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A rash of car break-ins and vandalism plagued Scarsdale this week: Home Burglary: A Hampton Road man left his house briefly at around 10 pm on the night of June 29th. When he came back an hour later he found that someone had smashed the hinges of a side door and broken into his home. The house was tossed and cash, a necklace, a bracelet, a Rolex watch and a Tag wrist watch were stolen.

Car break-ins: A Quaker Ridge man parked his car outside of Zachys on July 4th around 5 pm. He went into the store to shop and when he returned to his car he found that his car had been entered and his blackberry, crocodile wallet, credit card and drivers license had been stolen.

Shortly after midnight on 7/3 the address sign from a Greendale Road home was thrown through the windshield of a car parked on Rugby Road. The sign punctured and damaged the windshield of the 2009 blue Honda civic.

The driver’s side window of a 2009 Audi, locked and parked in a Brite Avenue driveway was smashed during the night of 6/29-6/30. An Apple iPod was taken. The owner had set the car alarm but did not hear anything during the night.

That same night the front passenger window of a car parked on Brewster Road was shattered and a Magellan GPS device was stolen. Also on the night of 6/29-6/30, an unlocked car was entered on Brite Avenue. The owners license credit cards, pool permits, cell phone, credit cards and navigation system were stolen.

A 2008 Honda, parked in the Merchant’s Lot on East Parkway, was entered on July 2nd. The driver’s side window was smashed and an airbag was taken from the dashboard. The car belongs to an employee of Chase Bank on East Parkway.

A Hastings man parked his van on Birchall Road on July 4th while he was doing work on a house. At 8:50 am he saw an unknown man leaning inside his Plymouth Voyager with the driver’s side door open. The owner of the car yelled and the intruder fled. No property was taken and no damage was done to the car.

A Briarcliff woman parked her Toyota Sequoia at Scarsdale High School on the evening of June 29th . Vandals broke the front passenger side window and took the woman’s credit cards, purse, drivers license and checkbook.

Sometime between 6/30 and 7/3 someone entered a Scarsdale man’s car and stole his Scarsdale Volunteer Firemen’s identification badge. The car was unlocked and parked in the driveway. No damage was done to the car.

Harassment: On the morning of July 4th, a Scarsdale man received a threatening phone call. His wife answered the phone and the person on the other end asked for him by name. When he got on the phone, the called said, “you’re a dead man.” The man who received the call did not recognize the voice on the phone or the phone number from which the call was placed.

At 1 am on 6/28 a Scarsdale woman picked up the phone and the caller threatened to “put a bullet in her head.” The woman did not know who called.

Missing Teen: Black Birch Road residents phoned police when their 17 year-old daughter failed to return home on the night of July 2nd. She was supposed to come home after attending a carnival in Mamaroneck but did not return. Concerned parents drove to the home of the girl’s friend early on the morning of July 3rd, but she was not there. The reached her on her cell phone at 1 pm in the afternoon of the 3rd but the girl did not give her location or offer to come home. The mother got another call from the girl at 3:30 pm but still could not locate her.

Missing Phone
: A 15 year-old girl left her cell phone in a taxi on June 30th. Her mother called Central Taxi, who said that they had found the phone and would keep it in an envelope. However, when the Mom went to retrieve the phone, it could not be found.

A home under construction on Chesterfield Road was vandalized sometime between the evening of 7/1 and the afternoon of 7/2. Intruders damaged first and second floor walls and a chandelier in the entry. The sheetrock appeared to have been kicked in and smashed. There were no witnesses.

Two Penn Boulevard mail boxes were damaged on the night of 7/2-7/3. Both mail boxes were knocked over and found lying on the ground. In addition a real estate sign was knocked over but not damaged.

Graffiti: The words F#@$ You, spraypainted in gold on the supply shed at Edgewood School were discovered on the morning of July 2nd. The school’s maintenance man agreed to remove the graffiti.

Knife: Two employees at the Scarsdale Shell Station on Scarsdale Avenue had an altercation and summoned the police on June 28. One employee approached two others wielding a steak knife. The workers agreed to handle the matter themselves and no arrests were made.

Accidents: A 79 year-old Scarsdale man drove through bushes and ultimately hit a home at 39 Carthage Road on the morning of Saturday July 3rd. The man said his shoe came off and he was unable to apply the brakes. The Scarsdale Building Inspector was called to check the home for structural damage.

A Garden Road man driving east on Huntington Avenue on the afternoon of June 28th collided with a sanitation truck at the intersection of the Post Road and Huntington Avenue. No injuries were reported.

A Goshen man, driving south on the Post Road on the morning of 6/24 reported that his car drove over a catch basin. When he hit the dip in the road he felt a “pop” in his neck and shoulder area. The Scarsdale Highway Department was called to check the catch basin.

A Bronx woman crashed into a telephone pole on Popham Road and then travelled across Popham and collided into a stonewall on Friday morning 7/2. The woman was suffering from low blood sugar and she blacked out. The 46 year-old driver and her 78 year-old passenger were both taken to White Plains Hospital and Con Edison was called to fix the damaged pole

The annual Sidewalk Sale will be held in Scarsdale Village Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 29, 30 and 31.  The Chamber of Commerce and village merchants invite you to come downtown from 10am until dark for great bargains, events for kids, music and food at local deli’s and restaurants including Lange’s and Chat. 

A petting zoo, from The Nature of Things of North Salem will bring exotic animals to Chase Park on Saturday July 31 from 11 am – 3 pm. Sensational balloon artist Scott Kazan will be bending and twisting balloons into unblievable shapes in Boniface Circle and DJ Paul Vito of Music Mixers will spin tunes for all.  Don’t miss the shopping, beginning Thursday July 29th and the fun in Chase Park on Saturday July 31st.

Parking is free at the Christie Place garage and metered street parking is availabe, as always.  Residents are also encouraged to walk or bike downtown. For more information, check out the Scarsdale Chamber of Commerce newly redesigned website here: www.scarsdalechamber.org/sidewalk-sale-2010

Burglars entered Best Buy on Central Avenue sometime during the night of 6/26- 6/27 via a hole in the roof. The vandals cut a hole in the roof of the store, dropped in through the opening and stole an undetermined number of Sony laptop computers from a locked storage bin. It appears that they left through the same hole in the roof and took property valued at more than $17,000.

Peeping Tom: A Hidden Glen Road resident saw a man peering into the windows of her home at 1:30 am on June 22nd. She observed a man outside her rear deck window looking into the house. After she sighted him, he ran into a rear wooded area.

Missing: Central Avenue residents called police after midnight on 6/22 to report that their 16 year-old daughter was missing. She was due home at 10 pm and had not appeared. Police contacted the girl via her cell phone. She said she was in White Plains and the police picked her up and brought her home.

Arrest: Two Mt. Vernon residents attempted to cash a fraudulent check in the amount of $3,258 at the TD Bank on Central Avenue on June 22nd. When the bank employee told them that she had to verify the check, they left the bank, leaving the check and their ID. Police quickly arrived at the scene and arrested Brenda Moore who had signed the fraudulent check. They asked her companion Alexander Felder to come to the headquarters as well. Police later found a check in Felder’s car and both Moore and Felder were booked for possession of forged instruments.

On the Lam:
Also on the afternoon of June 22nd, a security officer at Marshalls saw a woman switching the price tags on merchandise. She replaced stolen items with non-store merchandise and then left the store with the Marshalls merchandise without paying for it. The woman left the store in a blue Ford Explorer and though the officer wrote down the license plate number of the car, Greenburgh police were unable to locate the car.

Assault: Juan Valero of Yonkers, an employee of Pizza and Brew on Central Avenue, was hit and cut with a glass bottle behind the restaurant at 11:30 pm on June 22nd. Valero had severe cuts in the back of his head, his nose, ear and arm and was bleeding. He was taken to Westchester Medical Center for treatment. A friend reported that after the assault, the attacker fled in a silver four-door sedan, possibly a Honda.

Car Break-in: A South Central Avenue resident awoke on 6/23 to find that someone had thrown a chain at his 2008 Nissan and broken the rear window the previous night.

Busted: Joshua Epps, age 27 of New Rochelle, was arrested for criminal possession of marijuana when he has shopping on North Central Avenue on the afternoon of June 23rd. Epps was asked for identification when making a purchase. When he reached into his pocket a clear plastic bag-containing marijuana fell out. The store employee activated the panic alarm, the police arrived and Epps was arrested and taken to police headquarters.

Grayrock Road residents got into a verbal dispute on June 24th with a man who had been hired by the Town of Greenburgh to remove several trees from the town property that bordered on their Grayrock Road yard. The residents claimed that Nick Danisher refused to stop cutting down the trees and verbally abused the residents. Danisher reported that the residents verbally abused him. An employee of the Town of Greenbugh Parks Department verified that Danisher had all the necessary paperwork to remove the trees and the altercation was documented.

: The facilities manager for the Edgemont Junior and Senior High School reported that an employee of County Chair Rental damaged a window while delivering chairs to the school on June 23rd. County Chair denied any wrongdoing by their crew.

Fight:  at three a.m. on June 28th a fight broke out at the corner of Webster Road and Boulevard in Edgewood. Police were called and found 12 people in the roadway. A brother and sister were struggling on the ground, evidently as a result of a fight that started at their home on Webster Road. According to the police report, the girl's boyfriend had come to the house with friends and one of the friends made offensive comments to her. Her brother  jumped to her defense and a fight ensued in which damage was done to the fence in the backyard. The fight then moved to the street, and when police arrived they found the boyfriend hiding in the bushes nearby. He claimed that he had broken his leg in the fight and SVAC was called. However, when the ambulance arrived, the injured boy was argumentative with the paramedics and refused medical attention.

The Scarsdale resident's mother arrived and said that she had not been home and was not aware of the fight. The boyfriend's car was released to a friend as he was too intoxicated to drive. The boyfriend was issued a summons for consumption of an alcoholic beverage by a person under the age of 21. As he was walking away from the police, he jumped up and down and yelled to the police, “look my leg healed.”

Scam? In a similar incident to one last week, a nanny who called herself Nina, approached a woman on Ridgecrest West and asked for money. She claimed she worked for a Post Road family and that she had a family emergency. The woman who reported the incident gave the nanny $20 but later realized there was something suspicious about the request and notified police. The “nanny” is described as black, approximately 40 years old, 5’3” tall and wearing glasses. She was driving a blue car.

Vandalism: A French door at 93 Brite Avenue was smashed by a rock overnight from 6/25-6/26. Fortunately the house was not entered.

Identity theft: Fraudulent credit cards were opened in the name of Bradford Road residents and over $4,000 in merchandise was charged to a fraudulent Best Buy card. Accounts were also opened at HSBC, Walmart, Peebles, Sears, J.C. Penney, TJ Max, Toys R Us and Chase. In addition, attempts were made to open credit card accounts at Home Depot and Target. The accounts were opened in Maryland and Virginia.

A Myrtledale Road man discovered that someone had changed the address on his Brooks Brothers Mastercard to a Canadian mailing address. He attempted to use the card and his purchase was denied because the address he supplied no longer matched the billing address for the card. He was issued a new card and again a purchase was turned down due to a disparity in the address. Though the address was changed on both the original and replacement cards, no fraudulent charges were made.

Car Vandalism: On the night of 6/25 a Ford parked on Wildwood Road was entered. Vandals broke the drivers side window of the car. The daughter of the car owner actually saw a man standing near her father’s car. The man later got into a Mercedes and the driver of the Mercedes stopped to speak to the owner of the vandalized car and then drove away. A search of the area did not turn up anyone matching the suspects or the Mercedes SUV that was registered to the Mercedes dealership in Manhattan.

A Toyota Prius parked on Aspen Road was broken into overnight 6/25-6/26. The front passenger-side window was broken.

Thefts: a bike locked at East Parkway and Spencer Place was stolen on 6/25. The white trek mountain bike, valued at $500, was locked to a bike rack, but the lock was cut.

Ms. Shinobu Oggiura of Lee Road came to headquarters on 6/22 to report that man had stolen her metal garbage can. He took it from her property and placed it in his trunk.

Strange doings: A Cohawney Road reported some strange incidents at his home. He went out on the afternoon of 6/22 for a short time and when he returned someone had moved a bucket into the center of the garage. In addition, the previous Saturday night his mailbox had been removed. Though he does not get along with his neighbor, he did not request police intervention.

Branches and wires: A large tree branch fell on wires near the Greenacres School at Huntington and Montrose Roads around noon on 6/24. The area was taped off and the school and Con Edison were advised. The Principal arranged for children to be picked up near the field to avoid crossing under the branch.

A moving truck hit a telephone pole and brought down wires on Paddington Road on June 25th causing a power outage in the immediate area. Con Ed responded and made repairs.

Dogs: An Oak Way resident found a poodle without a collar on Fenimore Road on June 21 and summoned police who brought the dog to the trailer. When they arrived, the dog’s owner showed up at the trailer to claim his pet.

A black lab was found at 39 Weaver Street and police brought the dog back to headquarter and called his owner. When the owner arrived, he was issue a summons for failing to have the dog on a leash.

County Police stopped a driver at the corner of Kingston Road and Greenacres Avenue, as they believed he was involved in an incident of road rage. They called the Scarsdale Police to assist, but after questioning the occupants of the car, they let them go.

Police stopped a CS Plumbing van that was speeding on Post Road on the afternoon of 6/22. The DMV check revealed that the van’s registration was suspended for failure to pay for insurance. Police followed the van to the CS Plumbing parking lot where it was locked and secured. The driver was given a verbal warning about speeding and issued a summons for driving with a suspended registration.

Feuding parents Maria Lozito and Anthony Derubeis dropped off their daughter at police headquarters to facilitate her exchange for visitation on June 25th. They had a brief dispute at the police station and were referred to Family Court to resolve their differences.

There were several reports of noisy parties on 6/25, the night of Scarsdale graduation. Complaints were received about loud noise from Wynmor Park, Kent Road, Black Birch Lane, and Springdale Road, On June 26th, there were similar complaints about parties on Southwoods Lane and Cooper Road.

The number of real estate tax grievances filed in Scarsdale has reached a new high. According to the Scarsdale Village Assessor, 756 grievances were received this year, up from 551 last year. The challenges will need to be ruled on in the coming year and no one has provided the cost of dealing with all of these cases. However, the Village Assessors’ office, with a staff of 1.5 people has a Herculean task on their hands.

Why has the number of cases risen so dramatically? Since Scarsdale has not done a Village wide reassessment since 1969, there are many inequities among property assessments. In addition, the dip in housing values has highlighted these inequities and steep increases in real estate taxes have caused many to question their tax bills.

What can be done? John Wolham of the NYS Office of Real Property Services came before the Scarsdale Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening June 22 to educate and encourage the Scarsdale Board of Trustees to do a village wide revaluation of all properties. Since 2005 two thirds of communities in New York State have reassessed and Wolham presented the benefits of doing a reassessment which is a “comprehensive review of all properties in a community in which all assessments are set back to market value.” Furthermore, “the longer it has been since a reassessment, the more likely it is that some taxpayers are paying more than their fair share of taxes while others are paying too little.”

A reassessment has many benefits, including:

  • Fairness: Every owner pays no more than their fair share of taxes
  • Transparency: Taxpayers can understand the system
  • Tax Neutral: The total taxes raised remains the same
  • Reduced Litigation: Fewer law suits and challenges
  • Economic; Helps bond rating
  • Local Control: Eliminates impact of state equalization
  • State Aid: Village would receive up to $5 per parcel each year the tax roll is at 100%

Wolham then showed what could occur without regular reassessments by giving an example of two homes:

He showed two houses built 40 years ago both assessed at $10,000. The first home now has a current market value of $1,000,000 and the second has a market value of $500,000. However, since there had not been a reassessment, both still had the same assessed value of $100,000 and therefore both were paying the same taxes, despite the fact that one home was worth twice as much as the other one.

Next he provided an actual example of two Scarsdale homes that sold within months of each other. They had comparable market values, but widely varying real estate taxes:

Location:              Stratton Road                           Penn Road
Sale Price:           $1,275,000                               $1,285,000
Assessed Value        $18,300                                    $26,000
Estimated R.E. Tax   $20,889                                    $29,679
Real Tax Rate              1.64%                                      2.31%

Though there are many misconceptions about its affect, a reassessment does not raise taxes, it simply redistributes payments more equitably so that homeowners pay taxes based on the current market value of their homes.

The trustees posed questions to Wolham. Trustee Jonathan Mark questioned how residents would perceive a reassessment. Given that the assessment will cost $1,700,000, which is about $275 per household, what benefits would taxpayers realize? After a reassessment, the experience has been that one third of taxpayers see no change, one third sees an increase in their tax and the last third gets a decrease. If this is the case, two thirds of the population sees no benefit and Mark questioned the economic rationale for the expense.

Trustee Richard Toder spoke eloquently on the fairness issue, saying that the revaluation is “the right thing to do.” He believed that after the reassessment lawyers would have reduced incentives to file tax grievances, as assessed values would be aligned with market values.

Trustee Miriam Flisser asked whether village surreptitiously raise taxes during a revaluation and was assured that this was not the case. She was told that the total tax bill is simply reallocated amongst taxpayers.

Trustee David Irwin asked if data was available from towns that have already undergone a reassessment. He wanted information on the number of challenges in the year after the revaluation and in subsequent years. This data would allow Scarsdale to do an economic analysis of the costs vs. expected savings.

Robert Berg, Chairman of the TVCC Revaluation Committee asked Village Assessor Nanette Albanese how many of the 551 grievances filed last year resulted in reductions to assessments. The answer was a surprising 90%, which leads one to wonder what will happen in the future if results are similar this coming year. As more grievances will result in even further reductions for some, those who do not challenge their tax bill will pay an increased share of the tax to fund the budget.

It appears that the Village may have no choice but to move forward to stem the tide of challengers. The Board will continue to examine the issue and would like feedback from the public. Please share your comments in the section below.

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