Police: Five men wanted for questioning

Info Sought On Alleged Groping At Water Park

Five men are wanted for questioning in the alleged groping of a group of young girls at Splish Splash in Riverhead. Independent/Courtesy RTPD

A series of images and video was released by Riverhead Town police in an effort to locate a group of five men wanted for questioning in connection with the alleged groping of young girls at Splish Splash Water Park in Riverhead.

Police said a group of males subjected underage girls to “unwanted physical contact” while they were swimming in the wave pool at the park at about 4:30 PM on August 21. The incident has been classified as forcible touching, a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail.

Earlier this week, police released video of nine people entering the park and requested the public’s help in identifying them. However, four of the people in the video came forward and contacted police claiming no involvement in the case, police said. Investigators have since ruled them out as suspects, according to police. In the video footage, the five men wanted for questioning appear to have dark skin and hair, two of them were wearing beach towels emblazoned with the American flag draped over their shoulders, and one was carrying a soccer ball.

Edited video with the faces of the five men and other park-goers can be viewed by visiting the Suffolk County Police Department’s YouTube Channel, which is located at http://www.YouTube.com/scpdtv. Viewers must click on the link “Wanted for Questioning” in order to view the video.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $5000 for information leading to an arrest. Detectives are asking that anyone with information about the case to contact Crime Stoppers’ anonymous hotline to submit a tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS. Tips can also be texted to “SCPD” and “CRIMES” (274637), or emailed to www.tipsubmit.com.

Endangered Child Passengers

In another incident indirectly involving Splish Splash Water Park, Riverhead Town police charged a Bronx man with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, on Wednesday, August 29, after child passengers in his car were injured in a crash because they were not wearing proper restraints.

Police said that on August 7, Joshua Burns was driving a 2014 Jeep Wrangler from the Bronx to Calverton with seven additional passengers, including three children, who were not in car seats or wearing safety belts as required under state law. A 10-month-old boy was sitting on the lap of an adult at the time of the crash, and an 11-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy were seated in the rear cargo area without seats or seatbelts and they were both ejected from the vehicle in the crash, according to police. The children are recovering their injuries, police said.

Burns, whose age was not given, caused the crash, police said, when he attempted to turn in front of an eastbound car onto Splish Splash Drive. He later turned himself into police headquarters and was released with a return court date this month.

Identity Theft

A 21-year-old Calverton woman was arrested on Wednesday, August 29, for allegedly stealing the identity of an East Hampton woman, according to Riverhead Town police. Police said Ana Gomez Sanchez used the 60-year-old woman’s identity to get a job at North Fork Nursery in Jamesport and had been working there for the past three years.

Sanchez was arrested after the victim contacted police to say she had received notices of past due payments from the Internal Revenue Service for income she had reportedly failed to report. Sanchez was charged with one count of first-degree identity theft, a felony, and was held for arraignment.

Woman Charged In Theft

A Flanders woman was arrested on Friday, August 24, for several incidents in July, including stealing nearly $800 in food from Stop & Shop in Riverhead, Riverhead Town police said.

In the first of the incidents, police say Aleesha Strand, who was investigated by the department’s Community Oriented Police Enforcement division, menaced an Old Navy employee with a stun gun on July 24. In the most recent incident before her arrest, Strand gave a stun gun to a “juvenile” who then menaced an employee at Stop & Shop on July 26, police said. Strand, whose age was not given, was charged with misdemeanor petit larceny, two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree menacing, and fourth-degree criminal facilitation.

The investigation is ongoing and police are asking that anyone with additional information about the case to call Riverhead Police 631-727-4500, ext. 341.

peggy@indyeastend.com