MINEOLA, NY (CBSNewYork) – A former Brooklyn car service driver is accused of writing threatening, anti-Jewish notes on torn-up vouchers and dropping them around Long Island.
The former cabbie, 37-year-old Demestrios Apolonides, has been arrested. When he dropped fares in Nassau County, police say he also dropped small slips of paper with a hateful message, reports CBS 2’s John Slattery.
Police told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall that on at least nine occasions from September 2009 to March 2010, Apolonides, while driving a Lincoln Town Car for the XYZ car service company, would leave the threatening papers.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports
Over a six month period, the disturbing messages were left on the ground at nine locations. The locations, apparently chosen at random, included Port Washington, the Munsey Park section of Manhasset, two locations in Rockville Centre, and three slips of paper dropped in West Hempstead.
When detectives literally put the pieces together, they solved a puzzle, and a critical piece of evidence.
“They found on the reverse side that there was a form, and on the form was printed the XYZ cab company,” Lt. Smith said.
Police say detectives could put Apolonides near all the locations.
“He’s a good, normal, hard-working guy,” Apolonides’ attorney, Joe Coluccio, said.
In court, the prosecutor indicated the motive may not be as clear-cut as it appears, but was an effort to bring blame upon Muslims, creating strife between Muslims and Jews.
Apolonides pleaded not guilty to nine counts of second-degree aggravated harassment as a hate crime. Prosecutors say there are similar open cases in both New York City and Scarsdale.
If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.