Crime Nearby: International Hunt Catches Man

Patch reports on crimes around Long Island.


An international manhunt has led to the arrest of a former Hicksville man wanted in the gruesome 2001 hit-and-run murder of an 80-year-old woman in Westbury.

Sebastian Barba, 34, formerly of Hicksville, has been captured in Panama and returned to the United States for trial. He faces second-degree murder and leaving the scene of an incident and faces up to 25 years to life if convicted, said Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Barba was driving a 1995 Cadillac when he ran down Jean Renison on Feb. 6, 2001, as she crossed Post Avenue at Maple Avenue, Rice said. The force of the collision threw Renison onto the hood of the vehicle, but Barba then applied the brakes, causing the victim to fall to the ground in front of the vehicle.

The gruesome vehicular attack continued: Barba is accused of slowly driving over the victim’s chest with the front tires and her head with the back tires while a witness screamed at him to stop, Rice said. Barba sped away from the scene and then fled to Ecuador, where he has dual citizenship.

A grand jury indicted him shortly thereafter and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Barba was later featured on a May 2005 episode of America’s Most Wanted.


Three generators were stolen from a Bethpage center for children and adults with disabilities the night before Hurricane Sandy hit. Nassau County Police reported that at about 8 p.m. Oct. 28, thieves took three generators from Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities, Inc. in Bethpage.

Great Neck

A Flatbush shopkeeper from Great Neck is the latest victim in a series of suspected serial killings which have left police searching for clues and area residents on edge. Vahidipour Rahmatollah, 78, died Friday after being shot twice to the head and once to the torso at the She She Boutique at 834 Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, according to a New York Post report. Police say the murder was the third in the Brooklyn area since July 6 targeting men of Middle Eastern descent. Shop owner Mohamed Gebeli was killed inside Valentino Fashion in Bay Ridge on July 6, and Isaac Kadare was gunned down at his Amazing 99 Cents Deal shop in Bensonhurst on Aug. 2.  Each store involved in the shootings shared the digit "eight" in their addresses, according to the newspaper. The same .22-cal. handgun was used in each of the shootings, according to police.


A Great Neck man was arrested earlier this month for allegedly breaking into a Little Neck building and stealing various items in mid August, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney said. David Mintz, of Great Neck, was arrested on Nov. 3 in connection to several burglaries at 252-20 Northern Blvd. in August and charged with burglary, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, a spokeswoman for Queens DA Richard Brown said.


Great Neck School District residents are on alert after a female student was subjected to a lewd act as she walked home from school last week, according to Great Neck School District officials. The incident occured at about 2:50 p.m. on Nov. 15, as an unknown man approached the student and stood in the driveway of her home near Brompton Lane and Hicks Lane, according to a statement posted online by the school district.  "He approached her with his hands on his exposed genitals," said Great Neck Superintendent of Schools Thomas Dolan in a Nov. 16 letter to parents and students. "The student appropriately responded by yelling out loud, retreating to the home and immediately notifying her parents." The man is described as white, in his mid-20’s and wearing a red plaid shirt and jeans.


A Riverhead man was charged with leading police on a chase while under the influence of drugs -- with his three-month-old son in the car. Tyshawn O. Riddick, 22, of Riverhead was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs with a baby in the car, a violation of Leandra's Law, and driving with a suspended license.


Charles Gamble, 31, of East Quogue, was arrested in Northampton on two felony drug charges on Nov. 10 at 10:10 p.m. Police reported that Gamble was stopped on Lake Avenue in his vehicle and attempted to flee. After a brief foot pursuit, cops said they captured Gamble, used a Taser to subdue him, and found 35 bags of crack cocaine. Gamble was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance fourth and third degrees, both felonies. Gamble was also charged with resisting arrest,  a misdemeanor.

Wheatley Heights

A sneaker store owner has been charged with filing a false report with police claiming his store was burglarized at the height of Hurricane Sandy. Wilguens Mentor, 28, the owner of Fly Forever Sneakers in Wheatley Heights, told police that burglars broke into his store during the storm, according to Suffolk County police. He said the burglars had made off with more than $60,000 in merchandise, police said. But following an investigation, police said nothing had been stolen. Mentor had actually filed the report in an effort to defraud his insurance company, police said. Mentor was charged with second-degree attempted insurance fraud and third-degree falsely reporting an incident, police said.


On Nov. 1, a fight broke out between two people at the Hess Station. Police said Anthony Iuzzolino, 42, of Merrick, punched a man in the face, knocking him down. James Knaust, 45, of Merrick, came over and began striking him in the face, cops said. Both were arrested and charged with second degree assault.

West Babylon

Two West Babylon residents were arrested Saturday morning after allegedly burglarizing a Wantagh home in October. According to Nassau County detectives, on Oct. 23, a 76-year-old woman noticed that cash and credit cards were missing from her home. Frank Corsetti Jr., 35, and Lorraine Cianciulli, 38, were arrested Saturday in connection with the burglary after using one of the victim’s credit cards, police said. The duo allegedly charged more than $300 to the card. Corsetti Jr. and Cianciulli are charged with forgery in the second degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and identity theft in the second degree.


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