Suspect in Mosque Stabbing Arrested Again for Emails Threatening to Kill and Castrate Director of Muslim Group

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Image via.
Nihad Awad, CAIR's national executive director, was sent threatening emails. The FBI says Bernhard Laufer is responsible.
A Queens man awaiting trial for allegedly stabbing a Muslim man in 2012 has been arrested again. Bernhard Laufer, 56, was arrested on Saturday after an investigation by the FBI's Civil Rights Squad revealed that he sent a series of emails threatening the director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil liberties organization based in Washington D.C.

Laufer is awaiting trial for allegedly lying in wait outside a Flushing mosque at 5 a.m. on November 18, 2012, then stabbing 57-year-old Bashir Ahmad six times when Ahmad arrived to unlock the mosque for morning prayers. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a press release at the time that Laufer had yelled "I'll kill you Muslim [expletive redacted]" at Ahmad as the attack continued. Ahmad told the Daily News that Laufer stabbed him six times in the back, cut his head and thumb, and bit the tip of his nose.

Laufer wasn't identified in the attack until June of 2013. In the meantime, he appears to have been busy: in a federal complaint, the FBI says that Laufer began sending threats to CAIR about ten months after the attack, in October of 2013.

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NYC Will Finally Finish Installing Public Housing Security Cameras, Two Years and Two Horrific Stabbings Later

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Image via NYC.gov
Mayor de Blasio announcing the new cameras at a press conference Wednesday.
It's only taken two years and the brutal stabbings of two children for New York to get serious about installing security cameras in its public housing facilities. At a press conference today, Mayor Bill de Blasio and a number of other city officials announced that they'll install cameras at dozens of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments by the end of 2014. That includes the Boulevard Houses in East New York, where Mikayla Capers, 7, and Prince Joshua Avitto, 6, were stabbed in an elevator on the evening of Sunday, June 1. Avitto died of his injuries. Capers was in critical condition for ten days; de Blasio said at this afternoon's press conference that she'll be released from the hospital today. A 27-year-old man, Daniel St. Hubert, has been charged in the attack.

The city has earmarked $27 million for the project, including $500,000 to install 17 cameras at nine Boulevard buildings. The rest of the money will go towards installing cameras at 48 other NYCHA housing developments citywide. That includes 18 facilities where NYCHA said security camera installation had been completed nearly two years ago, in July of 2012.

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Increase in Shootings in the Bronx, Brooklyn North, and Queens South This Year

Categories: Crime, NYPD

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bk1bennett via Compfight cc
Summer is here. Memorial Day has passed and on June's first weekend, thirteen people were shot over a nine hour stretch spanning Saturday night and Sunday morning. The number of shootings traditionally rises with the heat. More folks outside for more hours. More rubbing shoulders and more getting on nerves.

This is never good news, but it is especially worrisome for those who live in areas where the number of shootings has already risen.

In the Queens South Patrol Borough, there were 50 shooting victims through May 25th, seven more than the same time last year, according to NYPD statistics. In the Bronx, there were 131 shooting victims over that stretch, up from 103 last year. And in the Brooklyn North Patrol Bureau, there were 124 victims, up from 103.

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The "Gatsby Bandit" Is Suspected of Three Queens Bank Robberies in Nine Days

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FBI
The FBI calls him the "Gatsby Bandit" because of the hat. The middle-aged man suspected of three recent Queens bank robberies wore a tan driving cap during a May 16 heist at Astoria Federal Savings Bank on Broadway. He also wore a similar hat, only in blue, in separate robberies on May 12 at Investors Bank on Broadway and May 7 at Santander Bank on Roosevelt Avenue.

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Disguises, Bomb Threats, and Gasoline: Recent Check Cashing Robbery Attempts in NYC

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U.S. Attorneys Office-Eastern District of New York
The scene of the 2012 Valentine's Day Heist.
Robbing a check cashing outlet is much less straightforward than robbing a bank. For a bank heist, a note demanding money is all a thief needs; the tellers are trained to hand it over. Banks have other tools - like exploding dye-packs and GPS trackers hidden in cash bundles - to foil the bank robbers on the back end.

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Woman Who Killed Her Alleged Rapist Must Be Granted New Parole Hearing, Judge Rules

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Image via HudsonLink
Taconic Correctional Facility, where Pulinario is now serving her time.
Seventeen years after a woman murdered her alleged rapist, a State Supreme Court judge has issued a rare decision, ordering a parole board that declined to set her free to reconsider. The current case stems from a September night in 1995, when 21-year-old Imagio Santana was found shot to death on a street corner in Brentwood, Long Island. Santana carried no ID; he was identified by his fingerprints and by the tattoo of the word "Dominican" he had on his right arm.

The police discovered heroin on Santana's body, and learned he'd been arrested the previous month for drug possession. Lieutenant John Gierasch, who headed the Suffolk County Homicide Squad, said that the killing "had the markings of a drug hit," according to a New York Daily News account from the time.

But on October 18, a month after the murder, police arrested a 21-year-old woman with no criminal record, Keila Pulinario. She told police that she had shot Santana, with whom she had an on-and-off relationship for the past five years. The reason, she said, was that several days earlier, Santana had raped her in his car. When she confronted him about it, he laughed and threatened to rape her again.

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Journalist Randy Gener Beaten and Left With Brain Trauma In Possible Hate Crime [UPDATED]

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Photo by Kelly Stuart; image via Facebook.
Friends of Randy Gener gather at a candlelight vigil on Sunday night in Hell's Kitchen.
A local journalist has suffered brain injuries and remains in intensive care after being viciously attacked near his home earlier this month. Just before 4 a.m. on Friday, January 17, theater critic and journalist Randy Gener was on his way to his apartment from the opening night of a play, walking on Seventh Avenue between 54th and 55th streets. Just steps from his home, Gener was attacked and beaten. He was found a short while later, bloody and unconscious.

Gener has previously written about theater for the Village Voice, as well as the New York Daily News, the New York Times, NPR, New York, and a couple dozen other big-name media outlets. He's also gay and Filipino; the NYPD has announced they are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime. A friend told CBS that the attackers didn't steal his wallet. The NYPD told Pix11 that a witness may have seen a Hispanic man punch Gener in the head and flee in a silver four-door car.

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Which Neighborhoods Had the Biggest Increase in Murders in 2013?

Categories: Crime, NYPD

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Wikimedia Commons
Departing NYC police commissioner Ray Kelly.
Another year, another drop in the city-wide murder rate. Down 20 percent, from 419 in 2012 to 329 through Sunday. But like so many of New York City's improvements in recent decades, the year's crime drop did not sweep through each neighborhood equally.

Some precincts oversaw a significant reduction in murder rate. In the 81st, which patrols the eastern half of Bed-Stuy, there have been six murders this year, compared to 16 in 2012. In the 113th of southeast Jamaica murders dropped from 16 to seven. The rate in East Harlem's 25th sank from 10 to 3. And half of the Bronx's 12 precincts boasted notable decreases--eight to two in the 41st (Hunt's Point), 18 to nine in the 43rd (Soundview), 16 to nine in the 47th (Williamsbridge), nine to three in the 48th (Tremont), seven to two in the 49th (Morris Park), and six to two in the 50th (the borough's northwest corner).

Many neighborhoods, however, didn't fare as well. Of the city's 77 precincts, 23 have had more murders in 2013 than in 2012.

Here's that list, complete with any other notable crime stats (2013 numbers through December 22). For historical context, we've included each precinct's 2001 murder rate. All data are from the NYPD's Compstat reports.

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Have You Seen This Douche? Pennsylvania Police Need Your Help

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Image courtesy of the Solebury Township Police Department
"Joe," the suspect in a drugging and robbery in Solebury, Pennsylvania.
There's a perp on the loose in New York, and he apparently specializes in driving incredibly long distances to rob people. Also, he sounds like a real douche.

We got an email yesterday from Detective-Corporal Roy G. Ferrari, who works at the Solebury Township Police Department. Solebury is in Pennsylvania, about 70 miles from New York City, a town of a little less than 9,000 residents. But the main action in our story takes place in New Hope, an even smaller town about two miles down the road. It was there that a man who called himself "Joe" met his victim at what the Solebury police have chosen to describe as "a known gay bar." That would be The Raven, which is also a bed and breakfast and restaurant, hosts a weekly drag night, and has a pool. (Note to self: Stay at the Raven immediately.)

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Charges Reduced Against Reverend Billy and Choir Director For Toad Hat-Wearing Chase Bank Protest

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Photo by Kim Fraczek; image via Facebook.
Reverend Billy (white coat, Elvis hair) and Luckett (blue shirt) at a press conference with liberty-loving puppets after this morning's hearing.
In September, longtime New York activist Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, led by choir director Nehemiah Luckett, went into a Chase Bank in midtown and made a little music. The two led a choir of eight in a musical protest against mountaintop removal, a controversial form of coal-mining that Chase helps finance. The choir sang a song, then Reverend Billy preached a sermon on Chase's fondness for fossil fuel investments. The whole thing lasted about 15 minutes, according to the choir, who had donned fetching yellow toad hats during the performance.

For their trouble, as we told you at the time, Luckett and Reverend Billy (real name William Talen) were charged with rioting in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, unlawful assembly, and two counts of disorderly conduct. The rioting and the menacing both carried a possible punishment of one year in prison. But in a hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court Monday morning, those charges were greatly reduced. According to the Manhattan District Attorney's office, the prosecution reviewed the footage and decided that the whole thing looked more like a musical protest than a riot.

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