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Computer snafu is behind at least 50 'raids' on Brooklyn couple's home +

BY Kate Nocera and John Lauinger

Friday, March 19th 2010, 4:00 AM

Police come to Rose and Walter Martin's home on Thursday - this time to explain reason for years of faulty raids. Take our PollCity's most wanted?
Should an elderly Marine Park couple be compensated in some way because their home has been swarmed by cops more than 50 times?

Yes, it's been a very harrowing experience for them.
No, the police were just doing their job looking for criminals.
It's hard to say.

Related NewsArticlesCops have visited elderly couple's home at least 50 TIMES looking for crooksBlame it on a computer.

Embarrassed cops on Thursday cited a "computer glitch" as the reason police targeted the home of an elderly, law-abiding couple more than 50 times in futile hunts for bad guys.

Apparently, the address of Walter and Rose Martin's Brooklyn home was used to test a department-wide computer system in 2002.

What followed was years of cops appearing at the Martins' door looking for murderers, robbers and rapists - as often as three times a week.

After the Daily News exclusively reported on the couple's plague of police raids yesterday, apologetic detectives from the NYPD's Identity Theft Squad showed up at their home.

Rose Martin, 82, said they told her Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly ordered them to solve the puzzle - stat.

By the end of the day, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said the snafu was traced to a 2002 computer test, though he couldn't explain why the couple's address was used as a test case in the first place.

He said that when the Martins complained to cops in 2007 about their scary series of official doorknocks, police tried to wipe their address from the system.

But the raids continued. The most recent, on Tuesday, left 83-year-old World War II vet Walter Martin woozy from soaring blood pressure.

Investigators found yesterday that not every computer file bearing the Martin's address was deleted.

"It wasn't supposed to stay in [the system]," Browne said. "It's been removed."

In order to be "doubly cautious" in the future, Browne said cops have flagged the Martin's address so no officer will be dispatched to the home without double-checking the address.

A skeptical Rose Martin asked the department to write her an official letter, dubious that such a long-standing problem could be fixed in a day.

"It seems like too simple a correction for something that has been going on for eight years," she said.

Meanwhile, The News learned problems with the house go back to before the Martins bought it in 1997: The previous owner sold the modest Marine Park house because police and fire crews kept showing up at his door chasing bogus reports.

In his case, the freaked-out former owner - who fled the city because of what happened at the house - told The News he was being targeted by a still-unknown tormentor who sicced the cops on him 30 times in the three years starting in 1994.

"Someone was calling from different pay phones in the area, calling in fires, domestic disputes, kids screaming - whatever," said the man, who is still so scared he asked his name not be printed. "All totally unfounded."

The ex-owner said he complained multiple times starting in 1994, and his brother, a city firefighter, helped to get fire marshals to investigate.

The calls, which the marshals believed might have been made by a devious vengeful neighbor, stopped about six months before he sold to the Martins, he said.

"I always thought I was being targeted personally - and, to be honest with you, it freaks me out that it's happening again," the ex-owner said.


KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Gurpreet Singh was working his final shift as a 7-Eleven clerk, before moving on next week to full-time job at a hospital, when he was gunned down during a robbery.

Police say they can't explain why Singh, 35, was shot in the abdomen early Wednesday even after complying with the gunman's instructions to hand over his register's cash in a bag.

"He didn't put up a struggle at all," said homicide Detective Jeff Cowdrey. "He did what he was supposed to do and got shot for it."

The encounter was recorded on the store's surveillance cameras, and Kansas City police are working to identify the killer and two other people who were with him.

Singh, a divorced father of two whose family immigrated to the U.S. from India when he was in middle school, was to start a new job next week as a hospital kitchen supervisor. His brother, Gurbhushan Singh, said he could have skipped his final shifts at the convenience store -- where he'd already been robbed less than a month earlier -- but didn't because he had promised to be there.

Singh called 911 about 1:10 a.m., after the gunman fled, then collapsed on the floor. He later died in surgery.

Gurbhushan Singh said his brother was proud about his new job and told his children, ages 7 and 9, he was going to be "the boss." Gurbhushan Singh told the children Wednesday that their father wasn't coming home.

"They know they're never going to see him again," he said. "That was really hard."

Video surveillance shows the gunman, a man standing next to him and a woman who stood near the store's door.

Click to view image: 'fe77ed296ba6-alg_rose_martin.jpg'

Added: Mar-20-2010 
By: HydrogenEconomy
Tags: raid, brooklyn, home, police, snafu
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