Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

County providing security for social workers; FBI failed to shut down stolen data site after Fitzpatrick arrested

County providing security to social workers following attack

Following the vicious, unprovoked attack on a Westchester County social services worker in Peekskill on May 14, the county will now provide private security personnel to accompany workers on a case-by-case basis.

“Due to the urgent nature of this situation, DSS [Department of Social Services] has determined that an immediate contract with a security services provider is necessary,” said DSS Commissioner Leonard Townes. “Our employees perform the most selfless work, and we want to ensure their safety every step of the way.”

Effective immediately, DSS will offer enhanced security escorts for staff during community and home visits. While DSS has long provided escort services, the new initiative expands their availability to cover more visits and programs.

Maria Coto, 56, was attacked in an apartment on South Street by Hasseem Jenkins who “… repeatedly punched [her] with his fists and did repeatedly kick Ms. Coto with heavy boots … above the head and body causing Ms. Coto to sustain severe brain bleed, swelling of the brain, and multiple facial fractures …”

In the complaint, the District Attorney’s office states that the victim needed immediate surgery at Westchester Medical Center and required a ventilator in order to breathe. Jenkins, 31, was taken into custody and charged him with second-degree attempted murder, a Class A-1 felony, and first-degree assault.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “This unforeseen and tragic incident has prompted us to take immediate action to protect our personnel from further harm while they perform their duties on behalf of the County of Westchester. DSS staff perform essential work within the community, we respect them and we want to do all we can to keep them safe. Our thoughts are with Marie Coto and her family during this difficult time.”

Jenkins waived his right to appear at an arraignment hearing on May 30 in Peekskill City Court. Nearly 30 co-workers of Coto’s packed the small courtroom to show their support. His next court date in Peekskill is scheduled for June 13 in front of Judge Reginald Johnson.

In a prior case, Jenkins was arrested on Oct. 20, 2023 in front of the Field Library and charged with disorderly conduct, a violation. According to the complaint, Jenkins was ordered to leave the area and refused, striking a relative of his who was in the plaza outside the library. He faced a maximum of 15 days in jail on that charge.

Jenkins proceeded to fail to appear for a series of court dates. He did not appear in court for his first scheduled appearance on Nov. 2 in front of Judge Lissette Fernandez. At a Dec. 14 court date he was arraigned on the charges, pled not guilty, and was released on his own recognizance.

Jenkins failed to appear in court again at a Jan. 11, 2024 date and also was missing at hearings of his case on Feb. 1 and March 14. Instead of issuing a bench warrant for his arrest, Judge Fernandez rescheduled his case to a hearing on April 18. On that date the defendant requested a non-jury trial, which was scheduled for May 16, two days after his attack on Coto. She remains in Westchester Medical Center undergoing treatment for injuries. 

– Jim Roberts

FBI failed to shut down hacking site after Fitzpatrick arrest

When FBI agents raided the home of a Peekskill youth in March 2023, they claimed to have taken down one of the most notorious cybercriminals in America.

Conor Fitzpatrick, 21, eventually pled guilty to the crimes and was sentenced to two years of supervised release on home arrest. He will continue to remain out of jail but on supervised release for 18 more years, until he turns 41 years old.

It turns out, however, that the online forum Fitzpatrick ran that sold millions of stolen identity files to criminals never missed a beat following his prosecution.

BreachForums, the site that sold those files, now appears to be responsible for the sale of millions of new stolen identities under successors of Fitzpatrick. The FBI has once again shut down the site.

According to a published report, a hack against customers of the cloud storage company Snowflake could be one of the biggest-ever data breaches. Last week, Snowflake, which allows companies to store huge datasets on its servers, revealed that criminal hackers had been attempting to access its customers’ accounts using stolen login details. Data breaches targeting Ticketmaster and Santander have been linked to the attacks.

“A large proportion of the Snowflake drama has, so far, played out on the notorious cybercrime marketplace BreachForums. The FBI seized the forum in mid May, but another version quickly appeared, and its owners, hacker group ShinyHunters, claimed to be selling 560 million records from Ticketmaster and 30 million from Santander. Both companies have said they have suffered from data breaches, with Ticketmaster directly linking the incident to Snowflake while Santander said it had seen unauthorized access to one of its databases “hosted by a third-party provider.” Neither company has confirmed the size of the breaches, according to the report in Wired magazine.

Prosecutors said Fitzpatrick designed and administered the website’s software and computer infrastructure; registered domains to host or provide access to the BreachForums website while hiding his identity; established and enforced the website’s rules; created and managed sections of the website dedicated to promoting the buying and selling of stolen data; operated a middleman service; approved and uploaded breached databases to the BreachForums’ “Official” network for delivering content; and provided other assistance to BreachForums members seeking to buy and sell illicit material on the website, including by investigating and sometimes vouching for the authenticity of stolen data.

As of March 7, 2023, approximately 888 databases containing over 14 billion individual records were available for purchase on BreachForums’ Official “content distribution network” (CDN) through a “credits” system that the website administered, according to prosecutors. Fitzpatrick and his aides profited by nearly $700,000 through the transactions.

– Jim Roberts

Con Ed four-month gas main project on Railroad Avenue

Con Ed will be installing gas mains along Railroad Avenue starting June 10 and continuing into September. The work will take place on Requa Street, between Railroad Avenue and South Street, and Railroad Avenue, between Requa Street and Hudson Avenue.

The project is designed to replace possible leak-prone gas mains to minimize potential for leaks, minimize greenhouse gas emissions on potential leaks, and ultimately provide safe and reliable service.

To complete the work, Con Ed may need to temporarily interrupt service. If service is going to be interrupted, customers will be notified in advance.

During the work, residents can expect to find limited street parking, noise, and some work conducted on customer property. The contractor for the project is Elecnor Hawkeye.

Note: There is usually a delay between the end of the project and the final landscaping or paving restoration, which is completed by different contractors.

Work Schedule: Monday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

If you have questions about the upcoming work, or concerns about private facilities buried in your lawn, such as sprinkler lines or electric dog fences, please email [email protected] or [email protected] and reference your job identification number G22-100267789. The Con Edison construction supervisor is Domenick Velardi.

Riverkeeper christens new boat ‘Bob Boyle’ to honor founder

Riverkeeper has christened its new boat in honor of the late Bob Boyle, who founded Riverkeeper in 1966.

The additional vessel is dedicated to expanding the science work Riverkeeper conducts on the Hudson. This addition to Riverkeeper’s boat fleet will increase Riverkeeper’s capacity to monitor water quality and serve as the eyes and ears of the river.

At the christening, Boyle’s widow, Kathryn Belous-Boyle, ceremonially doused the boat with champagne. Boyle’s children as well as Assemblymember Dana Levenberg, Ossining Town Supervisor Liz Feldman, and a number of Riverkeeper Board Members were in attendance.

“By increasing Riverkeeper’s on-the-water presence, the Bob Boyle allows us to assess and meet the next generation of challenges facing the Hudson. We’re proud to name this worthy vessel after Riverkeeper’s founder, who was steadfastly and selflessly dedicated to science for the public good,” said Riverkeeper President and Hudson Riverkeeper Tracy Brown.

“Riverkeeper is deeply grateful to Senator Pete Harckham for securing the New York State funding for the purchase of the Bob Boyle, and our board member Emmanuel Morlet for providing the scientific equipment.”  

The Bob Boyle is a refurbished 25’ Parker with a new Yamaha engine. Her namesake, Robert H. Boyle (1928-2017), was a preeminent investigative journalist, avid outdoorsman, visionary environmental activist, and the author of several books including the landmark “The Hudson River: A Natural and Unnatural History.”  

Over the course of his storied career fighting for a healthy Hudson River, Boyle discovered the PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) contamination of the striped bass population, negotiated the settlement in the historic Storm King case, led the fight to stop the Westway highway project, and brought dozens of polluters to justice.

Blue Mountain $4 million upgrade project continues

Westchester County’s $4.15 million site renovation work at Blue Mountain Reservation is nearing completion of Phase One.

Work is wrapping up on replacement of electric service and communications into the park and to facilities; installation of EV charging stations; repair and rebuilding of sanitary systems, replacement of potable water services.

Other projects being finished include rebuilding and resurfacing pathways, reconstruction of the footbridge, repairs to drainage structures and channels, repaving the entrance drive and associated site work, and landscaping.

The next phase of the project is now in the design stage. That work includes rehabilitation of various buildings including infrastructure (water, sanitary, electric, communications, fire alarm protection); roofing, windows doors, floors, walls and interior finishes; footings, waterproofing  and associated site work, and landscaping.

Early voting in Democratic primaries on very sparse ballot

Democratic voters in Westchester can cast their vote in upcoming Democratic primaries for Congress, District Attorney, and Assembly starting on June 15. 

Democrats throughout Westchester can cast a vote for District Attorney among Susan Cacace, William Wagstaff, and Adeel Mirza. For more information on the District Attorney’s race, click here.

Democrats can vote at two Peekskill early voting locations (Peekskill Lincoln Depot Museum, 10 S. Water St., and Peekskill Neighborhood Center, 4 Nelson Ave.) starting on June 15 and through June 23. You can also cast your vote on Primary day, June 25. 

Voting days and hours

  • June 15 and 16: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • June 17: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • June 18: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • June 19: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • June 20: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • June 21: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • June 22 and June 23: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The tip line is always open at the Peekskill Herald


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Help make Peekskill’s Juneteenth Parade & Festival big success

Volunteers are needed for this year’s Juneteenth Parade & Festival on Saturday, June 15.

The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. (time change). Two-hour shifts begin at 8 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. Tasks include decorating the parade route, keeping parade participants in order, work with M.C. to get performers on stage in time and many others.

For more information and to sign up, please complete this form

The Field Gallery hosts ‘Untold Stories’ through June 28

The Field Gallery is showing “Untold Stories” by Heidi Stein, a mixed media artist, through June 28.

Heidi Stein is a local mixed media artist who lives in Mahopac. This show features mixed media artwork made with acrylic paint and collage. Each piece captures a moment in time through ephemera like handwritten letters from 1951 and gel printed papers. 

Daily activities one would record in a letter or diary, like working, cooking and reading, are forgotten with the passage of time, but art transposes the ordinary into something extraordinary. Heidi enjoys using recycled, found and hand-painted papers that could be disposable, and featuring them in artwork elevates the mundane to something of lasting importance. 

Heidi Stein’s art consists of small decisions and a daily collage practice, an internal dialogue of experimentation and exploration, using paper and paint to create layers of interesting color and textures.

Bolton Summer b-ball holding evaluations, season starts July 1

Registration is open for the 2024 Hassan Bolton Youth Summer Basketball League at the Kiley Center. This year’s season starts on Monday, July 1, with evaluations starting on Tuesday, June 11. Registration cut-off date is June 21.

Evaluation groups (no cuts) are broken into two ages, 9 to 11 and 12 to 18 and will happen on June 11, June 13, June 18, and June 20.

Pre-school development (age 4-5) and fundamentals (6-8) groups play on Mondays, Elementary (9-11) on Tuesdays, Middle School (12-14) on Wednesdays and High School (18 & under) on Thursdays. Kids may play in multiple divisions with approval of staff. Fees are $40 for residents, $70 for non-residents and $500 for a non-resident team.

For more information, please contact the Peekskill Recreation office at (914) 734-7275. Volunteer coaches are needed if you want to get involved in helping make this a great summer for kids in Peekskill.

Nominate a LGBTQIA+ member to honor for Pride Month

Nominations are now open for Pride Month. This year, the City of Peekskill would like to honor outstanding LGBTQIA+ members in our community for their personal or professional achievements, civic contributions, or general good deeds that have favorably impacted our citizens. 

Please send us a detailed letter of nomination with specific and pertinent information including newspaper clippings, résumés or other articles you feel support the nominee’s induction. Do be objective and concise. 

If you would like to nominate someone, please complete the form and submit by Monday, June 17.

ShopRite gives $140,883 to Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley

ShopRite’s annual Make-A-Wish fundraising campaign raised $140,883.55 to benefit Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley. Twenty-seven ShopRite stores throughout the Hudson Valley collected donations at checkout from April 14 to April 27. 

The funds raised will help support Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley and its mission to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

ShopRite has raised over $930,000 for Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley over the last eight years.

Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley serves eight counties in New York including Delaware, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester. Since its founding in 1986, they have granted over 3,200 wishes for children in the community so far and currently have close to 200 wishes in the pipeline waiting to be granted; the chapter expects to grant 140 wishes by the end of August, the most in their chapter history.

Westchester Community Foundation makes a name change

For those familiar with the Westchester Community Foundation (WCF), the grant-making organization that donates $2 million to $3 million annually to a wide range of non-profits in the county, get ready to update your address book.

Always a division of the New York Community Trust but not identified as such, the WCF is adopting a new name that identifies it as part of what is now a 100-year-old charitable fund and will now be called the New York Community Trust—Westchester. Their new web site is

Its mission and methodology remain the same. It is still based in Westchester with the same team and programs, just a different URL and email address.

On the nonprofits page of the new website (, you will find information about the proposal process for the competitive grantmaking program. Organizations seeking grants may now submit a proposal at any time through the Westchester section of The Trust’s Grantseeker Portal ( 

Proposals are reviewed three times a year. Letters of intent are no longer required.

The email addresses of team members will auto-forward, to the new addresses, as will logons to the old web address be redirected to the new site.

Peekskill, where the famous walk the streets (sometimes)

Here’s a trivia question that will win a bar bet every time – name the 30th most likely U.S. city to spot a celebrity.

The answer, of course, is Peekskill, according to a new report from BetUS, an online sports book.

The firm gathered data from popular celebrity sightings Instagram page Deuxmoi, reported from January 2024 to May 2024, combining them with the population of each city to generate a weighted average for the possible number of sightings per 100,000 people in those cities.

“Celebrities make up an extremely small percentage of the human population, making the chances of meeting one in person very slim, so we at BETUS wanted to showcase where in the world gives you the best chance of a celebrity encounter,” Andres Vargas, Head Content Editor at BetUS, said. 

Peekskill recorded 3.9 celebrity sightings/100,000 people. BetUs mentioned that Bethenny Frankel has been spotted in Peekskill.  She visited Birdsall House on Main Street in January of this year with her fiance. Other celebrities spotted in Peekskill: Nick Kroll, Kate Winslet, and countless others who perform at the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater. Some celebrities born in Peekskill include Stanley Tucci, Paul Reubens, Mel Gibson, Elton Brand, and former Governor George Pataki.

Two other Westchester towns made the list: Number 3 Bedford Hills with 86.8 celebrity sightings/100,000 people and Number 19 Larchmont with 15.3 celebrity sightings/100,000 people

Bedford celebrities include Bruce Willis, Mariah Carey, Bea Arthur, Billy Baldwin, Natasha Bedingfield, Chevy Chase, Glenn Close, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones, Brendan Fraser, Richard Gere, Jim Henson, Felicity Huffman, Carl Icahn, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Ralph Lauren, Kate & Rooney Mara, Chazz Palminteri, Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively, Paul Shaffer, George Soros, Martha Stewart, Rob Thomas, and Donald Trump.

Larchmont bold names include Michael “Flea” Balzary, Maurice Barrymore, Bobby Cannavale, Matt & Kevin Dillon, Ang Lee, Matthew Rhys, Giovanni Ribisi, Joan Rivers, Keri Russell, Noah Schnapp, and Naomi Watts.

About the Contributor
Jim Roberts
Jim Roberts has been in this business for more than 35 years (hard to believe) and still learning every day. A third-generation Peekskill resident, he started as a lowly researcher at the Westchester Business Journal in 1986 and learned how to be a reporter from many veterans in the field. He’s worked in private companies, Connecticut state government and wrote for the Co-op City Times for 10 years before retiring from full-time work in 2019. Roberts wants to contribute to building the Herald into a news website for residents who care about what’s happening in Peekskill.