Good guys get a break
by Ed Wendell
Sep 12, 2012 | 2667 views | 0 0 comments | 205 205 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sometimes, the good guys get a win.

Such was the case last week when it was announced that a crook was apprehended. The brazen thief struck around 6 p.m. on Monday, July 23, near 94th Street and 86th Avenue, opening a front gate, calmly walking up the steps and making off with a package that a UPS Driver had dropped off just moments before.

The entire episode had been captured on video, courtesy of a security camera the resident had installed on his porch. The video was given to the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, which promptly uploaded it to YouTube and issued a press release asking for the public’s help in identifying the thief.

What gave us hope that he would be apprehended, besides his face being captured clearly by the camera, was one distinguishing feature: he had only one arm.

That little fact gave the story legs, allowing the press to use “one-armed bandit” headlines, and it went viral, being picked up by a number of news outlets (print, web and television). It was only a matter of time before he would be in a handcuff.

Last week, we found out that he was recognized by someone who saw the video, and was promptly arrested. It is our understanding that he did not have an extensive arrest record, but apart from that we do not have any further details. But the point to take away is that the good guys won and the WRBA is happy to have played a small part in his apprehension.

The WRBA also had a hand in bringing attention to the “house of horrors” on 90th Street, writing about it on the pages of last week’s Leader/Observer just a few days after learning of its condition.

It was soon in the New York Daily News and on WPIX-11, as well as other newspapers and blogs. Within the blink of an eye, a problem that had plagued the residents of that area for months was getting the attention it deserved and we’re happy to report that the sealing of 87-19 90th Street is underway.

This comes in the wake of news that the WRBA also helped the 102nd Precinct after they had apprehended a pair of graffiti vandals on Thursday, August 30, in the vicinity of 78th Street and 90th Road.

For the past few months the residents of Woodhaven have been painting graffiti-tagged mailboxes on almost a weekly basis. However, our efforts include more than just cleaning up after these vandals. We have also been taking pictures and cataloging each tag and making that information easily accessible to the 102nd Precinct.

This hard work is paying off, as the police were able to identify and find prior instances of one of the arrested vandal’s tags. As a result, he received additional charges – the tag he was arrested for and ones we had painted over previously.

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association is an all-volunteer organization that works with the police, with our elected officials, and with the various city agencies – all in an effort to preserve and improve conditions in the community we all call home. We are your friends and neighbors.

The WRBA receives very little in the way of funding and each year it must hold a fundraiser in order to raise enough capital to stay alive another year (which it has been doing since 1972).

If you appreciate the work that the WRBA does on behalf of Woodhaven, you might want to consider attending this year’s fundraiser, which is being held Friday, September 21, at Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant on Woodhaven Boulevard. Call (718) 296-3735 or email us at for details.

Or, at the very least, you should consider becoming a member of the organization and attending one of our meetings to find out more about what we do. Our next meeting is at 1 p.m. this coming Saturday, September 15, at the Woodhaven Volunteer Ambulance Corps, 78-15 Jamaica Avenue. We hope to see you there.

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