2004-10-22 / Front Page

Cops Spot Wanted Man, Stolen Gun

By Brian Magoolaghan

Four men were arrested last Thursday night after police, who recognized one as a wanted man, approached them on Beach 117 Street and noticed a handgun in the car they had just exited.

Police said they saw Joseph Ruvolo, 24, driving a 1995 Nissan with Carlos Valdez, 22, James P. Romanski, 24 and Ruben Ortiz, 21 – the man with the open warrant – in the car, according to court records. Ruvolo, of 323 Beach 88 Street, stopped the car on the corner of Beach 117 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard and police watched all of the men get out.

Ruvolo ran into a home on Beach 117 Street looking to either steal or reclaim, by force if necessary, an X-Box videogame console from someone inside, a police source said. The plan was foiled, however, when the officers approached Ortiz, of 163 Beach 122 Street, Valdez, of 145 B. 117 Street and Romanski, of 114-17 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, who all remained near the car. Police noticed a 9mm handgun on the front passenger seat of the vehicle.

A further investigation revealed that the weapon, a Luger with seven rounds in the cartridge, was reported stolen in Georgia back in April. All four men were placed under arrest. Ruvolo admitted that the gun was his – for protection, according to police. The others said they were aware that the potentially deadly weapon was in the car.

The men were taken to the 100 Precinct stationhouse where they were held in a cell for several hours. After removing the men from the cell to transport them to the mainland for their arraignment, police said they discovered a small quantity of cocaine in an envelope during a routine cell inspection, according to court records.

The men were all charged with two felony counts of criminal weapons possession, criminal possession of stolen property and criminal possession of a controlled substance. They were arraigned in front of Queens Criminal Court Judge Lenore Gerald, who set bail for Ruvolo and Romanski at $7,500 and $5,000 for Valdez and Ortiz. They are all due back in court on November 1.

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