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Long IslandCrime

Prosecutors: Former Suffolk officer at scene of traffic stop thefts

Former Suffolk County police Sgt. Scott Greene, seen

Former Suffolk County police Sgt. Scott Greene, seen at First District Court in Central Islip on Jan. 12, 2016, is accused of stealing money from Hispanic motorists. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Jurors in the trial of a former Suffolk County police sergeant accused of stealing cash from Hispanic motorists were shown computer-based evidence Tuesday prosecutors said proved his patrol car was at the scene of most of the alleged thefts.

The evidence included printouts of an Automated Vehicle Locator that tracked former Sgt. Scott Greene’s Suffolk police car and “key stop” entries from his vehicle’s onboard computer showing he had entered the license plate numbers at the time and date claimed by some of his victims.

Greene, who retired shortly after his Jan. 30, 2014 arrest in a sting conducted by Suffolk police and prosecutors, is charged with multiple offenses including larceny as a hate crime, and official misconduct. Authorities said he targeted Hispanic drivers in traffic stops.

District Attorney Thomas Spota asked Hispanic advocacy groups to reach out to potential victims and several came forward.

Six Hispanic men testified last week in Central Islip court that their vehicles were stopped by Greene in the Coram area between 2010 and the end of 2013. They said the sergeant searched them when they could not provide a driver’s license or other documents.

All later said they found that money was missing from their wallets or pockets. Several specified the exact amount missing because they worked as day laborers and were paid their weekly wages in $100 and $50 bills.

In a separate court development Tuesday, Greene’s former colleague, Sgt. John Doyle, told the jury he came forward after Greene’s arrest because the sergeant had ordered him to write a summons for a motorist in 2011 who turned out to be one of the men who later claimed his cash was missing. Doyle testified he was a patrol officer working under Greene at the time.

Defense attorney Scott Gross of Garden City sought to ask one police witness whether former Chief of Department James Burke got involved in the investigation. With the jury out of the room, Gross said a police official had told Greene Burke was “out to get him” and told the sergeant on the night of the arrest: “I told you he was going to get you.”

The judge ruled such testimony was not relevant to the case.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating Wednesday after closing arguments.

If convicted, Greene could face a minimum of 7 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.


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