Queens detectives cuff suspect in deadly vehicle robbery

Scene of deadly Queens vehicle robbery
The suspect killed 43-year-old Mauro Chimbay with his car after the victim attempted to stop a vehicle robbery on the 2500 block of 85th Street in East Elmhurst, Queens in November 2023.
Photo via Google Maps

Queens detectives arrested a suspect Friday in connection with a deadly vehicle robbery late last year that claimed a man’s life.

Police said Kenny Panama, 36, of 81st Street in Middle Village was booked Jan. 12 on murder and other charges in connection with the Nov. 15, 2023 incident in Jackson Heights that left Mauro Chimbay, 43, of 58th Street in Woodside dead.

Law enforcement sources said the incident happened at about 3:03 p.m. on Nov. 15, 2023 in front of a home on the 2500 block of 85th Street in East Elmhurst, where Chimbay discovered someone rifling through his parked car and removing property.

When Chimbay confronted the suspect, cops said, the thief fled into a nearby white sedan, operated by a second suspect. Chimbay then ran toward that car, then held on to the hood as the second suspect began to drive away.

Seconds later, police reported, Chimbay was thrown from the roof of the vehicle as it fled northbound along 85th Street. The victim struck the pavement hard and sustained severe head trauma.

Officers from the 115th Precinct found the mortally wounded Chimbay while responding to a 911 call about the robbery. EMS rushed him to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Police sources could not state definitively Saturday whether Panama was the driver of the getaway car, or the thief initially caught in Chimbay’s vehicle. Panama has 12 prior arrests on his record, authorities said, with charges including burglary, gang assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and DWI. 

Panama faces charges of murder, robbery, assault, criminal mischief, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

The investigation remains ongoing, police noted, as the search continues for the other individual connected to the incident.

Anyone with information regarding the robbery or the other suspect can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.