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Police arrest Oceanside man who had plane in driveway

Allegedly threatened Town of Hempstead employees with crossbow


The Oceanside man whose plane was removed from his driveway earlier this week was arrested for threatening Town of Hempstead employees over the phone.

Harold Guretzky, 70, had been keeping his plane, a Cessna 152, in the driveway at his house on Yale Street. The Town of Hempstead dismantled and removed the plane on April 20, saying he did not have permission to store it there.

On April 25 at 3 p.m., Guretzky called the office of the Town of Hempstead Supervisor. According to Nassau County Police, Guretzky verbally threatened two employees — Supervisor Anthony Santino and Chief Code Enforcement Officer Roy Gunther — with a crossbow.

Police arrested Guretzky on April 26 at 6:10 p.m. at his aircraft radio business in Richmond Hill, Queens. He has been charged with two counts of second-degree aggravated harassment.

A temporary order of protection was issued at Guretzky's arraignment on April 27 in First District Court in Hempstead. He was held on bail of $5,000 bond or $2,500 cash. His next court date is May 4.

The Town of Hempstead refused to comment on the arrest.

Guretzky is a student pilot who used to keep his airplane at Republic Airport, where he was charged $150 per day. Not wanting to continue to pay those fees, he had his plane dismantled last summer, brought to his home and reassembled.

Last fall, Guretzky was served with violation notices by the town, a $2,500 summons and several tickets for not having a permit to park the plane on his property.

Last week, citing the potential danger of residential storage of an airplane, which, according to building inspectors, is a violation of Hempstead’s building zone ordinance, the town ordered it taken apart.

Guretzky also has two large antennas in his back yard, 30 and 60 feet tall, which he uses for amateur radio transmissions but for which he does not have permits. He owns an aircraft radio company in Queens and repairs radios and televisions, doing some of the work in his home.

In a windstorm earlier this month, the town received reports that the airplane lifted three feet off the ground, and one of the antennas collapsed. Afterward, Bill Rockenseis, the town’s commissioner of engineering, issued a report that stated in part, “I cannot certify that the aircraft is properly secured in the event of a strong wind or storm to prevent it from uplifting, falling, collapsing or causing damage and injury to the occupants and/or adjacent property. Accordingly, I would recommend that the aircraft be removed immediately.”

The notices, posted on the home and served by certified mail, directed Guretzky to remove the airplane and the antenna by April 19 or face the removal of both by a Hempstead contractor.