Police Watch: Man busted for assault at Associated, Police looking for men targeting cab drivers

Police arrested 23-year-old Thomas Commender for assault in front of the Associated Supermarket at 409 East 14th Street last Monday at 11:12 p.m. An employee at the store told police that she got into an argument with Commender because he was refusing to leave the store. Commender then allegedly ripped the employee’s pants. Police said that he was also flailing his arms and scratched the victim’s neck and left arm. The incident caused her to fall to the ground and bruise her knee, but she refused medical assistance.

Police are looking for a group of men believed to be responsible for multiple robberies throughout Midtown and Union Square, specifically targeting cab drivers. The most recent known incident was on Friday, July 22 around 10:30 a.m., when two men approached a cab that was stopped in traffic in front of 853 Broadway just south of Union Square Park. One of the men approached the driver’s door and asked to go to Brooklyn and while he was distracted, the second man opened the passenger’s side door and snatched cash from the center cup holder. The driver attempted to stop him but the first man punched him in the face and both men fled on foot west on 14th Street.
On the same day not long after, around 11:20 a.m., the two men reportedly stole a cab driver’s backpack when they entered his cab in front of 894 Sixth Avenue at West 34th Street.
The first in the string of robberies took place on Sunday, July 10 at 4:40 p.m. when two men got into a cab at 400 Fifth Avenue near West 36th Street asked to be taken to the Bronx. They stole the driver’s iPhone 6S from the seat and cash from his shirt pocket and fled.
One of the suspects hit another cab driver on Fifth Avenue at West 35th Street on July 14 at 2:30 p.m. when the driver was dropping passengers off at the intersection. The man got into the front seat of the cab and grabbed the driver’s wallet, and fled north on Fifth Avenue towards West 36th Street.
The two suspects reportedly entered a cab at Sixth Avenue and West 38th Street on Saturday, July 16 just after 10 p.m. and grabbed cash that was on the armrest. They fled south on Sixth Avenue.
Two days later, three men reportedly robbed a driver who was dropping off passengers around 11 a.m. in front of 349 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street. Police said that one of the men entered the cab on the passenger’s side and took cash off the center console, fleeing west on 34th Street. The two other men fled south on Fifth Avenue.
The men are described as black, in their late teens to mid-20s, with slim builds and medium complexions. One of the men has a tattoo of the Batman logo on the inside of his left arm.
Anyone with information in regard to these incidents is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Continue reading

Man arrested for groping woman across from PCV

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a man for groping a woman across the street from Peter Cooper Village over the weekend.

The woman was walking north on the west side of First Avenue near East 20th Street with her boyfriend last Sunday at 2:50 a.m. when they crossed paths with 36-year-old Michael McDonald. McDonald allegedly grabbed the victim’s breast and fled north on First Avenue.

Police said that the victim went back to her apartment while her boyfriend flagged down a nearby police officer as he was following McDonald on First Avenue. Police detained McDonald at the corner of First Avenue and East 23rd Street. The victim returned to the street and positively identified McDonald as the man who allegedly groped her.

McDonald was charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse.

His lawyer did not want to comment on the case.

Teen arrested for violently mugging woman on Asser Levy Place

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A teenage girl was arrested for mugging a woman at the corner of East 25th Street and Asser Levy Place on Sunday night, police said.

The victim told police that three or four girls approached her from behind, pulled her to the ground by her hair and punched her as they stole her cell phone and wallet, which contained the victim’s credit cards. Police saw the incident and approached the girls immediately following the mugging, causing the teen with the wallet to drop it while they all attempted to flee.

The teen who was arrested was caught in front of 421 First Avenue at 10:39 p.m. and was charged with robbery and theft. Her name is being withheld due to her young age. None of the other girls were arrested.

Police said the teen admitted that she and her friends had planned to rob someone and also confirmed that the wallet belonged to the woman who was robbed.

The victim had a bruise on the left side of her neck and complained of pain in her neck and head, but she refused medical assistance at the scene.


Fujifilm opens modern day photo print shop in Flatiron

Wonder Photo on Fifth Avenue (Photo by  Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Wonder Photo on Fifth Avenue (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

As tourists wander around Madison Square Park taking pictures that mostly stay trapped inside their phones, a new shop nearby on Fifth Avenue is hoping to encourage these photographers to create more lasting memories with the snaps.

Photography company Fujifilm opened Wonder Photo Shop at the end of July and an employee told T&V that the purpose of the store is to get people more engaged in photography by having their photos printed out instead of only stored on their devices.

The store features a DIY lounge that will soon offer classes from experts and special guests to help crafters create personalized photo products and there is a variety of scrapbooking materials to choose from. There will also be classes available on the technical aspects of photography.

Continue reading

Burglar manages to steal from same bank twice

Burglary suspect

Burglary suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are hunting a burglar who’s been hitting banks during non-business hours, including one bank in NoMad he successfully stole money from twice.

According to police the suspect, a light skinned man, forcibly enters each bank by breaking or removing glass panels when the bank is closed and steals cash.

The pattern began on Wednesday, April 6 when at 6 a.m., he got inside the Investors Bank at 276 5th Avenue at 30th Street, pried open a teller drawer and took cash.

On Sunday, July 24, at approximately 11:50 a.m., he returned and forcibly opened a locked safe to get cash.

He headed back to the bank a third time on Tuesday, August 9, at around 4 a.m. and again forcibly opened the teller drawer. This time, however, he left empty handed.

Continue reading

Tenants tell tourists: Take your picnic somewhere else

By Sabina Mollot

Last Friday, after word got out about an article suggesting places to visit in New York included a mention of Stuyvesant Town as “a secret picnic location,” a handful of residents reached out to demand — successfully — that the information be removed from the online story.

By Monday morning, the mention of the private property was gone, with Chelsea Waterside Park instead mentioned as a quiet place for tourists to have a picnic in the online article by the UK Evening-Standard.

Susan Steinberg, president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, later said that she was one of the residents to ask for the removal of the information by contacting the editor. A few others had made a similar request.

“It seems a lot of people are calling our Oval a public park,” said Steinberg. She noted how the article had mentioned there were few spots downtown to set down a picnic with food bought at the Union Square Greenmarket, so she argued that that’s simply untrue.

“By the greenmarket, there’s a park,” said Steinberg. “There’s Madison Square Park. There’s Tompkins Square Park, all of which are public while we are private.”