New Hyde Park residents recalled recent incidents of suspicious individuals approaching homes at the village’s Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night.
Individuals wearing Verizon jackets and flashing apparent company credentials are going door to door and acting suspicious, according to multiple concerned residents and members of the board.
The individuals did not ring the doorbell. Instead they jarred the handle to the front door of Trustee Rainer Burger’s home, he said. They were apparently trying to sell subscriptions to Verizon FiOs, but he informed them he was already a subscriber, they asked if they could enter his home to use the bathroom, which he declined.
“Just a general rule, you don’t let anyone in your home because that’s just another way to scope it out,” Burger said.
The day prior, at the exact same time as the incident occurred that Burger witnessed, his son encountered the same individuals also rattling the door handle before leaving the property. Burger spoke with officers from the third precinct and said that they shared the inclination that they were canvassing the neighborhood.
Mayor Lawrence Montreuil also saw the individuals and, after learning of Burger’s encounter, called the third precinct and was advised to disperse a robocall out of an abundance of caution to alert residents.
“Use common sense,” Montreuil said. “Don’t open the door unless you know who is on the other side.”
“There are a lot of people walking around looking to get into people’s houses,” New Hyde Park Auxilary Police Captain John Concannon said. “Just be real careful.”
Also addressed at the meeting was the state of the village’s street sweeper, which has been in disrepair for some time.
“I don’t mean to be a grump,” Paul Demattina of Seventh Avenue said. “But where the heck is the street sweeper?”
The village’s sweeper has been down for a few months now, Montreuil said. Repairs the sweeper currently requires are upwards of $20,000, Building Department Superintendent Tom Gannon said.
“The fact is we need a new sweeper,” Montreuil said. “Sweepers take a beating, and they don’t have a long life.”
The current sweeper is 13 years old, where most have a lifespan of 5 to 7 years, Gannon said. A new sweeper would cost around $260,000. The board is looking into leasing a sweeper because of the high operating costs and the vehicles proneness to breaking down, Montreuil said.
“We’ve put so much into this sweeper to try and keep it going with repairs in the past, where this last one that came in for the hydraulics, we just hit a point where it’s crazy to put another 20 into it or 20 into a new one,” Gannon said. “It broke down five different times in the last six months.”
The board has also begun composing a list of improvements to Village Hall for refurbishment, to “make it a place that reflects our community pride,” Montreuil said. The village will utilize a $250,000 infrastructure grant from state Senator Elaine Phillips for repairs.
Some of the improvements include a new heating and air conditioning system, because the current is erratic and prone to breakdown, as well as exterior work to the base of the building where paint is chipping and a reinforcement to the portico.
The board will meet again Dec. 4 at 8:00 p.m.