Aug. 2, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
Three Queens teenagers have been charged with breaking in to a FDNY firehouse in Jackson Heights at about 2 a.m. on Monday morning, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced today.
The defendants, identified as Christian Gaguancella, 19, of Corona, Steven Lopez, 18, of Corona, and Luis Phunthusuntorn, 17, of Elmhurst, allegedly broke in to the firehouse after the firefighters were called out to an emergency.
Each defendant has been charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree criminal trespass. They each could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
“To many firefighters, the firehouse is a second home. In this case, the defendants are accused of knowingly trespassing that space with the intent of removing property. More troubling, perhaps, is that they allegedly waited for firefighters to be sent out on a call – risking their lives to rescue people and save property – before breaking in,” Brown said.
According to the charges, firefighters left the firehouse at 81-17 Northern Boulevard just before 2 a.m. on Monday on a call.
An observer stated that they saw a young man, later identified as Lopez, climbing in to a fenced in area, on to a shed and then in to a second floor window. A second male, later identified as Gaguancella was seen standing on the roof of the shed, and a third male, later identified as Phunthusuntorn, was seen standing outside the firehouse looking up and down the street.
When police arrived at the firehouse soon after, a fireman allegedly walked out with Lopez after finding him on the second floor of the firehouse.
An observer alleged that they saw Gaguancella leave the shed and meet up with Phunthusuntorn on the street.