By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police arrested three men for stealing packages in a Stuyvesant Town building this past Tuesday afternoon. Emicel Basurto, 29, Damon Barnes, 40, and Jemal Martin, 42, were busted inside 435 East 14th Street at 2:52 p.m. while allegedly going through packages that had been delivered to the building.
A representative for StuyTown Property Services said that a janitorial supervisor noticed a man fitting the description of an alleged package thief walking near East 14th Street and Avenue A with two other men. Management knew what the suspect looked like because of surveillance video taken at buildings where thefts had previously occurred.
According to the District Attorney’s office, Basurto could be seen on video surveillance entering 453 East 14th Street on December 27 around 4:30 p.m. He allegedly took an elevator upstairs and left shortly after, but police said that a package that had been confirmed delivered was not at her apartment when she got home.
The employee who spotted the three men earlier this week notified Public Safety, which contacted the 13th Precinct, and the men continued into Stuyvesant Town, allegedly gaining access to 435 East 14th Street. The DA’s office said that Basurto gained access to the building by following a resident inside he reportedly placed a piece of paper in the door to prevent it from locking. Barnes and Martin allegedly entered the building shortly after.
The three suspects were arrested after police and Public Safety officers headed to the building entrances and stairwells, and the men were nabbed while going down the stairs. Police recovered a speaker and t-shirts in a bag, which Barnes was allegedly carrying. The NYPD reportedly discovered ransacked packages on various floors of the building.
Both Basurto and Barnes were in possession of razor blades that were used to cut open boxes, police said.
Basurto and Barnes were charged with burglary, burglar’s tools and criminal possession of stolen property. Martin was charged with burglary and criminal trespass.
Basurto was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance because he had a straw in his pocket that had alleged cocaine residue on it.
Both Martin and Barnes were granted supervised release, but Basurto was remanded because there was a warrant for his arrest in Madison, Wisconsin. Attorneys for the three suspects did not respond to a request for comment.
This story has been updated.