Newest commanding officer comes directly from the borough’s anti-gang unit
A cop with a history of taking down some of the borough’s notorious gangs and crews is the new commanding officer at the 41st Precinct. Captain Louis De Ceglie took over from Deputy Inspector Martine Materasso as head of the Longwood Avenue station house last week. Materasso is being transferred to the 44th Precinct after nearly two years leading the 41.
De Ceglie, 40, started his law enforcement career with PSA 8, the police unit that patrols public housing in the northern Bronx. Since then, he has made multiple stops at precincts and special units in the Bronx and Manhattan, starting with a stint as an undercover officer in a narcotics unit in Harlem.
De Ceglie is no stranger to the South Bronx. Among his numerous stops, he served for a year as executive officer at the 40th Precinct in Mott Haven. Most recently, he led the Bronx Gang Squad for nearly three years, an expertise he hopes to put to use breaking up criminal activity in Hunts Point.
“We didn’t do much work in the 41,” said De Ceglie of his time with that unit. “Now that I’m here, I’d like to focus on them. There’s a gang issue in the entire Bronx.”
Under his watch, the NYPD and the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York collaborated on a major bust last April that resulted in charges against 120 suspects from the Big Money Bosses and 2 Fly YGZ gangs that operated around White Plains Road, following a decade of violence in the northeastern Bronx. It was the biggest gang bust in the city’s history.
The change in leadership at the 41 comes on the heels of a recent burst of violence in and around Hunts Point. On Saturday, a teenager visiting from Pennsylvania was shot and killed in Longwood. Elwin Coste, 17, and a 21 year old friend were standing in front of 1041 Tiffany Street around 3:30 a.m. when two men came up to them, asked for a cigarette and then shot them, killing Coste and wounding his acquaintance. His friend is in critical condition at Lincoln Hospital.
A day earlier, a man returned to a bodega at 1043 East 163rd Street and cut the storekeeper in the head with a box cutter after a dispute over the price of a bag of ice. NYPD is looking for the suspect.
On June 11, 31 year old Eric Oliver was shot in killed in front of 903 Rogers Place in Longwood as he sat in his wheelchair. Oliver had a long rap sheet and was confined to a wheelchair after surviving a shooting years earlier.
And also on June 11, 29-year-old Jessica White was killed by a stray bullet as she tried to protect her children from a hail of gunfire in a playground at the John Adams Houses. White’s killer has not yet been caught.
De Ceglie, who grew up in New Jersey and is raising three children in Rockland County with his wife, a fellow cop, said he has turned down offers to return to his home state to be a cop, even though he would earn considerably more there.
“Any place other than NYPD is a step down,” he said.