Crimes Nearby: Hempstead Rape, Home Invasion

Also: 3 Seaford brothers charged in identity theft ring; police hunt men in van that followed teens in Merrick.


A Lynbrook man has been arrested and charged with rape after a violent home invasion and robbery in Hempstead Sunday night.

Wiseallah Hightower-Castro, 24, of Lynbrook, was arrested several days after his alleged participation in the incident.

According to Nassau County detectives, around 11 p.m., a 22-year-old male victim went to visit his 47-year-old mother at her home on Grove Street in Hempstead. Also present at the time was a 44-year-old woman.

While in the upstairs apartment, the male heard a knock at the door and answered it, police said. Three men then pushed their way into the apartment.

Two of them took the 44-year-old woman into the bathroom and sexually assaulted her.

Shortly afterward, a 49-year-old woman stopped at the house and was confronted by one of the suspects, police said. She was ordered to lie on the floor while a cell phone and an unknown amount of cash were removed from her pockets by the suspect. One of the women managed to escape by jumping out a window and notified police. The three men fled the scene.

Hightower-Castro is being charged with rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, robbery in the second degree, two counts of burglary in the first degree, criminal use of a firearm in the first degree, assault in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.


Three Seaford brothers were arrested Thursday and charged with being part of a seven-member identify theft ring that “hijacked” more than 180 people’s store credit accounts to obtain in excess of $1 million in merchandise, gift cards and store credits.

The arrested Seaford brothers, Mahmoud Abdul Hussein, 27, Ali Adbul Hussein, 33, and Fadal Abdul Hussein, 22, allegedly manufactured fake driver’s licenses out of their storefront smoke shops in Manhattan's Greenwich Village that were secured by Phillip Smith of the Bronx, according to authorities. The identity theft ring busted Thursday was organized by Smith around 2008 when he allegedly obtained stolen identities, including the names and Social Security numbers of account holders at large retail chains like Home Depot, Sears, Kmart, and Kohl’s, according to authorities.

The Hussein brothers were each charged with conspiracy to produce fake driver’s licenses, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.


Police are on the hunt for a van that has been following students in the Merrick, and areas.

Patch learned that a man tried to lure a 6-year-old East Meadow boy into a white van in September.

It seems, however, that the van has recently been spotted again in the area and the driver preying on school children.

"It’s unknown if any of these are related," said Vincent Garcia, a detective with the Nassau County Police Public Information Office. "It’s under investigation right now. We’re looking for two male blacks and two male Hispanics in a white van – older model – [and] possibly tinted windows," he added.

According to police, on Jan. 4, two teenage girls, 15 and 13, spotted a van following them in North Merrick at the intersection of Sycamore Avenue and Losee Court. The teens said two men, described to be black and wearing ski caps, were in the van that had an orange New York license plate.
On Jan. 10, the van was seen again at the intersection of Rhode Avenue and William Street in Merrick. A 13-year-old girl described the two suspects as Hispanics with black hair.

There were also two recent incidents in Bellmore. On Jan. 6, a student from was allegedly followed home from school by a person in a white van Friday evening and on Jan. 2, a female student from was in a white van who asked if she "wanted a ride" as she walked along Pea Pond Road in Bellmore.


On Jan. 12, police arrested a Wyandanch man in connection with a South Farmingdale liquor store robbery in September. According to eighth squad detectives, Terrell A. Russell, 34, entered  on Main Street through the roof at around 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 13. Police said that once inside the defendant removed an undetermined amount of U.S. currency, New York Lottery tickets and a laptop computer. The defendant was identified through physical evidence left behind at the scene, police said, and was arrested by eighth squad detectives at noon on Jan. 12. Russell is charged with one count of burglary in the third degree.


A Nassau County Police auto mechanic was arrested in Mineola Friday morning after he was found in possession of a stolen non-police vehicle.

According to police, mechanic Steven M. Vitalo turned himself in at  in Mineola after being charged with criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree, a class-D felony.

Vitalo was arrested after investigations by the Nassau County Police Department Internal Affairs Unit, in conjunction with the Public Corruption Bureau.

He has been suspended from duty without pay.

Malverne-West Hempstead

The located at 611 Hempstead Turnpike in West Hempstead was . The suspect is described as a black male, 40-50 years old, approximately 6-foot-2, wearing a gray puffy jacket, a red and white Yankees baseball cap and silver rimmed glasses.

Tire and rim thieves . The incident happened between 1 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. with thieves appearing to be targeting Nissan Maximas.


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