Police Watch: Man arrested for Lillian Wald Houses murder, Man busted for bank break-ins

Police arrested 23-year-old Gary Biaz for the murder of 82-year-old Ella-Mae Biaz inside 711 FDR Drive at the Lillian Wald Houses last Friday. Police responded to a 911 call about two women assaulted around 5:35 p.m. and found the senior, who the New York Post reported was Biaz’s great-grandmother, with her wrists and ankles bound with tape.
A 39-year-old woman had also been tied up in the apartment and had managed to free herself and alert the police. The 82-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene and the second victim was brought to Bellevue Hospital for her injuries.
Biaz reportedly stole cash from his great-grandmother and drove off in a car belonging to the younger victim, the Post said. He was arrested later that night after being caught near Bedford Avenue and South Second Street in Williamsburg.
Biaz was charged with murder and attempted murder.

Police arrested 39-year-old Daniel Bertini for Flatiron bank burglaries that took place early Monday morning. The New York Daily News reported that Bertini was caught with $915 in stolen coins at 5:35 a.m. inside the Chase Bank at Sixth Avenue and West 18th Street. Police said that Bertini got cuts on his head when he resisted arrest and an officer hit him with a collapsible baton. He later told officers that he has a cocaine habit and had taken money from his mother. He allegedly burglarized that Chase branch, in addition to two other banks, to pay back his mother before she noticed that the money was missing. The Daily News reported that Bertini worked with a crowbar and a change of clothes and tried unsuccessfully to break into a Key Bank on East 22nd at 4:25 a.m. He allegedly managed to break into a Bank of America on Park Avenue South around 4:51 a.m. but didn’t take any money. Police said that Bertini, who lives with his mother in Chelsea, is also a suspect in eight bank jobs in Brooklyn, in addition to four thefts from a Manhattan bar and from a bodega.

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Council proposes ways to combat ‘high rent blight’

Small Business Committee Chair Council Member Robert Cornegy with a City Council attorney and Council Member Donovan Richards (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Small Business Committee Chair Council Member Robert Cornegy with a City Council attorney and Council Member Donovan Richards (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Suggestions include restrictions on chain stores, penalties for long vacancies of storefronts

By Sabina Mollot

The ongoing saga of New York City’s mom-and-pops facing extinction was the topic du jour at the City Council chambers on Friday, when a hearing was devoted to possible solutions. There were suggestions from Council members on ideas like restricting the ability of chains from opening (though this was shot down by city planners) and discussion on how to get businesses to open in neighborhoods that are currently underserved.

At the hearing, which was co-chaired by Small Business Committee Chair Robert Cornegy and Zoning and Franchise Sub-Committee Chair Council Member Donovan Richards, the Council members brought up “high rent blight,” a term coined by Columbia Professor Tim Wu to describe the warehousing of retail spaces by speculative landlords that’s led to many storefronts remaining empty for long periods.

“As Frank Sinatra once said, ‘If you make it here you can make it anywhere,’” said Cornegy, “but it seems that now real estate is so hot that even businesses who’ve made it (are closing). People have less and less interaction with bank tellers and we have banks on every block. We have commercial corridors with artificially inflated prices.”

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