Electronic Stake Out® (ESO®) in Nassau County, New York
UPDATE: On Tuesday, July 18, 2017, Joshua Golson-Orelus was sentenced to 55 years to life in prison after his convictions in the slaying of gas station clerk, Hany Awad, and a series of armed store heists. The sentence follows his conviction in February 2017.
ORIGINAL STORY: Nassau County PD serves 1.5 million citizens just east of New York City. Starting in 2014, they experienced a serious serial crime spree where gas stations were being robbed by a gun-toting suspect whose behavior was escalating in violence. On January 28, 2015, the suspect became a murderer when he shot and killed store clerk Hany Awad.
The crimes began just before Christmas 2014 in Westbury, New York, and Nassau County police utilized their nationally-recognized intelligence-led policing model to determine a dangerous criminal pattern was emerging. After identifying vulnerable robbery locations through predictive analysis, police increased manpower and surveillance to address the problem. However, the robberies continued and the Department had little to go on.
By late January 2015, a total of eight armed robberies throughout Nassau County were all attributed to the same robber. Gas station owners, employees and customers were all on edge. Police investigated every possible lead, conducted stake outs…Crime Stoppers even offered a $25,000 reward, but all to no avail. And then the situation got much worse. At a BP gas station in Jericho, New York, a customer found station employee Hany Awad, 56, on the floor, shot and bleeding. Awad ultimately died from his injuries. Citizens were frightened and the community knew this robber was now also a killer.
The Nassau County Police Department, known as a progressive organization utilizing the latest technology to increase effectiveness, took an unprecedented move and obtained 60 ESO tracking devices in an effort to end this robbery spree. Having previous success with 3SI’s commercial GPS products for robberies and burglaries at banks, cell phone stores, and pharmacies, it seemed a logical progression for Commissioner of Police Thomas Krumpter and Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki. They directed the devices be placed in every gas station and convenience store identified through the predictive analysis model as being within the geographical robbery activity zone, thus creating an electronic dragnet.
Early on June 14th, a tracker in Westbury alerted designated officers that a robbery had occurred and the suspect was fleeing. The suspect was successfully tracked for about nine minutes when an officer observed the plate number of the suspect’s vehicle. Once the robber knew he was being pursued, he fled at very high speed and discarded the evidence with the embedded ESO device. Ultimately the killer was found in Utica, New York, a few days later. Joshua Golson-Orelus was apprehended by Nassau County Police with assistance from US Marshals and charged with 2nd degree murder, robbery 1st degree, and a host of other crimes. The terrifying six-month crime spree was over thanks to the Nassau County Police commanders who thought outside the box and used Electronic Stake Out.
The capture of the suspect had tremendous impact on police services by allowing for a reduction in manpower hours for physical surveillance and in streamlining the investigation to a successful conclusion. Nassau County Police continue to utilize the devices on additional robbery and theft pattern crimes. In this case, as in many others nationwide, ESO was the game changer and made the difference.