July 26, 2013 By Bill Parry,
A firehouse in Astoria was targeted by a city firefighter in a burglary scheme that involved placing phony 911 calls.
Joseph Keene, a 6 year veteran of the FDNY assigned to a station in the Bronx, admitted to making bogus 911 reports and then stealing money and personal property from fellow firefighters when they were out on the job. Engine Company 263/Ladder 117, located at 42-06 Astoria Blvd., was one of several stations hit in Queens and Staten Island.
Keene, 34, was captured on video surveillance entering the Astoria firehouse on June 11th after placing a false report to 911.
Last Friday, Keene was arraigned on charges of burglary, grand larceny false reporting and other counts, according to the Queen’s District Attorney’s Office. His arrest last week followed a joint investigation by the NYPD, the FDNY and the city’s Department of Investigation.
“It is surprising that a firefighter would both call in fake 911 calls and steal money from colleagues,” said DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn in a statement.
A source inside the FDNY said, “He hit a few places taking a couple of grand, he wouldn’t take wallets, just the cash.”
Keene was released on a $5,000 bond and faces up to 15 years in prison. “You can’t get much lower than doing what he did,” according to an FDNY source.