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Israeli Flag Outside Clarkstown Town Hall Stolen, Teen Arrested

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NEW CITY, NY – On Thursday, November 23, 2023 at 12:15pm, officers from the Clarkstown Police Department responded to Clarkstown Town Hall for reports that the Israeli flag had been stolen from the flag pole on which it was flying.

A witness stated to our dispatchers that an unknown male wearing dark clothing was observed ripping the Israeli flag from its flag pole and was running toward Rt. 304. A responding officer quickly located the above described male on Congers Rd., just east of Rt. 304. The male was attempting to remove his sweatshirt and conceal the flag in it when officers stopped to question him. The male was placed under arrest and transported to CPD headquarters where he was processed. The case is being handled by our JAB – Detectives as the arrestee is 15 years of age.

The Clarkstown Police Department is continuing to investigate all aspects of this crime, including but not limited to the possibility of this being a hate crime.

Crime

Ramapo PD Arrest Two Men for Multiple Larcenies within the Village of New Square

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RAMAPO, NY – On February 26, 2024, the Ramapo Police Department received multiple reports of larcenies from vehicles within the Village of New Square. The Ramapo Police Investigations Division conducted an investigation that revealed two individuals had entered unoccupied vehicles in the overnight hours and stole various items including US currency. The investigation also revealed that they had attempted to enter a residence but were unsuccessful. On the evening of February 26, 2024, the suspect and vehicle used in the crimes were located by the Rockland County Sheriff Office Patrol Division. That suspect, a 33 year old male from Allentown Pennsylvania, was placed under arrest. He was arraigned in the Village of Wesley Hills Court and turned over to the custody of the Rockland County Jail on $25,000 bail.

On February 29, 2024, the second suspect, a 26-year-old male from Suffern NY, was located by Ramapo Police detectives and placed under arrest. He was arraigned in the Town of Ramapo Court and turned over to the custody of the Rockland County Jail on $25,000 bail. Both men were charged with one count of Attempted Burglary 2nd Degree, 1 count of Grand Larceny 3 rd Degree, multiple counts of Petit Larceny and multiple counts of Conspiracy 5 th Degree and Conspiracy 6th Degree.

Michael Specht Town of Ramapo Supervisor states, “I want to commend the Ramapo police officers and detectives for their outstanding work in investigating these crimes and swiftly arresting the suspects. The safety of all our residents throughout the Town of Ramapo remains our top priority. Thank you to our partners in law enforcement and the Village of New Square for working with RPD to successfully conclude this investigation.”

The Mayor of New Square Israel Spitzer states, “The Village of New Square would like to thank Supervisor Specht and the Ramapo Police for their dedicated efforts and quick arrest in this case. We are grateful for the collaborative effort that took place between Ramapo patrol officers, Ramapo detectives, the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, New Square Emergency Services, and the Village of New Square Office of Emergency Management as well as our residents who provided video footage. Every inch of our Village is under video surveillance, and we have a zero-tolerance policy on crimes against our residents. We thank G-d for keeping our Village residents safe and for the partnership that we have with local law enforcement.”

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Rockland County Man Convicted for Felony Illegal Commercialization of Ivory

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ROCKLAND COUNTY, NY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York County District Attorney’s (DA) Office today announced the conviction of a Rockland County man for felony illegal commercialization of elephant ivory worth approximately $70,000, concluding a joint investigation that first began in 2020. On Feb. 8, defendant Kenneth Kerner, 59, from the town of Clarkstown pleaded guilty to a class D Felony for the illegal commercialization of ivory over $25,000. The judge’s sentence mandated five years’ probation, 200 hours of community service, an obligation to donate $10,000 to a wildlife Non-Governmental Organization, relinquishing the three ivory pool cues offered during the illicit sale, and reimbursing the DA’s Office for the $15,000 cash. Kerner was also compelled to post a public statement on his social media account to increase awareness and discourage the illegal ivory trade.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “I applaud the hard work, diligence, and dedication of DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement and our partners at the New York County District Attorney’s Office in investigating this case and bringing the defendant to justice. The fight to protect the world’s wild elephant population is ongoing and New York remains on the front lines of that fight as we bust the businesses that fuel the illegal ivory trade and promote, directly or indirectly, the horrific and senseless poaching of these awe-inspiring animals.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said, “Kenneth Kerner illegally sold and offered for sale $70,000 in pool cues manufactured from elephant ivory. In Manhattan, we will continue to hold those accountable who attempt to take part in the illegal ivory trade. I thank our law enforcement partners for their partnership in this case.”

Investigators from the New York County District Attorney’s Office and DEC Division of Law Enforcement Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigators (BECI) began a joint investigation in summer 2020 into the illegal commercialization of billiard cues made of elephant ivory. The high-end items, with asking prices as high as $45,000, were offered for sale on social media sites. Undercover Investigators contacted the seller and arranged an in-person buy in September 2020. The seller offered three ivory cues for sale, one of them for $15,000. Once the BECI Investigator cleared the sale, Officers with the District Attorney’s Office arrested the seller.

DEC Division of Law Enforcement Director Karen Przyklek said, “A precise and coordinated effort by two elite law enforcement divisions resulted in the shutdown of another lucrative illegal ivory operation. I hope this serves as a message to other sellers of illegal ivory in New York City and beyond that my Officers will investigate these cases thoroughly and ensure lawbreakers are held accountable.”

John F. Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said, “We congratulate the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York County District Attorney’s Office for their continued efforts to enforce laws around the sale of elephant ivory. This effort in New York State is vital to efforts to protect elephants in Africa and Asia. We were proud to partner with DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos on our ’96 Elephants’ campaign to strengthen the law banning the sale of elephant ivory in New York State. At WCS, our teams in the elephant range countries have seen the positive effects of governments across the world taking stands to end the sale of elephant ivory.”

Wild elephant populations worldwide number fewer than 500,000 and are listed as endangered species. New York’s Environmental Conservation Law makes the sale of ivory without a permit illegal.

In 2014, New York State strengthened its laws on interstate ivory sales, increasing penalties against buyers and sellers whose actions further endanger elephant populations worldwide. Since the law took effect, DEC has focused on the illegal ivory trade and charged several corporations and individuals, including those brought down during “Operation White Gold,” an undercover operation launched by DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement from 2015 to 2018 in New York City focused on high-end antique dealers and wholesale distributors throughout the five boroughs. The ivory seized during the undercover operation weighed two tons and had a combined market value of more than $12 million. DEC destroyed most of the seized ivory in a massive crush in New York City’s Central Park in 2017.

In May, 2023, just prior to Endangered Species Day, DEC partnered with the New York State Museum to announce a new display featuring some of the remaining ivory as a reminder of the rampant and continued slaughter of the African elephant, rhinoceros, and other majestic endangered species that fuel the transnational illegal trade in wildlife. The display remains at the New York State Museum for visitors to observe. More information is on DEC’s website and at the New York State Museum website.

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