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What’s News, Breaking: Monday, December 12, 2022

December 12, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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FAITH LEADERS MEET WITH ORTHODOX UNION ON RELIGIOUS HATE CRIMES AND SECURITY

CITYWIDE — Another event taking place on Tuesday, December 13 with the Orthodox Union will bring in prominent faith leaders and public officials on a range of issues, including the spike in religious-based hate crimes. Pastor Gilford Monrose, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships, and spiritual leader of Mount Zion Church of God (7th Day) in East Flatbush; and Pastor Rick Sawyer, Special Counsel, Hate Crimes, New York State Office of the Attorney General, Civil Rights Bureau will be among the participants at this “Building Bridges” event that City & State magazine is holding, at which Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to Mayor Eric Adams, will be the keynote Speaker.

Other topics on the agenda are security for houses of worship and support for faith-based schools in New York.

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FIGHTING ANTISEMITISM: MAYOR ADAMS, SEN. SCHUMER
ADDRESS ORTHODOX UNION

CITYWIDE — Federal and local elected officials, including two originally from Brooklyn, participated in an urgent meeting on Monday with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union) to address the rise of antisemitism across New York and the United States. Speakers at the event, hosted at the Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side were U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) and Mayor Eric Adams, as well as Gov. Kathy Hochul, with the goal of speaking directly to Jewish community leaders about how best to combat this threat.

Saying, “The U.S., praise God, is not Nazi Germany,” Sen. Schumer emphasized that Jews and leaders must persist and work together fighting antisemitism “with clarity and conviction” regardless of political disagreements; while Mayor Adams spoke about the importance of punishing those who commit hate crimes, both against Jews and other groups.”

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LEGISLATORS OPPOSE VETO OF BILL INFORMING IMMIGRANTS

CITYWIDE — The governor of New York State, which has gained a reputation for protecting the Constitutional and legal rights of immigrants, has vetoed a widely-supported bill that would have required the courts to “inform” an immigrant defendant that pleading guilty could have a negative impact on their immigration status. State Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-26/Brooklyn Heights/western Brooklyn) and Queens Assemblymember Catalina Cruz in a joint statement denounced Gov. Hochul’s veto of the bill, which would have protected immigrant in cases with low-level offenses from being deported, even when there is no conviction.

The joint statement from Kavanagh and Cruz read, in part, “This legislation, S2903A/A9877A, passed by large majorities in the Senate and Assembly, merely asks the court to “inform” an immigrant defendant that pleading guilty could have a negative impact on their immigration status and ability to stay in the country.”

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UBER SUES TLC OVER MANDATED FARE RATE HIKES

CITYWIDE — The ride-hail company Uber is suing the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), accusing the city of “using unsound economic principles to “ ‘achieve a predetermined result,’” according to TechCrunch, an online news service. Last month, the TLC had approved a fare increase for ride-hail apps and taxi drivers alike, driven by post-pandemic driver shortage, rising operational costs and higher inflation, but Uber is reportedly trying to avoid having to pay its drivers an increase in rate.

Uber’s suit claims it would not be able to recover from the latest fare hike, which contrasts with previous increases, ranging from 1.46 percent to 5.34 percent, and more “accurately reflect[ing] the impact of inflation,” but doesn’t mention how the pandemic has factored in a driver shortage to meet demand.

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BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY CELEBRATES ITS ‘TOP TEN MOMENTS’

GRAND ARMY PLAZA — The Brooklyn Public Library is celebrating the Top Ten Moments of its 125th anniversary year as 2022 draws to a close. Among the top three of these milestones were leading the Fight Against Book Bans with the launch of Books Unbanned, which gave students nationwide access to its digital catalog; the opening of the new 26,000 square feet Brooklyn Heights Library on a footprint of its former home on Cadman Plaza West; and launched a State-of-the-Art Teen Tech Center at the Crown Heights Library

The Brooklyn Public Library also hosted Lenapehoking — the First-Ever Lenape curated exhibition in New York, at the Greenpoint Library, and launched its Vinyl Collection, complete with listening stations and the borrowing availability of musical instruments in addition to record albums.

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JUNIOR’S RESTAURANT HOLDS ITS SECOND GUN BUY-BACK

DOWNTOWN — Brooklyn’s famous emporium known for its “world’s most fabulous cheesecake” and generous deli sandwiches has teamed up with law enforcement agencies to curb gun violence in the city. Alan Rosen, the third-generation owner of Junior’s Restaurant, will host a second gun buyback this Saturday, December 17, hosted at Cornerstone Baptist Church, 574 Madison St. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with co-sponsors being New York Police Department, New York Police Foundation, Oyate Group, and the King’s County District Attorney’s Office, for individuals to exchange handguns, assault rifles, shotguns for bank cards ranging from $500 to $150 — and iPads for the first 50 persons to do trade-ins.

Junior’s gun buyback follows their successful one last May, which netted 69 weapons — ranging from rifles to pistols — being removed from streets.

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CVS, WALGREENS TO PAY NEW YORK STATE IN OPIOID REGULATION AGREEMENT

New York will receive up to $458 million as part of a bipartisan, multistate agreements with CVS and Walgreens for failing to regulate opioid prescriptions, as part of an agreement that State Attorney General Letitia James and a coalition of her counterparts around the United State have negotiated. The settlement, in which CVS will pay $5 billion and Walgreens will pay $5.7 billion, will provide $10.7 billion to communities nationwide and will require significant improvements in how these retail pharmacy companies handle opioid prescriptions.

AG James has now delivered more than $2.5 billion total to fund opioid abatement, treatment, and prevention in New York.

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LPC VOTES DEC. 13 ON PROPOSED MELROSE PARKSIDE HISTORIC DISTRICT

The fate of a set of history-rich homes in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens is in the hands of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, which will vote tomorrow, December 13, on the Proposed Designation of the Melrose Parkside Historic District. The LPC’s public meeting, to be live-streamed on the agency’s YouTube channel (with more information on participating via https://www.nyc.gov/site/lpc/hearings/hearings.page) will vote on the proposed historic district, a remarkably cohesive and intact group of 38 single- and two-family row houses on Parkside Avenue between Flatbush and Bedford.

Two of Brooklyn’s most prominent architects of the early 20th century, Benjamin Driesler and Axel S. Hedman, designed the houses for developers William A. A. Brown and Eli H. Bishop & Son. The Brooklyn Eagle’s August 10, 2022 feature can be found via https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2022/08/10/flatbush-block-with-38-historic-row-houses-may-be-landmarked/

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TRIBUTE TO NOTORIOUS RAPPER UNVEILED IN DUMBO PARK: DUMBO – A “sustainable sonic statue” of hometown hero Christopher Wallace, better known by his stage names the Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie Smalls, has been erected in Clumber Corner park, next to the Brooklyn Bridge. The statue, which shows the rapper’s gold-crowned head and hands reaching out from an imposing monolith, features embedded solar-powered speakers which will broadcast a curated playlist of the rapper’s greatest hits until November 2023 thanks to the funding of the Downtown Brooklyn and DUMBO Art Fund.

Brooklyn-born Wallace, whose records have sold a combined total of 21 million copies in the United States and is widely considered one of the most influential rappers of all time, was murdered in 1997.

This interactive statue of Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace — AKA Biggie Smalls — by artist Sherwin Banfield has been erected in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Brooklyn Eagle photo: Mary Frost.

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POLICE SEEK HELP IN FINDING MISSING GIRL: GRAVESEND – The 60th Precinct is asking the public for help in locating missing teen Daziya Felder, 14, who was last seen in the Marlboro Houses in Gravesend on the night of December 6. The missing girl is described as Black, approximately 5’08” tall, weighing 140 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair.

Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to call the NYPD‘s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1–800–577–TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1–888–57–PISTA (74782), to log onto the Crime Stoppers website or to text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577.

Missing 14-year-old Daziya Felder.

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VEHICLE STOLEN IN HOMECREST DURING DELIVERY: HOMECREST – The 61 st Precinct is seeking information about the brazen theft of a delivery vehicle out from under the nose of its driver on Nov. 21 in Homecrest. The thief waited until the driver had stepped out at 1986 East 19 th St. to deliver packages before sneaking into the unlocked vehicle and fleeing down Avenue S. The vehicle was later recovered, but a cell phone, a wallet and unknown packages were removed.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); or to submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Anyone recognizing the suspect’s distinctive tattoo is encouraged to contact the police with any information they may have.

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JEWISH CHILDREN CHASED WITH TASER IN FLATBUSH: FLATBUSH – A group of Jewish children were chased down a Flatbush sidewalk on the night of December 9 by several people yelling “Run, Jews, run!” and other antisemitic remarks. A video of the incident, one of many in a recent wave of hate crimes that has outraged New York’s Jewish community, shows one attacker firing a taser gun in the direction of the children before running away.

The NYPD and Shmira Public Safety are asking for anyone with information about this incident to report tips by calling the Shmira Emergency Line at 718-871-4444 or by calling 911.

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BARC ANIMAL SHELTER CO-FOUNDER PASSES AWAY: WILLIAMSBURG – Beloved Brooklyn activist Vinny Spinola, co-founder of Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition, passed away last week. Fellow animal lover and Broadway actress Bernadette Peters was saddened to learn of his death, writing on Twitter “a great loss we will miss you,, love you so Vinny,” where other sympathizers offered their condolences and remembrances
as well.

BARC, which has served Brooklyn’s animals since 1987, operates its no-kill shelter in Williamsburg and facilitates adoptions and animal welfare programs borough-wide.

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CITY COUNCIL TO HOLD HEARING ON SUBWAY SAFETY: CIVIC CENTER – The City Council’s Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and
Public Safety Committee will conduct a joint oversight hearing
on public safety in the subways and transit system on Monday, December 12. The public is welcome to attend the hearing, which will be held at City Hall in Manhattan at 11 AM.

As subway crime is on the rise in 2022, Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul announced in October that an additional 1,200 overtime shifts would be approved for police officers patrolling the city’s metro system.

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BROOKLYN HOSPITALS HELD FOR RANSOM BY HACKERS: CROWN HEIGHTS – Interfaith Medical Center, Brookdale Hospital Medical Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center are being held hostage by hackers demanding $5 million in ransom, according to former Councilmember Sal Albanese, who reports that things are “a mess” as staff members are locked out of computer systems. South Brooklyn Senator Diane Savino weighed in on the situation, calling for investments in cyber hygiene and cautioning against giving in to these demands.

Brooklyn Hospital suffered a similar attack in 2019, which resulted in the hospital losing patient records.

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BROWNSVILLE MAN CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER AFTER FIGHT: BROWNSVILLE – Brownsville resident Danny Quiles, 52, has been charged with manslaughter following the death of Arthur Fleschner, 60, on December 8. The two men reportedly got into a dispute on December 4, which escalated to blows that left Fleschner on the ground with head trauma.

The suspect fled the scene before being located and arrested on December 9. The investigation is ongoing.

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NEW LAW EXPANDS WORKPLACE BREASTFEEDING ACCOMMODATIONS: Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday signed legislation to expand accommodations for breastfeeding in the workplace. The bill (S.4844-B/A.1236-A) requires all employers in New York to ensure that pumping spaces are convenient and private, and to include seating, access to running water and electricity, and a working space.

The new law will also require employers to develop and implement a written policy regarding employee rights when breastfeeding in the workplace, and ensure that all employees across the state will receive the same basic accommodations that public employees currently receive.

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CITY COUNCIL HOLDS HEARING ON TRANSIT SYSTEM SAFETY: Subway safety is the top concern at a hearing that New York City Council will hold on Monday, December 12. The Council’s Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee will conduct a joint oversight hearing on public safety in the subways and transit system, with Richard Davey, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, President for New York City Transit and Michael Kemper, Acting Chief of Transit, NYPD, testifying before the Council regarding public safety on subways, including recent policy and infrastructure efforts.

During the first week of December, at least five incidents, including an assault with acid liquids have been reported happening within the subway system; and a body with torso stab wounds was found inside the West 4th Street hub station on Thursday, December 8.

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NEW SUBWAY RIDERSHIP RECORD SET: Metropolitan Transportation Authority set a pandemic-era subway ridership record yesterday, Thursday, December 8, with 3,925,280 riders, topping the previous record set on Thursday, October 27, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Friday.  The OMNY contactless fare payment system also set a record for subway taps, setting single-day records for taps on consecutive days with 1,514,837 taps on Wednesday, December 7, and 1,561,846 taps on Thursday December 8.

The last time the subways carried more than 3.9 million riders was March 12, 2020, the week just before the COVID pandemic lockdowns took effect.

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DIOCESE’S MEXICAN APOSTOLATE CELEBRATES OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE WITH TORCH WALK: PROSPECT HEIGHTS —The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn’s annual Our Lady of Guadalupe feast, which is celebrated each year on December 12, takes place today, Monday, starting at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, 856 Pacific Street in Prospect Heights, with the event organized by Father Baltazar Sanchez Alonzo, director of the diocese’s Mexican Apostolate. Whereas past observances have combined the Brooklyn and Queens delegations, this year two Masses will be offered: 1:30 p.m. for the parishioners of Brooklyn churches and that morning at 9:30 a.m. members of Queens parishes, with Bishop Robert Brennan celebrating the liturgies in Spanish, and lighting the torches that will be carried in the traditional torch walk to 44 Catholic Churches throughout Brooklyn and Queens.

An estimated 175,000 Mexicans live in Brooklyn and Queens.

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BROOKLYN GROUP AWARDED FUNDING TO CREATE CLEAN ENERGY HUB: The Association for Energy Affordability, Inc., with a presence in Brooklyn and the Bronx is being awarded  $8,926,027 to establish one of 12 Regional Clean Energy Hubs that will work to include underserved or otherwise disadvantaged communities, in New York’s clean energy transition. Governor Kathy Hochul, who on Friday announced a total of $52 million to be awarded around the state, said the hubs are to serve as centers of outreach, awareness, and education in regions across New York State and help foster residents’ participation,

Each Hub will be composed of a network of organizations in each of the state’s economic development regions to be responsible for establishing and fostering partnerships, over the next four years, in part to offer new ways to coordinate and promote clean energy outreach, engagement and education services throughout their communities.

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IN MEMORIAM/BROOKLYN HISTORY: SAL DURANTE, AT AGE 19 CAUGHT ROGER MARIS’ HOMER BALL: Brooklyn son Sal Durante, who at age 19 caught the ball from Roger Maris’ historic 61st home run on October 1, 1961, died on December 1st, at age 81, according to a New York Times obituary by Richard Sandomir that was published on December 6. Although Durante offered the ball back to Maris, the legendary player refused to take it so that Durante could claim prize money that was offered. Mr. Durante and fiancée Rosemarie Calabrese were married at a church in Brooklyn a few weeks after he caught the ball and then flew to Sacramento to collect the $5,000 (nearly $50,000 in today’s dollars).

After catching Maris’ ball, Durante got to meet the legendary Phil Rizzuto, radio announcer and former Yankees shortstop, who reportedly told him, “I’m glad you’re a paesano.”

New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris poses with fan Sal Durante in the locker room at Yankee Stadium, Oct. 1, 1961, after hitting his 61st home run of the season. On the final day of the regular season, Durante caught Maris’ fourth inning home run into the right field seats as Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record.
Photo: AP

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OAG: BROOKLYN HOME HEALTH CARE AGENCY MUST REIMBURSE WORKERS AND MEDICAID: A major Brooklyn-based home health care agency will have to return $2 million to current and former employees and return $1.2 million to the New York State Medicaid program, as part of two agreements with State Attorney General Letitia James. Initiated after whistleblowers filed a joint complaint, the joint investigation by Office of the Attorney General and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York found that White Glove Community Care, Inc. failed to pay its home health aides and personal care aides the required wages and benefits owed to them pursuant to the Wage Parity Act; sought payment from Medicaid and received money for care performed by aides who were underpaid; and falsely certified compliance with the Wage Parity Act.

The agreements also require White Glove to revise company policies and procedures; train personnel on updated policies subject to OAG’s approval; and regularly report staff wages and policy implementations to OAG for a period of three years, or else face further civil penalties.

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BERGEN STREET PROPERTY REZONED FOR APARTMENT COMPLEX: Boerum Hill will get a new apartment complex and grocery store now that City Council voted to approve the rezoning of a formerly-industrial lot, reports the Brooklyn Paper. Four new residential and mix-used buildings, including one dedicated to senior citizens, will be constructed on the lot, between Nevins St. and Third Avenue, which was the former site of a screen-printing company and parking.

The 280 Bergen Street Rezoning is the city’s first to have undergone a racial impact study since a law requiring this process also passed City Council last year.

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MAN WANTED IN CROWN HEIGHTS STRANGULATION ATTEMPT: The NYPD asks the public to identify a man who began strangling a woman on Washington Avenue on Tuesday, December 6. The incident, which was reported as taking place around 11:30 p.m. near Washington Ave. and Montgomery St. in Crown Heights, within the 71st Precinct, happened as the perpetrator followed a 26-year-old woman into her residential building and strangled her from behind, before she struggled with him and began screaming.

The male fled without removing any property or cause any reported injury to the victim.

This male, described as having a dark complexion, being approximately 35 to 45 years of age, 5’8″ tall, 180lbs, with black short hair, was last seen wearing a black hooded sweater, multi-color jacket, black jeans and white and light blue sneakers.
Photo: NYPD/Crimestoppers

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CHARGED IN DAUGHTER’S DEATH, DAY BEFORE HER SECOND BIRTHDAY: DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN —A Brooklyn man has been  charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and other charges after he allegedly hit his 23-month-old daughter in the head, causing her death — the day before her second birthday. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, identifying the defendant as Robert Wright, 33, of Brownsville, said the investigation revealed that Wright hit his daughter in the back of the head with a blunt object, with the impact causing brain injury trauma, bleeding, swelling, and leading to her October 5 death.

The defendant was arraigned before Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo, released on $100,000 bail and was ordered to return to court on January 27, 2023.

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NYPD SEEKS ALLEGED TOOL BURGLAR: MARINE PARK — Police are asking the public to identify an individual in connection with a burglary incident in which tools were taken from a construction site in Marine Park, within the 61st Precinct.  The NYPD received a report that the unidentified male entered through the front door of the Big Dream early learning center on Avenue U around 3:30 a.m., and removed approximately $4,696 in Dewalt and Milwaukee tools before fleeing on foot to parts unknown.

The male suspect pictured here is described as having a light complexion, being approximately 40 to 45 years old, 6’0″ tall and 180 pounds, and was last seen wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, brown boots and a gray skullcap.
Photo: NYPD Crimestoppers

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TRAFFICKING KINGPIN’S CONVICTION AND 120-SENTENCE UPHELD: The Appeals Court-Second Circuit has slammed prison door shut on Nxivm sex trafficking kingpin Keith Raniere. The court on Friday affirmed the earlier trial conviction and 120-year sentence imposed on him for racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy, sex trafficking and attempted sex trafficking, in connection with his decade long leadership of an enterprise consisting of members of purported self-help groups Nxivm and DOS, which Raniere founded.

The Indictment also charged Defendant Clare Bronfman and others with a number of related crimes. The Government alleged that Bronfman served on NXIVM’s executive board, and that Raniere maintained a rotating group of female NXIVM members with whom he had sexual relationships.

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MISSING FROM STARRETT CITY HOME: The NYPD seeks the public’s assistance in finding a vulnerable senior citizen who has been missing from her apartment in Starrett City from approximately Wednesday night, December 7. Nelly Ruchkan, 87, was last seen around at her residence at 77 Vandalia Avenue, that night at 8 p.m., wearing a light blue nightgown.

Reported Missing: This elderly woman is described as, approximately 5’4″ tall, weighing 170 lbs., with a medium build, white, with brown eyes and blonde hair.
Photo credit: NYPD/Crimestoppers

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MISSING BROOKLYN YOUTH LAST SEEN ABOARD J TRAIN: Police are also trying to find a missing youth who was reported as missing from his Cypress Hills residence within the 75th Precinct.  Elton Street resident Victor Vera, a 15-year-old Hispanic youth, was last seen Friday evening, December 9 around 5:45 p.m. aboard a Queens-bound J train at the Jamaica Ave. station, wearing a black sweater, black pants, white sneakers and carrying a dark green backpack.

This teen, reported missing on Friday, is described as being approximately 5’9″ tall, weighing 140 pounds, with a medium complexion, thin build, black hair and brown eyes.
Photo credit: credit NYPD-Crimestoppers

 


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