2012-07-20 / Top Stories

Teens Busted With Phony Gun, Stolen Bike

Social Networks, Email Warn Neighbors
By Howard Schwach

It had all the trappings of a made for television movie.

A phony gun, a chase through west end backyards, a stolen bike, emails from residents to remain behind closed doors, and two arrests.

Except, it was for real.

At about 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, July 14, two teens were spotted looking at a weapon at Beach 131 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Belle Harbor.

Police were called to the scene and caught up with Rockaway resident Darnell Rodriquez, 17, who had a fake handgun in his possession.

The second teen fled, which led to a search of backyards from Beach 131 Street east to Beach 125 Street.

Local residents who saw the action emailed neighbors and used social network sites to warn them to stay behind closed doors.

“Don’t let your kids out, the cops are looking for a man with a gun,” one such message that was emailed and posted on Facebook read.

After an extensive search, 17-yearold Shamir Finch was caught riding a bicycle he had just stolen from the attached garage of a Rockaway Park home.

Finch was later identified by police as the teen who had robbed a person at gunpoint just off the boardwalk at Beach 116 Street at 11 p.m. on July 12.

Finch did not have a weapon when he was apprehended, police say, and they continued a search of the area to see if he had dumped a weapon before being caught.

Rodriquez, who had only a phony gun, was not charged, according to a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Finch was charged with burglary, petit larceny and possession of stolen property.

He was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on July 17.

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