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Long IslandCrime

Police: Ex-associate of former top cop James Burke arrested

Lowrita Rickenbacker, previously in a relationship with former

Lowrita Rickenbacker, previously in a relationship with former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke, according to a 1995 internal affairs report, faces assault charges after a fall 2016 tenant-landlord dispute, officials said. Credit: NCPD

A felon and associate of former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke, was arrested earlier this week in connection with an October tenant-landlord dispute where she struck a woman in the face multiple times with a two-by-four, authorities said Wednesday.

Lowrita Rickenbacker, 48, of Oakley Street in Massapequa, went to a home on County Line Road in the hamlet just after 5 p.m. on Oct. 18 to collect rent from a woman living there, Nassau police said.

Rickenbacker, who, according to police, is either the landlord or went to the home to collect rent for the landlord, had a “dispute with regard to money” and struck the tenant with the piece of wood, said Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, a department spokesman.

The tenant was treated for her injuries, which consisted of lacerations and swelling on her face and severe pain, according to a criminal complaint.

Seventh Precinct officers arrested Rickenbacker on Monday at about 12:45 p.m., police said, and later charged her with second-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

A 1995 Suffolk police internal affairs report on Burke described Rickenbacker as a “a convicted felon known to be actively engaged in criminal conduct including the possession and sale of illegal drugs, prostitution and larceny” while in a personal relationship with the former chief, at the time, a sergeant with the First Precinct.

Burke was sentenced last year to 46 months in federal prison for assaulting Christopher Loeb — who had stolen a duffel bag containing pornography, sex toys and a gun belt from the chief’s department SUV — while Loeb was in custody, and orchestrating a cover-up.

Rickenbacker was arraigned from a hospital bed Wednesday afternoon at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. It was not immediately clear why or how long she has been hospitalized since her arrest.

Judge Darlene Harris ordered Rickenbacker held on a $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash bail and to have no contact with the victim.

When Harris informed Rickenbacker that a news reporter was present at the hospital arraignment, a public proceeding, she shouted: “No, no, no, no! I don’t have nothing to do with James Burke!”

Nassau District Attorney Law Assistant Gregory Cassel requested $75,000 bail and said Rickenbacker had 25 failures to appear, six active cases, and 14 felony and 29 misdemeanor convictions.

Rickenbacker’s Legal Aid Society attorney said her client is a lifelong resident of Nassau County and has five children, six grandchildren, and lives with her daughter.

Rickenbacker told the judge that she does “contract work writing grants” but said she was not paid on a steady basis.

She is due back in court on Jan. 20.


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