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Queens Chronicle

Thou shalt not strip church vans

Rosedale man sentenced to two to four years after eight-day trial

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Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:30 am

A Rosedale man has been sentenced to two to four years in prison following his conviction for stripping a van owned by a church.

Benjamin Livermore, 31, of 148th Drive, was convicted of second-degree auto stripping, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and possession of burglar’s tools in March following an eight-day jury trial, according to a statement issued Thursday by the office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Brown said he was sentenced by Judge Salvatore Modica as a second-felony offender.

Brown said the $30,000 Ford van was used by The New Greater Church of New York, which serves the Korean community, to shuttle elderly and infirm church members to functions.

“The van that this defendant was stripping of its parts for his own benefit served as a lifeline to many of the elderly parishioners who depended on it to attend prayer services,” Brown said. “This is not the first time the defendant has been convicted of auto stripping and thus the sentence imposed yesterday is an appropriate punishment and hopefully will make him think twice before repeating his actions when he is released from prison.”

The DA said the van was stolen between the hours of 10 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2011, and 8 a.m. on Oct. 19.

A witness saw Livermore removing parts from the van between 1 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 19 at the intersection of 226th Street and 148th Avenue near Idlewild Park.

Police responded and caught him in the act of putting parts from the vehicle into a red van.

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