Washington Cemetery (Source: adamsofen via Flickr)

Nearly 200 gravestones were smashed or knocked over at Washington Cemetery on Bay Parkway over the weekend, including some belonging to Holocaust survivors.

They mayhem occurred Saturday night, officials believe, since Washington Cemetery is usually closed for the sabbath.

“I couldn’t believe it happened,” said Semyon Bershteyn, who has family buried in the cemetery. “For so many years I’m visiting this cemetery, and for twenty-plus years I’ve never seen anything close to that.”

Some of the tombstones in the Jewish cemetery were hundreds of years old.

Police are investigating the crime as a potential hate crime.

Thanks to Julie K. for the tip.

It’s holiday season, and since I didn’t get any gifts from you for Chanukah, I assume you’re waiting for Christmas?

So what’d you buy me?

Oh yeah, and have a Merry Christmas.

Updated: Good news! As Jeff points out in the comments, we were a bit late on this post and the girls were already found. Apparently, they came home safe and sound on their own. One Ditmas Park Blog commenter writes, “teens. what-ya-gonna-do?”

We’ve removed the names and photos of the teens since it’s no longer relevant, and we figure the family deserves some privacy with things being back to normal.

Original story:

Twelve-year-old [name redacted] and 15-year-old [name redacted] went missing Thursday night, and the police are asking the community to help in their search.

The two sisters were last seen at the Cortelyou Road Q train station at 11:30 p.m. on December 16. [name redacted] is 5’1″ and 180 pounds with brown eyes and hair. She was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black jacket. [name redacted] is 5’6″  and 180 pounds with brown hair and eyes.

If you have information, please call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. or text TIP577 to 274637 (CRIMES). You can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website.

[via TonyGatto.com]

The van that doubled as a storage unit for children’s bicycles is now out of the parking spot it occupied for six months, and several other vehicles have already made use of the space. Apparently, police needed to observe the vehicle  taking up a spot for 72 hours before issuing a ticket, so they must have checked it out after our initial post on Monday, leading to a ticket yesterday.

We’re not sure if the ticket prompted the owner to remove it – as the presumed owner was seen changing the battery yesterday – or if police towed it.

Regardless, we’ll shut up about the van now.

Cops are on the hunt for a would-be bank robber who seems to have lost his guts during a Wednesday evening heist.

According to reports, the suspect passed a demand note to a bank teller in the Citibank at 1528 Sheepshead Bay Road. But when the teller walked away, it seems the suspect reconsidered and beat a hasty retreat.

Officers are looking for a white male, 50 to 55 years old and approximately 5’10″ to 6′ tall, weighing 200 to 250 pounds, with a salt and pepper goatee. He was wearing a plaid jacket, blue jeans and brown work boots.

If you have information regarding this crime, here are a few ways you can get in touch with police:

  • Call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477)
  • Text “TIP577″ (plus your message) to “CRIMES” (274637)
  • Submit Internet Tips

For Manhattan Beach residents, asking the city to implement increased traffic safety measures is a lot like shouting “Give me water!” into a well. The words bounce around, hit the other end, and then come back at them. But they never get what they want.

Manhattan Beach Community Group has been pushing an ever-expanding set of proposals for years. The other neighborhood civic – Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association – has a similar set of proposals. And the Community Board and locally elected pick up on the demands and relay them to city officials. But in the end, all they ever hear is each other. With the exception of the planters – a rather minor improvement – the city has yet to deliver on any of the requests.

For the first time, MBCG has published on its website a list of all its demands for traffic safety reform neighborhood-wide. It’s addressed “To The Honorable Mayor Bloomberg – Stop the Accidents” and rattles off requests from residents for all three major avenues and several side streets.

Keep reading to see highlights from the list.

No comment.

Photo of a Santa display on East 14th Street between Avenue Y and Avenue Z, taken by Vladimir Korostyshevskiy.

Click to enlarge

CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We summarize the week’s statistics for the 61st Precinct reports every Friday. The 61st Precinct is the police command responsible for Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Kings Highway, Homecrest, Madison, Manhattan Beach, and Gerritsen Beach.

Be Proud Foundation Director Raisa Chernina, with two of the evening's performers, pose with gifts collected by the organization.

New York Steak House (2007 Emmons Avenue) had a packed room on Monday, when local leaders and residents gathered together for Be Proud Foundation’s second annual Toys for Tots celebration.

Read coverage from the event and view a photo gallery.

The presumed owner, removing the battery from the derelict van.

It’s been a busy day for that van we told you about on Monday that has occupied a parking spot for six months despite complaints to the city. As we mentioned, the van is packed with what we’d say is a suspicious number of bicycles.

Find out what’s going on with the van, and why it may be gone by the end of the day.