may not be classy, at least it is legal and it’s the dancer’s choice to bear it all for a living. In Lexi’s case, her part time job as a barista just wasn’t cutting it income wise. As bills were piling up, Lexi knew that if she didn’t take a second job she would fall into debt. At first, Lexi considered modeling because she has always been confident with her body and how she looked. Then another thought crossed her mind, though modeling probably pays a decent amount of money, she can take on an exotic dancing job and make possibly twice the amount she would dancing in one night.
Lexi didn’t want her family to know about her working this type of job, so she told them that she found a job as a bartender in Queens. What she really found was a strip joint that was looking for dancers. Knowing that she would not survive without money, and the fact that she saw her bank account rapidly dropping, she took the job and tried to make the best of it. One thing that Lexi and I talked about was the pros and cons of being an exotic dancer. Believe it or not, Lexi helped me to realize that this type of employment is a lot harder than it seems. I, myself, work in retail and some customers are just more than enough to deal with in one day. Lexi also has a past in retail, but she says that those customers are nothing compared to the ones who came to see her bare it all.
Me: Tell me about the men and/or women that came to see you dance. Were they pleasant people to deal with?
Lexi: I had a few people that I would dance for any day of the week. These people were kind, respectful and generous. Unfortunately, there were others who were a nightmare. Some men would treat me like I was a piece of meat. We had a special for the men who wanted a private dance. It was fifty dollars to go into a private room where I would dance for them. Some men thought that this included more than a dance. They would offer extra money for me to go farther, if you know what I mean. Let’s get this straight, I was/am NOT a prostitute. I would tell them this and some men would apologize and move on, but others wouldn’t take no for an answer. I even had to have security escort a few of the men out. When I worked in retail, there were customers that were rude and impatient, but these people took it to the next level.
Another topic I brought up in my interview with Lexi was the topic of income. People may see exotic dancers as lazy or women who don’t want to go out and get a job that requires actual physical labor. In Lexi’s case, this was the opposite. For years, Lexi worked two jobs, one as a barista at a coffee shop and the other in retail. She would bring home about $500 a week, but that wasn’t cutting it.
Me: How was the income from your other jobs compared to stripping?
Lexi: Well, because I worked two jobs I had to work part time at each. Between them both I only brought home about $500 a week, and with rent being $1000 a month plus other bills, the $500 a week wasn’t cutting it. On one of my days off, I decided to look into dancing because I like to dance and I am confident in my body. I thought about how people literally throw money at you just for dancing and I liked the idea.
Me: So how much more did you make a week by dancing? Do you think it was worth leaving your other jobs?
Lexi: One of the cons of dancing was the fact that you don’t know exactly how much you’re gonna make each night. Some nights are extremely busy but others are dead. There would be some nights where I would go home with nothing, and I mean NOTHING. If I made only $20, it would have to go to the DJ because the dancers also have to pay a “house fee,” which means we had to put some of our money towards the music and other forms of entertainment. That is the one con that drove me crazy. I could deal with the rude men, but the fact that I could go home with nothing some nights and hundreds of dollars other nights drove me crazy because I enjoy knowing how much I am guaranteed to make each week.
I completely understand where Lexi is coming from when she says she enjoys knowing how much she is gonna make in the coming week. My job, I work a certain number of hours a week and get paid a specific amount of money per hour. Because of this, I know how much I am going to make in a week so I can plan how I am going to pay my bills at the end of the month. Lexi shared with us how she feels that not having a steady income is what caused her to leave exotic dancing. Lexi currently works as a nanny and makes a specific amount of money as week. Due to the fact that she knows how much she is going to take in, she can now pay her bills and live comfortably. From interviewing Lexi, I learned that stripping doesn’t sound as negative as it is portrayed to be. Yes, there are rude people you have to deal with, but there are rude people everywhere. Working off the books and not having a steady income can be a problem when it comes to keeping up with bills though, and exotic dancing doesn’t help with that problem. I asked Lexi if she would ever consider going back to dancing. She said that she likes where she is right now, but wouldn’t automatically shut out the idea. In Lexi’s words, “I’ll go where the future takes me. If that is back to taking my clothes off on stage, then so be it. If it is the reason why I am surviving then I’ll deal with it.”
Recent Dunkin’ Donuts Robberies Spark Concern for 24-Hour Establishments
A recent rise in Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins robberies in Nassau County has caused understandable concern for owners of local businesses that are open for business twenty-four hours a day. In the past few weeks there have been a number of robberies at coffee and ice cream shops such as the Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins establishment in Seaford and a Carvel in Farmingdale. These incidents which took place at night time and involved a large man wielding a machete, have caused concern for Nassau County business owners, specifically ones who offer their services at all hours of the day. These business owners need to bring in a certain amount of profit every month to be able to pay their employees and keep up with bills.
One local pizzeria owner, Thomas Miller, says that he always worries about the safety of his workers, which is why he has security cameras set up in his restaurant and a panic button behind the register just in case a robbery takes place. “I felt that these were necessities in a store that stays open till all hours of the night. We need to make profit, but we need to consider the safety of our employees first, especially with the recent robberies in the area.”
“I myself never have been willing to work night shifts, especially ones where you have contact with the public,” said local resident Mary Smith, “I guess every business has their own way of making money though, and some have to stay open at all hours. And I guess there is always someone willing to take on those hours. They are brave souls!”
According to a Dunkin’ Donuts representative, due to the increase in the robberies at their stores, they are thinking about also setting up panic buttons under the registers that will be able top notify the local police department in case of an emergency such as the recent robberies. They said that these buttons will most likely be installed in all 24-hour stores within the next two months but for the meantime, these stores will stay open. If you have any information about the machete wielding robber, please contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.
Significant Drop in Heroin-related Deaths on the Island
A recent survey taken from both Nassau and Suffolk counties has shown a significant decrease in the amount of fatal heroin overdoses on the island. For the past few years, heroin has been a huge problem in almost every community on the island and has affected many families. But when the 2016 year came to a close, it was shown that the number of heroin related deaths has dropped to almost half the amount than from the year 2015. This information that was obtained does not explain how or why there was a significant decrease in death, whether it be because of the use of Narcan on users who overdosed, or just because addicts decided to get their lives back on track. Another possibility could be from the recent crackdown on heroin sales on the island. This past year, officers from both Nassau and Suffolk counties have made numerous arrests on dealers that are selling to addicts on the island. The drop in the amount of active drug dealers on the island could also be an explanation as to why the deaths of heroin users has also dropped. Either way, whether it be because of incarceration or addicts deciding to turn their lives around, all communities who are experiencing this problem are relieved to see the number of overdose deaths drop.