Crimes Nearby: Retired Southampton Village Cop Arrested

Southampton Town police say the former officer punched someone he didn't know at Bobby Van's in Bridgehampton last week.

Here is a roundup of crimes police reported nearby this past week.


• Southampton Town police are investigating an alleged hate crime in Riverside during which a woman was allegedly attacked with verbal slurs over her sexual orientation, pushed, and hit.

According to Southampton Town police, a complaintant reported that on Jan. 24 at 12:07 a.m. she was at the Valero gas station at the Riverside traffic circle when she was allegedly attacked by several male subjects after she asked one for a cigarette.

Police said the men grabbed the victim by the face and shoved her backwards into a parked car, causing pain to her back and neck. The men, police said, attempted to hit the woman and uttered obscenities against the victim's sexual orientation and appearance during the altercation.

• Sticky-fingered shrimp lovers were netted by Suffolk County law enforcement officers last week, according to police. According to Suffolk County police, four Calverton residents were arrested and charged with stealing frozen shrimp from supermarkets since December. Police said during a petty larceny investigation, seventh precinct crime section officers discovered a pattern involving the theft of frozen shrimp valued at more than $2,400, which occurred at supermarkets located in the fifth and seventh precincts.

Officers identified and pulled over the suspect’s vehicle with proceeds inside and arrested four people in the car on Jan. 30, police said. Seventh precinct crime section officers, with the assistance of fifth precinct crime section officers, charged Joseph Elardo, 34, Sharmane Cromer, 34, James Donnellan, 33, and Nicole Johnson, 22, all of the same address on Southfield Road in Calverton, with 22 counts of petty larceny, two counts of attempted larceny, two counts of possession of a hypodermic needle and one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

• A man charged with suffocating a homeless woman at the Budget Host Inn in Riverside in 2011 was sentenced to six years in jail on Monday.

According to a Newday report, Douglas Rico, 46, was sentenced to six years in jail after suffocating Henrietta Scholl, 53, during sex.

In October, Patch reported that Rico pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. Rico was sentenced before Judge John Toomey Jr. in Suffolk County Criminal Court.


• A Manhattan lawyer was sentenced to three and a third to ten years in prison on Jan. 28 after pleading guilty in December to driving drunk and fleeing the scene of a crime last summer.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, Tabber Benedict, the founder of Benedict Advisors, was charged with felony charges of first-degree vehicular assault, two counts of second-degree vehicular assault, and leaving the scene of an accident with a serious injury.

• Maurice Henderson, 24, of Shirley, was arrested Feb. 1 at 1:45 p.m. at his home and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance near school grounds, a felony. Police could not say which school was involved. However, according to police, Henderson made several sales and, in a report, noted that he conducted a drug sale on Feb. 21, 2012 around 7:52 p.m., near the intersection of Montauk Highway and Canoe Place Road in Hampton Bays. Police said the arrest resulted from a narcotics investigation conducted by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s East End Drug Task Force.


• Scott Kessler, 50, of Southold, was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, fourth-degree stalking, a misdemeanor, and second-degree harassment, a violation, on Feb. 4 at 2 p.m., police said. Southold Town police reported that the arrest was made after a domestic incident and an investigation revealed that Kessler was found to be in possession of a Glock .45 caliber handgun and a high capacity ammunition magazine, police said. He was processed and held for arraignment at Southold Town Police headquarters in Peconic.


• After twice approaching a group of bar patrons at Bobby Van's and twice being turned away on Thursday night, 51-year-old Darren Gagnon, of Shirley, went up to the group a third time and punched one of the patrons in the face and head, according to Southampton Town police.

Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa said Monday that Gagnon wanted to have words with someone he knew, but the group repeatedly told him to go away. After going to the other end of the bar for a while, Gagnon returned a third time, and, Costa said, that's when he assaulted a member of the group who he did not know before that night.

The arrest report states that police responded to the Bridgehampton bar and restaurant at 5:58 p.m. for a crime-in-progress. At 6:25 p.m., Gagnon, a retired sergeant with the Southampton Village Police Department, was charged with assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor, and taken to Southampton Town police headquarters. Gagnon was released that night, but is due in Southampton Town Justice Court on Feb. 27 to answer the charge. Police said the victim, a Bridgehampton man, was taken to Southampton Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

• A man brandishing a knife approached the counter at Tenet in Southampton Village Monday evening and demanded cash, but two employees fought him off, according to police.

Southampton Village police said the manager of the Main Street boutique called 911 at 6:25 p.m. to report the attempted robbery. Det. Sgt. Herman Lamison said the man dropped his knife in the scuffle with the male manager and a female assistant, and ran away without getting any money.

The manager told police the man — described as black, approximately 45-50 years of age, wearing a green ski jacket, dark ski pants and a black hat — fled on foot northbound. Police are asking anyone with information about this incident to call the Southampton Village Police Department Detectives Division at 631-283-0083.

• Ryan L. Kellis, 25, of Southampton, was arrested Feb. 2 at 5:45 p.m. and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree, both misdemeanors.  

Police said they came up upon Kellis while he was sitting in a 2000 Cadillac Deville in a McDonald’s parking lot and saw him handling individual “tin foil packets.” Kellis was arrested without incident and the packets were found to contain cocaine, according to police. Due to Kellis’ license being suspended 23 times, his vehicle was seized under the Suffolk County Vehicle Seizure Law, police said.

• Shane O. Spence, 24, of East Hampton, was arrested Feb. 3 at 12:10 a.m. and charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, both felonies, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree, and resisting arrest, all misdemeanors.  Police said they stopped Spence while he was driving a 1997 Subaru Legacy eastbound on County Road 39 for a vehicle and traffic violation. Police said they found Spence to be in possession of a felony quantity of cocaine and marijuana. Spence tried to flee on foot, but was apprehended immediately, police said.  He was held for morning arraignment.


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