4 THE QUEENS COURIER • JUNE 28, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
year in jail
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
firstname.lastname@example.org / @
A Whitestone man paid the
price on Monday for stealing
catalytic converters from
more than a dozen parked
vehicles in Queens, then selling
the devices to scrappers
Michael Cipriati, 34, of 11th
Avenue, pleaded guilty in May
to second-degree auto stripping,
according to Queens
District Attorney Richard A.
Brown. At his June 25 sentencing,
Cipriati was ordered
to serve a full year in prison.
“With the price of scrap
metal continuing to increase,
this mechanically inclined
defendant brazenly stole the
parts and then sold them to a
recycling facility in the Bronx
for cash,” Brown said in a
Between Oct. 20 and Dec.
6, 2017, prosecutors said,
Cipriati removed 15 catalytic
converters from parked
cars across Queens, including
in Astoria, College Point,
Flushing, Jackson Heights,
Long Island City, Little Neck
and Sunnyside Gardens. The
victimized vehicles ranged
from sedans like a Toyota
Prius or a Acura TL, to vans
such as a Ford Econoline or
a Dodge sprinter, and SUVs
like a Honda Element or a
Located near a vehicle’s
muffler, a catalytic converter
reduces the amount of pollutants
in exhaust created by
the engine. Within the metal
compartment is a filtration
mechanism that contains precious
metals such as platinum,
palladium and rhodium.
On at least 11 occasions,
law enforcement sources said,
Cipriati sold the converters
he had just stolen to Alpha
Recycling in the Bronx.
Detectives were able to connect
Cipriati to the crimes
through an examination of his
cellphone records, which put
him at the scene of each theft
at the time they occurred.
Cops finally hit the brakes
on Cipriati’s scheme after
observing him driving a
Mercedes-Benz with a suspended
license. At the time
of his arrest, he was also
found in possession of two
Photo via Google Maps
The intersection of Utopia Parkway and 16th Avenue in Whitestone, as shown in this November 2017 photo while under construction.
Senior who fatally struck teen
with car gets ticket to court
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
email@example.com / @robbpoz
Cops have charged an 88-year-old woman
who allegedly blew a red light and fatally
struck a 17-year-old woman crossing at a
Whitestone intersection on Monday morning.
Law enforcement sources said the incident
Fundraiser organized to support family
of Queens teen fatally struck by car
BY SUZANNE MONTEVERDI
firstname.lastname@example.org / @smont76
Residents of northeast Queens are rallying
around a local family mourning the loss of a
17-year-old woman who was hit and killed
by a car in Whitestone on Monday.
On June 25, Madeline Sershen was crossing
Utopia Parkway with the walk light in
her favor when she was struck by a 2005
Toyota Corolla, according to authorities.
The vehicle was driven by 88-year-old Sheila
Kahn Prager, who police said ignored a
steady red light.
Paramedics rushed Sershen to NewYork-
Presbyterian Queens hospital, where the
teenager was pronounced dead. Sershen was
a junior at St. Francis Preparatory High
In the wake of the tragedy, friends of the
teenager’s family have launched a fundraiser
on GoFundMe to help ease the burden of
funeral costs. In less than 24 hours, the campaign
has already surpassed its $10,000 goal.
The fundraiser was started by administrators
at P.S. 79 in Whitestone, where Sershen’s
mother Catherine is employed.
“While no amount of money can erase this
horrible tragedy, we as a school community
want to support Catherine and her family
during this painful time,” organizers wrote.
Donors have showered the family with
thoughts and prayers in the comments section
of the fundraiser.
“Maddie was a beautiful person and friend
who is now an angel,” wrote Francesco
DiMaggio. “So hard to believe!”
Kahn Prager was taken into custody at the
scene and issued a desk appearance ticket
for failing to yield to a pedestrian, running a
red light and failure to exercise due care. She
must return to court on July 12.
The GoFundMe page can be accessed
by visiting www.gofundme.com/madeline039s
Photo courtesy of St. Francis Preparatory School
occurred at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of
Utopia Parkway and 16th Avenue.
According to police, Sheila Kahn-Prager,
88, of 166th Street in Whitestone was driving
her 2005 Toyota Corolla southbound
on Utopia Parkway and allegedly ignored
a steady red light. After passing through
the intersection, authorities said, she struck
Madeline Sershen, 17, of 25th Avenue in
Flushing, who was crossing Utopia Parkway
with the walk light in her favor.
Upon being struck by the front bumper,
police said, Sershen flew onto the hood and
struck the windshield, then was thrown to
Officers from the 109th Precinct and EMS
units responded to the incident. Paramedics
rushed Sershen to NewYork-Presbyterian
Queens hospital, where she was pronounced
Sources said that Kahn-Prager was taken
into custody at the scene and issued a desk
appearance ticket for failing to yield to a
pedestrian, running a red light and failure to
exercise due care. She must return to court
on July 12 for further action.
The investigation is ongoing.