Unsung Hero #85

Yvonne O’Kane’s dog barked frantically at 1 a.m. last month. She woke up, looked in the back of her Old Hill area home for deer, then took him outside to do his duty.

A few hours later, her husband went outside. Yvonne’s Mercedes convertible was gone.

The police arrived within 3 minutes. A great officer, Rachel Baron  — “lovely, compassionate and professional” — took the information. She described the work of crime gangs in Waterbury and Newark.

Because Yvonne’s checkbook and credit cards had been in the car, the officer told her to call her bank and card companies to freeze her accounts.

That morning, Yvonne headed to the police station to provide more information. Detective Phil Restieri was “awesome,” she says.

Detective Phil Restieri

He already had information: Her car had crossed the George Washington Bridge at 4 a.m. Someone had tried to use her credit card at Starbucks and McDonald’s in Newark. He gave her more advice on how to handle her lost items, and deal with her insurance company.

Phil told her that her car might be headed for a container ship. He was working with law enforcement contacts on the docks. “Everyone was already alerted,” Yvonne says.

Phil was calm, and reassuring. “His diligence and confidence gave me confidence,” Yvonne says.

Whenever she checked in, he had time for her. He — and the department — “really stayed on the case,” she adds. “No one ever made me feel like an idiot.”

After 3 weeks, Phil called. Yvonne’s car had been found, on the side of a Newark street.

He explained that stolen cars are often left on roadsides — or moved from garage to garage — until an order comes in from operatives for that particular make or model.

But Phil’s work was not done. He told Yvonne that he’d already arranged to have her vehicle towed to a safe place.

Yvonne got Westport Center Services to bring the car back from New Jersey. They delivered it to a service center in Bridgeport.

Yvonne was hesitant to go there at night. She worried there might be a weapon in the car. So — long after his shift was over — Phil met her in Bridgeport.

“It was awesome to have a police officer there,” Yvonne says. “He couldn’t have been nicer. And he said if I needed anything else, to just call.”

Phil Restieri — and all his colleagues at the Westport Police Department — are Yvonne O’Kane’s Unsung Heroes.

But here’s the thing: This is the kind of thing they do all day, every day.  We don’t hear about stories like this, unless they impact us. Or unless someone like Yvonne tells us.

So: If you’ve got a Westport Police Unsung Heroes story to share, click “Comments” below.

(Want to nominate your own Unsung Hero? Email dwoog@optonline.net) 

13 responses to “Unsung Hero #85

  1. I love these posts Dan. Just what we need to hear more of these days.

    Thank you.

    Steve Mochel Parent, CEO Fresh Green Light 203.861.1188


    Named to the 2018 Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies in the US.

    This message is not worth reading while you are driving or walking.


  2. Arline Gertzoff

    Kudos to the Westport Police 👮 for their great work .But why do people leave anything of value in their car/or leave it unlocked?It takes maybe an extra minute to secure things?
    Good luck to all

  3. Michael Vitelli

    Great story; thanks.
    Det. Phil Resteri exhibited the definition of “protect and serve”.

  4. I’ve met and worked with Detective Phil Restieri. Outstanding professional and all around nice guy!

  5. What a Uplifting Story about a Wonderful Guy … I’ve known Phil sense his early Teens .. I’ve also had the opportunity to see him raise trough his ranks of the WSPD … He’s also a locally raised Guy who has a Heart of Gold ..

  6. Good people at the WPD.We are lucky to have them. And Phil sits at my old desk in the Detective Bureau..Nice job guys.

  7. Good thing we all sat idly by while the town destroyed their retirement benefits. Sure this “uplifting” story will make them feel better

  8. I liked the story and a GREAT job. Phil is a very competent Detective. Kudos.The officers of WPD are a cut above the rest.

  9. Diana Pils Marino

    Great story. Good to know how adept and state of the art they are!!

  10. Dick Lowenstein

    Good police work, but a question: Was the car locked or unlocked?

  11. For sure, Detective Restieri gave support, guidance and friendliness to Ms. O’Kane, but the departments unity, professionalism and concern stems from
    the extraordinary leadership of Chief Foti Koskinas ; a uniformed gift to Westport.

  12. While I’ve never experienced anything as dramatic as this, all the interactions I’ve had with our local police department over the years have been positive ones. Like all police officers, ours have difficult, dangerous jobs, yet they always seem to go about them in a manner that puts people at ease while still taking care of what is often very nasty business.

    Congratulations and thanks to Detective Restieri and all his colleagues. And I’m glad Ms. O’Kane got her car back!

  13. Phil Symonette

    Detective Phil Restieri is an outstanding Police Officer. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few months back. He is super supportive, always attentive and treats you like a friend.

    We are lucky to have police officers like Detective Restieri in Westport and it’s important that we let them know it!