Call them firework fiends.
While many were enjoying firework shows in Coney Island and other Brooklyn spots on Wednesday, July 4, dozens of local residents were busted for setting off illegal fireworks. One report included a suspect nearly injuring someone inside their home.
The 62nd precinct, which covers Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Gravesend, reported that during the holiday, it made 32 arrests of adults who were setting off fireworks.
Commanding Officer of the 62nd Precinct Captain Anthony Longobardi told this paper about some of the several arrests that occurred.
One was 33-year-old Frank Canterino, who was charged with reckless endangerment.
“One of the cases that was extremely dangerous is we arrested a guy on Bay 11th Street and Independence to Cropsey Avenues that threw an M-80 into the street. He didn’t place it down and light it. He threw it onto the street. It’s very dangerous.”
Once apprehended and brought to the precinct, Canterino allegedly threatened to break Longobardi’s skull. He was arrested and charged with harassment.
“The other [suspect] was wanted for several other crimes and was caught lighting them up on Quentin Road and West Second Street. He barricaded himself into an apartment [that wasn’t his] and we got him,” he added.
According to the captain, the man was lighting up firecrackers called Lady Fingers and Shogun Flashlight Firecrackers.
An unknown perp also nearly injured someone in their home on 16th Avenue between Bath and Benson Avenues by shooting firecrackers inside.
“The fireworks that were going on there were horrific,” he said. “There was a large fireworks display in the middle of the block. We responded. We didn’t know who was lighting them off so we put cops there so they couldn’t light anything further. Somebody wound up going down the block and lighting off fireworks and went to the window across the street where there was a newborn baby sleeping. Thank God no one was injured and the house didn’t go on fire.”
“Somebody shot a firework into someone’s home but by the time they got there, the suspect was gone,” added a police source. “We don’t know exactly who did it but we took down a report for it.”
Leading up to July 4th, the precinct warned that officers would be out in large numbers with a zero tolerance fireworks policy and asked residents to call 911 if they saw anyone setting them off.
“Historically in this precinct, there are two major problematic areas with fireworks,” he said. “Bay 11th Street and Independence to Cropsey, and Quentin Road West Second to West Third Street. We had put a plan in place to combat that and made several arrests.”
Between 311 and 911 they received over 700 firework related calls in the area.
Father Michael Gelfant of St. Finbar, 138 Bay 20th Street, rode with Longobardi throughout the evening and saw some of the incidents.
“In nine years of being in Bath Beach and Bensonhurst, I have never seen some of the rudest, nastiest and vile individuals,” he wrote on Facebook. “Some go to St. Finbar, many do not. M-80s were thrown at officers, fights with officers and lots of illegal activity.”
He also added, “And for the cowards lighting fireworks: you petrified the elderly, you disrespected many Iraq/Afghan Vets living with PTSD in our community, you damaged a window in a baby’s room and you ran from the police like little kids.”
All in all, Longobardi was happy with the job his precinct did throughout the holiday.
“They did an incredible job,” he said. “While everyone else was out with their families at barbecues, the 62 all spent the whole night working and I’m happy to report there were no injuries this year and that was a direct result as to their enforcement. I had spoken to several veterans that suffer from PTSD that all told me that on Fourth of July is a stressful. A lot of them can’t enjoy the day because the day that are around that.”