Among the beautiful sights and sounds in the Massapequa Preserve that residents enjoy taking in, nude men is not one of them.
Recently, the Seventh Squad reported two unusual incidents that occurred in the park. The first occurred on Oct.19 at 12:15 p.m. when Andrew Parrucci, 57, of Amityville, was observed by a female victim, 39, in the Massapequa Preserve west of Lake Shore Drive and north of Jerusalem Avenue. According to detectives, the defendant aggressively walked towards the victim without any clothing on, causing the victim to become alarmed. When an unknown woman on a bicycle approached, the defendant ran behind the victim into a wooded area and disappeared into the heavy brush. The victim then notified the police and an investigation led to Parrucci, who was arrested at his home on Oct. 21 at 11:45 p.m. He was charged with one count of public lewdness and was arraigned on Oct. 22, in First District Court in Hempstead.
The second incident occurred days after on Oct. 23, at 3:22 p.m. when according to detectives, a female victim, 51, was jogging in the preserve, when she saw a 5’ 10” tall black man of 40-50 years of age with a skinny build, black hair and facial hair, running in the running lane. The man was naked from the waist down, and was wearing a dark green zip down sweatshirt with the hood up. The suspect then fled southbound on the running path. Detectives have yet to find the man, and are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-8477. As always, all callers will remain anonymous.
According to officer Eloise Abdullah of the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD), there are patrols in place to catch the second man.
“We did intensify the patrols for the people who do walk and ride their bikes in the preserve,” she said.
With the same activity mere days apart in a public place enjoyed by residents, bikers, families and children, many are concerned about what is being done to take precautions for future encounters.
“We ask people to always be aware of their surroundings and consider not running alone,” added Detective Vincent Garcia of the NCPD. “Carry a cell phone and also consider carrying a whistle or other object that can draw attention to yourself.”
Parents of schoolchildren were also concerned over this incident as Grace Day School is nearby and the Massapequa High School is down the street. Superintendent of Schools Lucille F. Iconis sent out a letter to parents of students, reassuring them of the students’ safety.
“As you may be aware, there has been, and continues to be police activity in the Massapequa Preserve related to recent reports of acts of public lewdness. The school district and our security staff continues to be in consistent communication with the Seventh Precinct, and are vigilant in ensuring the safety of our students and staff,” Iconis stated in the letter. “These instances serve as a reminder to reinforce ‘stranger danger’ rules and the importance of safety with all of our youngsters. It is essential for parents to reinforce with their children, safety protocols and steps to follow if they are confronted by a stranger or placed in an uncomfortable situation, and the importance of reporting such instances to a responsible adult.”
Richard Schary, president of the Friends of the Massapequa Preserve said that in the 16 years he has been involved with the preserve, nothing like this has happened before.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time and it has always been a very safe place. One or two incidents don’t ruin it,” he said. “We always try to stress the positive. The cold weather is coming and I’m hopeful this will not happen again.”
Schary has been in communication with the police department and said they are doing everything they can with bike patrol and undercover officers. His wife, Lisa, who is also actively involved in the upkeep of the preserve, said that it is a family place that people will continue to enjoy.
“We are there frequently seeing families walking with their kids and people taking pictures. Rich and I go on the hiking trail and we always see baby carriages and people enjoying themselves and the beauty of the preserve,” she said. “Just remember to always have the buddy system and we always caution people that if they see something, to say something.”