Police Watch: Assault in Stuy Town apt., man arrested for cell phone thefts

Town & Village reported last week of a robbery that took place at Crema Restaurant inside of 111 West 17th Street on September 12. Three Hispanic men in masks reportedly stole a cash register from the restaurant and threatened employees with a machete. The NYPD noted last Saturday that additional surveillance video has revealed that shows the suspects walking to and leaving the location, and also showed a fourth suspect who was acting as a lookout for the other three and never entered the restaurant.

Police arrested 35-year-old Terrance Avery for robbery outside Buffalo Exchange at 114 West 26th Street last Monday at 6:53 p.m. Store security saw Avery allegedly removing property from the store and placing it into a large black luggage bag. When security approached him and began to recover the merchandise, police said that Avery pulled out a pair of scissors and pointed them in the faces of three employees in a threatening manner. He allegedly told them, “You’re gonna stop! You’re making me angry!” He then fled the store with his loot, police said, but was stopped by officers in front of the store who also took away his scissors.

Herbert Washington, 61, was arrested for bail jumping last Tuesday at 4:23 p.m. at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 18th Street. He was also charged with possession of burglar’s tools, petit larceny, theft, resisting arrest and impersonation of a public servant. Washington and another man who wasn’t arrested were allegedly casing a number of businesses. An officer first approached the man who wasn’t arrested, who said, “It’s the other guy.”
When the officer approached Washington, he allegedly put stolen property into a large bag that was on the street median. Washington began to yell, “It’s not me, I didn’t take anything.” He allegedly ran in a circle and tried to knock the officer over while he was trying to arrest Washington. The officer asked passersby to call 911 for assistance and Washington allegedly gave false information about his identity when the officer asked. He was also in possession of a long metal spike commonly used to remove theft deterrent devices, police said.

Police arrested 59-year-old Stephanie Mercado, a Stuyvesant Town resident, for assault last Wednesday at 4:23 p.m. inside 1 Stuyvesant Oval. The victim, a home attendant, was caring for Mercado’s mother when the two got into an argument. The argument escalated and Mercado allegedly punched the attendant in the chest.

Police arrested 35-year-old Pedro Martinez for assault at the First Avenue L station last Sunday at 1:30 a.m. Martinez was on a Brooklyn-bound L train and allegedly punched another man in the face and back of the head. The blows caused substantial pain, bruising and swelling, as well as a small cut on the victim’s left cheek.

Thirty-year-old Andrew Bell and 25-year-old Evan Brauer were arrested for criminal trespassing at 101 East 15th Street last Thursday at 7:11 a.m. Bell and Brauer were allegedly inside an area where there are signs clearly posted that say “Area is closed, no trespassing.” Brauer was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and allegedly had a ziplock bag with marijuana and a pillbox with tablets of controlled substances in his pants pocket.

Two people involved in a drug deal were arrested in front of 10 East 23rd Street last Thursday at 9:59 a.m. Unice Jinks, 42, was arrested for sale of a controlled substance and allegedly exchanged money with Thomas Cargill, 53, for a controlled substance. Cargill was arrested for possession of a controlled substance.

Police arrested Christopher Wallace for assault in front of The Prince George at 14 East 28th Street last Thursday at 9:12 p.m. Wallace allegedly punched the victim in the nose after the two spoke for a few minutes, causing minor bleeding and soreness.

Police arrested Khiratullah Abdul-Haqq for grand larceny inside the Citibank at 115 East 23rd Street last Friday at 12:04 p.m. Abdul-Haqq allegedly walked into the location and attempted to deposit a fraudulent check of $4,120.24. The victim told police that he doesn’t know Abdul-Haqq and he did not issue the check.

Police arrested 27-year-old Elmer Quituizaca for petit larceny in the Union Square Ballroom at 27 Union Square West last Friday at 7:20 p.m. Quituizaca allegedly removed a cell phone from the bar top without permission and was seen in possession of the phone by the store manager and on video surveillance, police said.

Police arrested 49-year-old Dominic Quintero inside the 13th Precinct at 230 East 21st Street for petit larceny last Friday at 9:33 p.m. Quintero had allegedly stolen a cell phone from the bar area of Heartland Brewery at 35 Union Square West on a previous date. Quintero was arrested for petit larceny again  on Saturday at 1:15 p.m.  for allegedly stealing cell phones from Obica Mozzarella Bar at 928 Broadway and Punch Restaurant at 913 Broadway.

Police arrested Melshawn Davis, 35, for petit larceny last Friday at 8:53 p.m. inside the Staples at 5 Union Square West. Davis allegedly walked into the store, took a backpack from the shelf and started putting phone cases into the bag. The manager said that the phone cases were recovered but then realized that the backpack was still on his back. Davis allegedly became “irate” but was arrested soon after.

Thirty-three-year-old Michael Ratcliff was arrested for assault in front of a Holiday Inn at 125 West 26th Street last Sunday at 4:12 a.m. Ratcliff got into an argument with someone else and allegedly threw a postal container at him, hitting the victim in the face and causing a cut. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Police arrested Christophe Villacis, 24, for assault last Sunday at 7:05 a.m. at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 26th Street. Villacis and the victim got into an argument and Villacis allegedly punched the victim on the left side of his head, causing swelling and a cut.

Police arrested three people for violating unclassified New York State laws last Tuesday. The men were allegedly sleeping on public sidewalks inside cardboard boxes that were covering their bodies.
Ernesto Zayas, 34, was arrested in front of 101 East 15th Street at  6:57 a.m.
Eighteen-year-old Christian Tuyishime and Christopher Becerra, 25, were arrested in front of 220 Fifth Avenue at  7:28 a.m.  and both were also allegedly in possession of marijuana.

ID theft is common type of larceny in 13th Precinct

Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg gives the latest local crime stats at Tuesday’s 13th Precinct Community Council meeting. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg gives the latest local crime stats at Tuesday’s 13th Precinct Community Council meeting. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

In the first 13th precinct community council meeting after the summer break, the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg reported that after a mostly uneventful season, crime is up 5.2 percent this month. However, he added that crime is down for the year overall.

Grand larcenies, traditionally a problem for this area, were up this month but are also down 7 percent for the year and decreased during the summer, Ehrenberg said.

Identity theft is the most common type of grand larceny and the deputy inspector noted that the precinct is still having problems with thieves stealing debit card information with card scanners taped over ATMs.

When a resident at the meeting inquired about the bank’s awareness of the problem in their own ATMs, Ehrenberg added that they weren’t necessarily at fault for missing it.

“The skimmers are only on the ATM for a very short period of time, for about an hour,” he said. “They’re usually put on later in the evening after the bank was closed already so they wouldn’t always notice.”

Ehrenberg emphasized that residents should call 911 when they encounter one of these skimmers, which are easily recognizable because they are flimsy and attached with double-sided tape.

Felony assaults have also been a problem this summer but Ehrenberg noted that in most cases, the fights involved people that knew each other. The increases are also due to assaults of EMTs at Bellevue and the shelters in the area. Grand larceny auto is also up, with nine cars being stolen within the precinct this month, compared to six that had been stolen by the same point last year. Ehrenberg noted that there seems to be a trend there and that it’s mostly rental cars that are getting swiped.

“There’s a way they can overcome the security system that Zipcar uses,” he said. “There’s another way they can use the device to get in and steal the cars. It’s a popular system and it’s going to take them a while to change it, so we’re seeing an increase in that in the command.”

He added that residents don’t have to worry so much about a car they have rented being stolen because most of these incidents have occurred in the locations where the cars are picked up.

As in the past, grand larceny of unattended property continues to be a problem for the precinct.

“There are still a lot of laptops being left in restaurants and coffee shops. You’re not going to leave $2,000 in cash just sitting there, so don’t leave your laptop,” Ehrenberg warned.

Residents at the meeting were curious about the impact of the mayor’s Vision Zero plan, which was introduced over the summer. Captain Steven Hellman noted that since Mayor de Blasio has been in office, the precinct has seen decreases in collisions this summer. There is currently an arterial slow zone on Seventh Avenue and Sixth Avenue will be a slow zone this December.

As in most community council meetings in the past, residents also expressed their frustrations about cyclists who don’t follow the rules of the road, often riding on sidewalks and without lights at night.

One Stuyvesant Town resident said that he’s been seeing delivery people riding their bikes recklessly near his building at 21 Stuyvesant Oval.

“You’re going to find a body in 20 different pieces due to these bicyclists,” the resident said. “They’re like kamikazes coming around the curve behind 21 Oval. Someone is going to get killed on the bottom of the hill. Pedestrians are getting less safe.“

Police Officer John Sedita said that the NYPD has a good relationship with Stuyvesant Town’s Public Safety officers and would talk to them about the issue. Another resident, though, had a suggestion for those two-wheeled officers as well.

“Remind Stuy Town security that they need lights on their bikes, too,” the resident, who didn’t want to be identified, said at the meeting.