Police Watch, May 22

A 36-year-old man reported that he was assaulted in front of No. 1 Chinese Restaurant at 263 First Avenue last Thursday at 9:30 p.m. He told police that he got into a fight with an unknown person who punched him in the face multiple times, causing a cut on his lips. The man then fled north on First Avenue. No arrests have been made.

An employee of Whole Foods told police that she was driving a vehicle belonging to her company at the northeast corner of First Avenue and East 20th Street last Saturday at 9:15 p.m. when she was involved in an accident. She told police that the other vehicle left the scene without stopping to exchange information.

A 37-year-old man reported that his car was broken into last Friday while it was parked in front of his office 225 East 17th Street. He told police that he parked the car on the south side of the street around 4 p.m. to go to work and the car was locked with all the windows rolled up. When he returned to the car at 9:10 p.m., he said that the contents of his glove box and car were thrown around and that three prescription pads were missing from the middle console. He said that he was sure the pads were in the car before he left. He said that none of the windows were broken but the back driver’s side window was lowered about one or two inches. There were no signs of forced entry.

Police arrested 22-year-old Alexander Zuluaga for intoxicated driving last Saturday at 5:10 a.m. at the northeast corner of the FDR and East 23rd Street. Police were responding to a motor vehicle accident at the scene and Zuluaga, one of the drivers involved, allegedly had the smell of alcohol on him and admitted that he had been drinking prior to the accident. He blew .132 on a Breathalyzer at the scene, police said.

Police arrested 53-year-old Eduardo Caraball for criminal possession of stolen property inside the flea market at Immaculate Conception in front of 409 East 14th Street last Saturday at 10:55 a.m. A plainclothes officer was inside the flea market in the church courtyard, a fencing-prone location, where Caraball was seen allegedly selling a white Galaxy Samsung phone that had been stolen from someone inside the 59th Street subway station last Wednesday.

A 48-year-old man reported that his bike was stolen after he parked it in front of 1 Rutherford Place last Wednesday at 10 p.m. He told police that he locked the bike to a pole and when he returned the next day at 8:36 a.m., the bicycle was gone but the lock was still attached to the pole.

Police arrested 38-year-old Erin Beck for obstruction of government administration last Friday at 11:37 p.m. in front of 150 East 18th Street. Beck asked a cab driver to bring her to East 18th Street and Irving Place and after arriving, her debit card was declined multiple times when she tried to pay the $20 fare.
Beck told the driver that if he brought her to her apartment at 105 East 18th Street, she would go up and get cash to pay the fare. She said that she would give the driver her declined card to hold as a way to prove that she would come back down. The driver waited about an hour before notifying the police and upon going up to her apartment, she refused to pay the fare initially, police said.
When she was told of the consequences of not paying, she allegedly took a jar of coins from her closet and shoved them in the arresting officer’s face. She allegedly told police to “get the f— out” of her apartment and refused to go downstairs to give the coins to the driver.

Police arrested 58-year-old Adrian Cook for criminal possession of stolen property last Saturday at 2:05 a.m. at the southwest corner of Irving Place and East 14th Street. Cook was on the sidewalk allegedly searching through a blue backpack not belonging to him, containing an Apple laptop, computer charger, cell phone charger and vitamins. Cook allegedly threw the backpack into the trash in an effort to conceal the crime. He was also found in possession of a crack pipe containing residue.

A 36-year-old man reported that he was assaulted while outside the Society Billiard Bar at 10 East 21st Street last Saturday at 3:45 a.m. He told police that he was leaving the bar when he bumped into someone else and they got into an argument. The other man then hit him on the head forcefully and several other men proceeded to punch and kick the victim, causing bruising and substantial pain. He said that he didn’t know the men who assaulted him and the men all fled in an unknown direction.

Police arrested 26-year-old Tymel Morgan for menacing inside NYC Wine Merchants at 745 Sixth Avenue last Friday at 4:39 p.m. The store owner told police that Morgan entered the store and removed a bottle of Terra Andina wine from the store without paying, so the owner followed him outside. Morgan then put the bottle on the ground, allowing the owner to take the bottle back. About 15 minutes later, Morgan returned to the store and when the owner asked him to leave, Morgan allegedly swung a broken beer bottle in the owner’s face in a threatening manner. Morgan allegedly became irate and started smashing bottles in the store, damaging six bottles of wine and then fled. He ran north on Sixth Avenue and police apprehended him in front of 125 West 24th Street.

Police arrested 45-year-old Robert Virgilio for assault inside the BRC at 127 West 25th Street last Friday at 4:30 p.m. Virgilio allegedly attacked two EMS workers who were on duty. One of the workers was punched and scratched in the face and the second was bit on the right side of his chest, kicked in the leg and punched in the back of the neck by Virgilio, police said.

A 49-year-old woman reported that she was harassed while she was bringing her son to PS 40 at 320 East 20th Street last Thursday at 9:35 a.m. She told police that she got into an argument with another parent, who has been harassing her over the last few months. Her son and the other woman’s son both go to PS 40 and live in the same building complex. She is in fear for her own safety and that of her son’s and is very alarmed. The school suggested that she file a police report about the incident.

Police arrested 32-year-old Shaunell Rios for forcible touching inside the Union Square subway station last Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. Rios allegedly rubbed and bumped his groin on a 38-year-old woman’s buttocks while on a downtown 5 train from 42nd Street Grand Central.

Police arrested 48-year-old Duval Simmons for grand larceny at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and East 14th Street last Wednesday at 10:50 a.m. While riding an Eighth Avenue-bound L train, police saw Simmons put his jacket over his right arm and allegedly put his hands inside the pants pocket of a 70-year-old man in an attempt to remove his property. Simmons stiffened up and flailed his arms to prevent being handcuffed.

Police arrested 27-year-old Ariel Visoso for unlawful surveillance last Thursday at 12:15 p.m. inside the Union Square subway station. Visoso allegedly placed a cell phone underneath the skirt of multiple women who were walking up the stairs while the recording feature was activated.

Police arrested 32-year-old Latrice Gregory for grand larceny inside the Banco Popular at 441 Second Avenue last Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Gregory allegedly went to the bank and opened a checking account with forged identification. She then tried to take an $8,000 loan once the account was opened and was pre-approved, police said.

Letters to the editor, May 22

Time to stop making excuses on housing laws

The issues surrounding affordable middle incoming housing in New York City are complex and depressing at best. In past years leaders like Senator Roy Goodman, Councilman Andrew Eristoff and Assemblyman Steven Sanders worked tirelessly to keep PCV/ST a float for thousands of families. These Republicans and Democrats together saw the value in preserving this unique community.

Now after the sale by Met Life and the events surrounding it, it has become a circus of lawyers, politicians and greedy real estate moguls who cannot agree and have no vested interest or vision in preserving the community and its original purpose.

Politicians and the like continue to make excuses such as no movement in Albany on campaign finance reform, ineffectual rent laws and chronic Republican-bashing.

If State Senator Hoylman had stayed after his talk at the tenants meeting on Saturday, May 10, he might have heard questions from the floor by people who are directly affected by this housing crisis and shared his ideas about what he might actually do to support the efforts to preserve the PCV/ST community, instead of passing the buck and again blaming it all on the Republicans’ eternal blockage in the state housing committee.

Are we really so strapped politically? If this issue of affordable middle class housing is really a priority, you can’t just give it lip service. The most movement in this whole situation, quite frankly, has been the persistent hard work of the ST-PCV Tenants Association.

Frank J. Scala, ST
Albano Republican Club

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Robberies, larcenies down in 13th Precinct, assaults are up

Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, pictured at a recent meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, pictured at a recent meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Crime was down 4.7 percent overall in the 13th precinct last month, with robberies, grand larcenies and car thefts all down as well. Burglaries, often a problem for the precinct, were even for the month. Felony assaults were up but in most cases, the people involved knew each other or it had to do with incidents involving EMTs and peace officers.
The neighborhood’s recent crime was reviewed at the 13th Precinct Community Council meeting last Tuesday by the precinct’s commanding officer, David Ehrenberg.
“We’ve been getting crushed with burgs but we were down seven residential burglaries this month,” Ehrenberg said. “There’s still an issue with commercial burglaries and we’re trying to get businesses with burglary alarms and preventative measures.”
He added that a number of residential burglaries were still occurring because apartment doors were being left unlocked.
“You could have the best lock in the world but if it’s not locked, it’s not going to do any good,” he said. “It’s common sense to lock your door. It’s our responsibility to catch the crooks but we need your help to prevent it.”
Grand larcenies were down in the last month and the numbers are down for the year as well.
“We’re very happy with those numbers,” Ehrenberg said. “Property theft is what drives our crime and we drive a lot of city crime just because of those numbers, so we’re glad it’s down.”
While grand larcenies are down overall for the neighborhood, Ehrenberg noted that the theft of unattended property and identity theft have increased slightly. ATM skimmers continue to be a problem for the precinct and Ehrenberg advised residents to check the card readers at the machines to make sure they’re not the flimsy scanners attached by criminals attempting to steal personal information and to cover the keypad while entering the card’s PIN.
Ehrenberg continued to be baffled by the number of unattended property thefts in the precinct in places like Starbucks, mainly because the crime is so preventable.
“We took a walk to a lot of different places in the precinct today and we saw a lot of laptops just sitting there,” he said. “You’re not going to leave $500 sitting out but people are leaving $1,000 and $2,000 computers unattended. It’s an opportunist’s crime.”
Grand larceny auto, specifically of motorcycles, was a major problem for the precinct last year but Ehrenberg said that the precinct is down for the month and the year in car thefts.

Stuy Town resident says gold watch was stolen from apartment, then returned

Frank Scala, at a recent Tenants Association meeting, discusses how his gold watch went missing. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Frank Scala, at a recent Tenants Association meeting, discusses how his gold watch went missing. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
During a string of burglaries a year ago in Stuyvesant Town, when someone who may have been working for the property stole jewelry from apartments, longtime resident Frank Scala’s was one of them.
Only in his case, when a gold watch was stolen, it was returned.
Though it’s a year later, the incident was clearly fresh in Scala’s mind when he discussed it at a Tenants Association meeting on May 10.
Scala, who owns the La Scala barber shop on Fifth Avenue, is also a community activist, serving as the president of 13th Precinct Community Council and the Albano Republican Club.
He brought up the burglary during a Q&A period, though the only answer he got was the stunned silence of his neighbors in the audience.
According to Scala, the incident occurred on the day that work was being done on his apartment’s intercom. He hadn’t particularly wanted to let anyone in his home while he was at work, but the intercom work wasn’t optional.
So naturally, Scala was shocked to discover when he came home later that day that his gold watch was missing. He’d noticed it was gone when he’d opened a drawer looking for something else. Two gold rings and another watch, this one just a knockoff of a Rolex design, were also missing.
Scala, who’s now 75, called Public Safety and the police.
Then, said Scala, a week after the incident, he returned home from work to find the watch, inside a plastic grocery store bag that was hanging off his doorknob.
He said he wasn’t completely surprised about this as the watch, while valuable with platinum and diamond accents, had his name engraved inside. “You can’t sell it because it’s unique,” he told Town & Village. The rings, he added, were never returned.
Adding insult to injury, said Scala, is that the work that was done on his intercom was never completed. “There’s been a hole in the wall where the intercom used to be.”
This week, a detective at the 13th Precinct said the case is closed since the watch was found. A spokesperson for CWCapital declined to comment.
Last May, four burglaries were reported, each one at buildings in Stuyvesant Town where repairs were being made on the intercoms. Scala’s is one of them. The burglar or burglars, who never left any sign of forced entry, took thousands of dollars worth of expensive gold jewelry in each apartment hit. The pattern stopped, however, after a master key was taken away from the contractors doing the work.