Mercy First closes residential program, Legislator Lafazan to hold community safety meeting
The Nassau County Police Department Second Squad reported the details of the arrest of five juveniles for multiple burglaries that occurred on June 7 in Syosset.
According to detectives, Second Precinct officers responded to several glass breaks at commercial buildings, including Cardinali Bakery, Y Cleaners, Arata Sushi, Village Pharmacy, Syosset Wine Cellar, Bagel Master, J’s Market, Kam Garden, Aboffs Paint, Orange Theory, Danny’s Chinese Kitchen and La Bottega.
A subsequent investigation led detectives to the First Mercy Facility located at 525 Convent Road, Syosset, and placed five juveniles into police custody without incident. No injuries were reported.
Arrested was one 16-year-old male and one 16-year-old female, both are charged with eight counts of burglary in the third degree and four counts of felony criminal mischief. They were arraigned on June 8 at First District Court Youth Part. A 15-year-old female and two 14-year-old males are each charged with eight counts of burglary in the third degree and four counts of felony criminal mischief. They were released on a Family Court Appearance Ticket returnable to Family Court on June 21 in Westbury.
The 16-year-old male was previously arrested on May 31 and June 3 and charged with two additional counts of burglary.
Mercy First released the following statement:
“We are extremely saddened that on June 7, local businesses were vandalized and stolen from, resulting in the arrest of children from our Residential Foster Care program. We do not tolerate this behavior and are devastated that our local businesses have been harmed in this manner, and we are cooperating fully with the local authorities in their investigation. In response to the incident on June 7 and to address the Syosset community’s concerns, MercyFirst, in collaboration with our Board of Trustees, is taking the following immediate actions: The children who were arrested were removed from our Syosset campus. MercyFirst accepts financial responsibility for property damages incurred by local businesses and all businesses impacted were contacted by the CEO. The Residential Foster Care program on our Syosset campus will close. This is a voluntary action taken by the agency and in coordination with state and local government, and is expected to be completed in the near future. The Residential Foster Care program is one of three programs operated on our campus and has been the source of all issues in the local community related to MercyFirst. (Children from our other two Syosset campus programs – our START with Hope program for unaccompanied refugee children and the Raise The Age program – have not been involved in other incidents in the Syosset community and played no part in the events on June 7.)”
Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan announced he would hold a community safety meeting with the Nassau County Police Commissioner Office and the Second Precinct Police Department on the evening of June 27 at Syosset High School.
“We must continue to be compassionate to these children in difficult circumstances, and the educators and staff who work at Mercy First, but we have a fundamental responsibility to ensure residents and businesses are safe,” said Lafazan. “It is crucial to hear from the community when it comes to crime and public safety. As elected officials we must be receptive to those concerns and take action.”
—Information provided by the Nassau County Police Department, Mercy First and the Office of Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan