Two cops recognized for arrests of robbers

Officer Brendan Bellew (pictured at left) was presented with a Cop of the Month award by Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman and 13th Precinct Community Council President Frank Scala. Officer Nicholas Clemente (not pictured) was also given an award for his service. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A pair of cops were recognized for their work in catching multiple robbers over the last month at the 13th Precinct’s community council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, the precinct’s commanding officer, praised Police Officer Brendan Bellew for spotting a man on April 11 in front of 8 Gramercy Park South and recognizing him from a wanted poster about a robbery inside a Duane Reade at 333 Seventh Avenue earlier this month.

“This guy has 35 arrests and has been on the job for six months,” Hellman said. “This was an incident of shoplifting gone wrong in a Duane Reade and there was an image captured with surveillance. Brendan recognized him from the photo and arrested him. He’s a great example for the kids.”

Police said that the suspect, 26-year-old Jamil Jones and 26-year-old Salahudin James, who was arrested with Jones last week, went into the Duane Reade on April 3 with another suspect, 26-year-old Anthony Wright, and stole about $210-worth of Advil, Aleve, Advil PM, Bayer and Natrol, putting the medicine in a duffle bag before attempting to leave without paying.

Wright, who was also arrested at the precinct on April 11, was reportedly stopped by a security officer inside the store because he was holding the duffle bag full of medicine and allegedly resisted when the officer attempted to grab it from him. Jones allegedly walked up to the officer and placed him in a chokehold while saying, “You lucky we ain’t going to kill you. Get out of here.”

According to the district attorney’s office, James and Jones both identified themselves in the video surveillance from Duane Reade and pleaded guilty to criminal possession of stolen property. They were sentenced to 15 days in jail. Attorney information for Wright was not available.

Bellew was patrolling near Gramercy Park on April 11 around 1:40 p.m. when he spotted James and Jones, who was smoking an alleged marijuana cigar, and arrested both men, later charging them in connection with the incident at Duane Reade.

Executive Officer Ralph Clemente also recognized police officer Nicholas Clemente for his work in catching two men involved in a robbery near Waterside in February.

Town & Village reported on the incident at the time in which two suspects, a 16-year-old boy and 23-year-old Thomas Blyden, allegedly robbed two different women in the early morning hours of February 10, reportedly threatening one of the women with a hammer. Bellew assisted in this arrest as well, recovering the alleged hammer from Blyden at the scene.

“(Officer Clemente) had a quick response and a keen eye,” Executive Officer Clemente said of the arrest. “These two also had warrants for robberies in the 17th Precinct and the two robberies here so it was a good collar.”

Both cops were given plaques honoring them as Cop of the Month.

Hellman also invited Department of Homeless Services commanding officer Helmut Darbouze and offered him an award in recognition of the work he does for the community. Darbouze also addressed the community residents in attendance to say his department does take it seriously when shelter residents get arrested for crimes in the community.

“There’s a misconception that we house criminals,” he said. “Each week there are multiple arrests but after each arrest, the individual is assessed and is no longer allowed to stay at the facility.”

Hellman said that tips from Darbouze have been instrumental in helping the precinct make connections with open cases by sending surveillance video of individuals matching the description of various robberies and other incidents.

“We have a good relationship,” Hellman said. “I felt obligated to bring him in to answer any questions the community might have because I know the shelter is a concern for a lot of people.”

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