By Sabina Mollot
Cops have arrested a resident of the 30th Street men’s shelter, who they believe is responsible for robbing five people at businesses. Police said that in one of the incidents, a female victim was bashed over the head with a stapler and in others the suspect threatened to kill his victims. Two of the alleged holdups were near Stuyvesant Town, two were in Kips Bay and a fifth was in East Midtown.
John Marino, 56, was collared on Friday at 4 p.m. after police from the 13th Precinct recognized him from surveillance photos. It wasn’t clear if they found him at the shelter or elsewhere within the confines of the precinct, which runs from 14th Street to 30th Street from Seventh Avenue to the East River.
UPDATE: Police spotted Marino last Friday at Bellevue Hospital around 4:20 p.m. after recognizing him from the surveillance photos and Marino allegedly entered a restricted area of the medical center while trying to flee. Police said that he attempted to climb a fence to avoid arrest, and he was also charged with criminal trespass.
One cop said Marino’s no stranger to the criminal justice system, with 18 prior arrests. Some are sealed but others include robbery, burglar and petty larceny.
For the recent incidents, he’s been charged with five counts of robbery, five counts of assault and five counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
The string of robberies began on Wednesday, October 19 when cops said Marino went to Kips Bay Cleaners at 231 East 34th Street and demanded money from a 44-year-old female employee. When the victim refused to comply, he alleged hit her on the head with a stapler before stealing $110 from the cash register. He then fled.
The next day at around 8:20 a.m., cops said Marino went to Health Source Pharmacy at 120 East 34th Street and demanded cash from a 36-year-old female employee. He then went behind the counter and pulled out a knife. The employee opened the register and the suspect swiped the cash inside before running off.
On Saturday, October 22 at around 9 a.m., cops said Marino went to the Chase Bank at 333 East 23rd Street and pushed a woman who’d just withdrawn money there back into the building. He then pulled out a knife and demanded her cash. The victim, who’s 25, turned over $40 and the robber fled.
On Monday, October 24 at around 11 a.m., Marino allegedly went behind the counter of Nature’s First Pharmacy at 313 First Avenue and told a 21-year-old female employee that he had a knife. When a customer approached them, Marino announced that he would shoot everyone, police said.
At one point, Marino allegedly threatened to stab the victim while cursing at her. “I’ll kill you. You don’t want to die,” he told her, according to a criminal complaint.
The employee then opened the cash register and Marino allegedly snatched $200 in cash and ran.
Police said he also threatened to kill a 74-year-old man working at Yani Master Tailor shop at 877 First Avenue and 49th Street on Wednesday, October 26. “Back the f— up or I’ll kill you,” Marino said according to a criminal complaint. He then allegedly ordered the victim to open the register, before snatching $300 in cash.
Allen Farbman, Marino’s Legal Aid attorney, said that Marino was only arrested for three of the five aforementioned incidents, but beyond that Farbman said he would have no comment.
In the criminal complaint, there are only three incidents mentioned — the ones at Chase Bank, Nature’s First Pharmacy and the tailor shop. A police spokesperson later explained that Marino is under suspicion for the other two but that the investigation was likely still ongoing.