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.