A 31-year NYPD veteran who battled his way back from cancer collared his last criminal in Times Square yesterday. Detective Nelson Dones saw 26-year-old Fernando Francis allegedly swipe an iPhone from an undercover detective on the N/Q/R platform. "It was closing the door the way I would have loved to close the door on my career," Dones told DNAinfo. "I wanted to be proactive." A colleague says Dones, who worked for the Transit Police when it was a separate bureau, is skilled at spotting subway thieves: "He has the eyes. He has the X-Ray vision." He also apparently has a voice "just like Al Pacino." HOO-AH.
Dones, a 57-year-old father of three who has participated in more than 100 undercover stings, was diagnosed with cancer of his lymph nodes in 2000. The cancer had spread to his bone marrow, and Dones spent a year undergoing chemotherapy. After an experimental treatment in Texas and a bone marrow transplant from his brother, he returned to work in 2005 as a Field Training Officer (a veteran cop mentors younger members of the department). "Cancer is a life-changing event," Dones says. "I wanted to teach young people what I was taught. It was a tremendously fulfilling experience."
Commissioner Ray Kelly was moved to speak on the retiring cop's behalf: "This is a fitting culmination of an outstanding career." Though Dones's voice will be missed—colleagues say he would shout "Bring it!" to "pump up" his peers—Dones says he plans on teaching a quality-of-life course to PBA members in addition to starting a business. "I'm still alive and I can make an impact on people."