Police Watch, July 17

Assault suspect

Assault suspect

The New York City Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a man who assaulted an off-duty NYPD detective in the confines of the 13th Precinct.
Last Saturday, a 29-year-old off-duty NYPD detective was standing on the southbound 6 train platform at the 23rd Street and Park Avenue station at 6:23 p.m. when the other man punched him. The blow knocked the detective down onto the platform, where he hit his head and sustained a severe head injury. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition. The suspect, who was accompanied by two women, fled the subway station on foot.
According to the Daily News, the detective had gotten into an argument with the man before the suspect punched him in the face. Gothamist reported on Sunday that the cop is now in a medically-induced coma.
The suspect is described as a black man in his early 40s, approximately 5’9” and 200 lbs. He is described as wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

Police arrested 36-year-old Shi Chen for reckless endangerment at 344 Third Avenue last Tuesday at 12:25 p.m. Chen was riding his bicycle on Third Avenue approaching East 25th Street. He was allegedly speeding and went through a steady red light. When he was going through the intersection, he almost hit a woman who was crossing the street in the crosswalk with her baby, police said.

After responding to a complaint from a pedestrian about man exposing himself on the sidewalk, police arrested Jason Ecnatiowicz, 33, last Tuesday, in front of the Foundry building at 310 East 23rd Street. Police said upon searching him, they found that he was allegedly in possession of a pipe with unknown drug residue and an unlabeled bottle of pills. He was arrested for alleged possession of a controlled substance, but not public lewdness.

Twenty-six-year-old Cikizwa Nkonzombi was arrested for assault at 112 East 23rd Street last Wednesday at 1:16 p.m. The victim told police that Nkonzombi was upset about the amount of money she was being charged in lawyer fees. She allegedly became enraged and began to throw paper around and strike the victim, who sustained small scratches to his hands.

Police arrested 20-year-old Shadi Torres for grand larceny last Wednesday at 12:24 a.m. in front of 601 East 20th Street. Torres allegedly entered a utility vehicle that had been left unattended and then went joyriding, hitting three vehicles and causing damage to those vehicles and the truck that he was driving.

Police arrested 28-year-old Duraiarasan Arivudai for sexual abuse in front of 161 West 15th Street last Monday at 6:49 p.m. The victim told police that she was walking east on the sidewalk when Arivudai ran up to her and pushed her against a UPS truck, causing her to hit her head on the truck. Arivudai also allegedly grabbed her head and tried to kiss her.

Thirty-six-year-old Ping Du was arrested for violating New York State law in front of 101 West 25th Street last Friday at 4 p.m. Du allegedly gave a massage to an undercover officer and could not produce a valid New York State massage license when asked.

Police arrested 55-year-old Mark Gaffney and 17-year-old Tairyn Rosario for possession of marijuana at 3 East 15th Street last Monday at 8:23 p.m. Gaffney and Rosario were allegedly each holding a joint in plain view on a public sidewalk.

Police arrested 57-year-old Marcos Cardenas at Sixth Avenue and West 26th Street after Cardenas was seen allegedly smoking synthetic marijuana.

A fourteen-year-old boy was arrested for grand larceny in front of 22 East 17th Street last Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. A man told police that he had left his Under Armour bookbag under the seat unattended at McDonald’s while walking his friend out to the front. After he returned to his seat, he saw that his bag was gone. A little while later, an NYPD lieutenant saw the teen at 22 East 17th Street. The teen was looking through the bag and seemed excited that there was a laptop in it. After the teen was arrested and brought to the precinct, the victim confirmed that the bag was his. The value of his stolen property was $1,655.

Police arrested 46-year-old Adolphus Ward for trespassing at the Chase bank at 501 Second Avenue last Wednesday at 6:57 a.m. Ward was allegedly inside the bank’s ATM area without permission.

Police arrested 45-year-old Kenneth Finch at 60 West 23rd Street last Wednesday at 2:57 p.m. for possession of burglar’s tools. Finch was allegedly cutting a lock that secured a bicycle at the above location and the victim confirmed that it was his bike. Finch was also in possession of a knife that was bigger than four inches, police said.

Forty-nine-year-old Gabriel Blake was arrested for weapons possession last Tuesday at 12:45 p.m. in front of 177 West 25th Street. Blake was suspiciously looking into the plastic bag that another man was carrying and he was allegedly carrying a gravity knife in public view. He also had a small gravity knife in his wallet, police said.

Police arrested 27-year-old Rosemary Lee for intoxicated driving at Sixth Avenue and West 26th Street last Thursday at 1:19 a.m. Lee was allegedly operating the vehicle with an obstructed license plate and when she was stopped, police found that she appeared to be driving under the influence of alcohol. She was tested at the scene with a portable Breathalyzer and recorded a level of .134.

Police arrested 50-year-old Garry Boake for possession of a controlled substance at Broadway and West 28th Street last Thursday at 3:45 p.m. Boake was allegedly purchasing marijuana from another unapprehended person at the corner and when police searched him, they found that he was in possession of a controlled substance.

Police have been regularly making arrests of people sleeping or lying on benches in public parks or being in the parks after hours. Last Tuesday morning, police arrested 38-year-old Jose Orta for lying on a bench at Stuyvesant Cove Park at East 23rd Street and the East River.

Twenty-three-year-old Emmalyn Sharf was arrested for grand larceny at 412 Third Avenue last Sunday at 5:47 a.m. Sharf allegedly swiped an iPod from someone’s pocket

My Verizon FiOS renewal nightmare

Seth Shire in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Seth Shire in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Seth Shire
Obfuscate: To stupify or bewilder. To darken or confuse.
I am writing this article to bring to light my experience with the misleading business practices of Verizon FiOS. I am hoping to save other residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village from the problems I have had.
Two years ago, in May of 2012, I accepted a FiOS offer for TV, internet and telephone. The cost was $84.99 per month, with a two-year contract. Adding in taxes and other charges the monthly total came out to $94 and change. The service that I received was fine.

This past May, knowing I was at the end of my two-year contract, I called Verizon FiOS to see what kind of a deal I could make to continue the service. I spoke to a Verizon representative (I’ll call him Representative #1) who told me that I could have the same services, with a two-year contract, for $95 a month (not including taxes and other charges).

I asked Representative #1 if I could have a lower rate if I dropped some channels from my cable package. He told me that he could put me on a lower channel tier but that I would lose some sports channels. I was fine with that but emphasized that I did not want to lose CNN or TCM (Turner Classic Movies).  Representative #1 assured me that I would not lose CNN or TCM. I agreed to the two-year contract.

The next time I turned on my TV I discovered that I no longer had TCM.
I called Verizon, spoke to another representative (Representative #2) and had TCM restored, which meant going back to my original channel tier. I then said that I would take the deal for all my present services for $95 a month (as had originally been offered to me by Representative #1).

I was then connected to another representative (Representative #3) who said I could no longer have that rate because I had been “grandfathered” in for the $95 monthly rate and, since I had moved to a different tier, I could no longer go back to that rate. I explained that the reason I had moved to the different tier was because of incorrect information (the promise of keeping TCM) made by Representative #1. Representative #3 said something to the effect of “Oh that’s just human error” and that there was nothing she could do about it.
I asked Representative #3 what kind of a deal she could offer me. After putting me on hold for quite a while she came back with an offer. She said she would increase my internet speed and keep my present TV and telephone package if I took a two-year contract. She explained that my monthly rate would be $90 for the first year ($105 with taxes and surcharges). She said she did not know what my rate would be for the second year. I agreed to this deal as it seemed to be the best I was going to get and with the knowledge that I had 30 days to cancel it.

I called back later and spoke to Representative #4. I said that I thought it unfair for me to commit to Verizon for two years when they were only committing to me for one year (the $90 monthly rate, for only one year). Representative #4 said my rate for the second year would be $114 per month, but that there would be discount deals available. She recommended that I take the $90 per month deal for now and that I call back in a year because there would always discounts available.
So my 30-day trial period ticked by (it is funny they call this the “30-day worry free” guarantee, considering what transpired). On the 31st day I received an email from Verizon telling me that my bill was now $185.  I called Verizon and spoke to Representative #5. I explained that my contract was for $90 month ($105 with taxes and surcharges). To my incredible frustration, Representative #5 told me that I had no contract at all!

When I explained about the $90 rate for one year with a two-year contract that I had been given (by Representative #4) and the increase in internet speed, Representative #5 said that no one would have given me that deal. When I recounted how Representative #4 said I should call back in a year to see what deals were available for the second year, Representative #5 claimed that they no longer negotiated with customers.
When I asked why my bill was $185 she said it included charges from May to June. When I explained that I had already paid my bill for May to June she gave me an incomprehensible explanation and told me that, going forward, my monthly bill (with taxes and surcharges) would be around $150! Representative #5 went on to tell me that she thought the deals that Verizon FiOS made for new customers were too good. She also told me to be a more careful consumer and get things in writing. Lesson learned.

To sum up: Representative #1 gave me incorrect information, which caused me to make a change to my plan. Representative #3 said that because I made a change in my plan I was no longer eligible for the $95 per month rate on a two-year contract. Representative #4 gave me a two-year contract with a monthly rate of $90 ($105 with taxes and surcharges) for the first year. Then I received a bill for $185. Representative #5 denied that I had any contract at all. She also said that Representative #4 never made me the offer that she had, in fact, made to me, and to which I had agreed.
Fortunately, here in Stuyvesant Town (and, I believe, in Peter Cooper Village also) we have choices other than Verizon FiOS. I am sure that Verizon has benefited enormously from selling services to residents of our community. This is how they showed their appreciation to me.

At the end of June I switched my telephone, TV and internet over to RCN. RCN has been a pleasure. Their internet is fast and the TV and telephone work just fine. The price for all three is reasonable. Instead of having to deal with a different customer service representative each time I call, as was the case with FiOS, at RCN I deal with one customer service representative. He returns calls and emails and is committed to customer satisfaction. The RCN technician who came to switch me over to RCN was the nicest, most patient and hardest working technician I have ever seen.

I would like to hear from other tenants who have had trouble with Verizon FiOS.
I can be contacted at seth@townvillage.net.

Editor’s note: Town & Village contacted Verizon FiOS regarding Shire’s customer service experience. Below is the response from company spokesperson Lee Gierczynski:
“Mr. Shire contacted Verizon to renew his FiOS services at end of his contract and wanted to retain the same pricing and products. Verizon made every attempt to keep costs/products similar yet current service offerings required changes which would have slightly increased his pricing.
“Due to a service order processing error, the pricing and products did change beyond what was discussed with Mr. Shire, which resulted in his dissatisfaction. Subsequent calls to Verizon did not resolve these issues, and Verizon is further reviewing the order.”

Seth Shire is a professor at CUNY Queens College during the summer and Queens College and CUNY York College during the fall. He also sometimes writes news articles and film reviews for Town & Village.