A Wyandanch man was arrested and charged with falsely reporting an incident and leaving the scene of an accident Monday after, NYPD officers said, he reported his car had been stolen in Queens -- when it hadn't.
Instead, police said, Gary Joseph, of 69 Brooklyn Ave., Wyandanch, had been involved in an accident, striking three parked cars.
Police credited newly issued departmental smartphones with helping crack the case, allowing them to run the vehicle license plate and find it had been linked to the earlier nearby hit-and-run accident.
Police said Joseph contacted them via 911 just after 7 a.m. Monday to report his car had been stolen from in front of a home on Nashville Boulevard in St. Albans, Queens.
Joseph told responding Officers Jose Suriel and Angel Ramos, both of the 113th Precinct, that he'd left the car running, keys inside, only to return to find the vehicle gone, the NYPD said in a news release issued Wednesday.
Joseph said he hadn't reported the theft immediately because he thought his friends had taken it, playing a joke.
But Suriel and Ramos soon learned -- via smartphone -- that the car had been reportedly involved in a hit-and-run at about 3:45 a.m. on 198th Street near 122nd Avenue in Laurelton.
The officers then contacted a witness via phone who provided them with a description of the person who had left the scene -- matching Joseph, police said.
Police said Joseph then admitted he was driving and that as he attempted "to avoid striking a cat in the road," he swerved and hit three parked cars.
Arraignment details were not immediately available.