Security worries continue after East Williston robbery

An East Williston man was robbed at gunpoint by a village resident last Friday, police said, amid residents’ continued concerns about security.

Nassau County police arrested East Williston resident Joseph Bosnack, 17, on Sept. 23 after he allegedly robbed an 85-year-old man on Orchard Drive.

Bosnack approached the man at 9:20 p.m., brandished a black handgun and demanded money, then ran away after the man said he had none, police said.

Officers found Bosnack on Orchard Meadow Drive and arrested him, police said.

Bosnack was arraigned on Saturday on charges of first-degree robbery and second-degree criminal use of a firearm. He is being held on $50,000 bail and is due back in court Oct. 25, according to court records.

His arrest comes as East Williston officials work to bolster security in a village recently shaken by crime, and some residents’ criticisms that they are moving too slowly.

The crime  followed an incident in which a resident’s security camera spotted a hooded person entering cars on Sept. 20, according to Stephan Leccese, a resident and village security advocate.

The village sent an email to residents Friday with instructions from police on how to protect their homes from burglars. Another email came fewer than 12 hours later with a police department news release about Friday night’s robbery.

“As a board we’re trying to be responsive to residents’ requests” to “be more informed and to keep our residents more informed,” said David Tanner, the village mayor.

The village is also seeking a new contractor to install security cameras at Devlin Field, where  police have made some arrests for graffiti and property damage.

Its security committee — composed of former Trustee Caroline DeBenedittis, longtime resident Rita Bottensten and security professional Walter Rivera — plans to hold a public meeting to hear concerns from residents, Tanner said. The informal committee was formed in July to advise trustees on possible security measures.

But for Leccese and some residents, the crime affirmed their feeling “that there’s a need for a much more urgent response,” Leccese said.

While the increased email communication is “a step in the right direction,” the security committee’s lack of a clear mandate hampers its ability to improve security, Leccese said.

Tanner rejected Leccese’s charges, saying the village has responded to residents’ concerns, including the letter Leccese and five others sent to village officials earlier this month.

Residents should continue communicating security concerns and report incidents to the board, Tanner said.

“There’s no mystery to the process,” he said. “These are the processes that the village has always worked under.”

DeBenedittis, head of the security committee, did not respond to requests for comment, but said this month that the committee was working to set a regular meeting schedule. Its members will meet with the Board of Trustees during its agenda meeting, the second public meeting of each month.

By Noah Manskar

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