Thieves preying on victims at coffee bars around Union Square

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a man this past Monday who is suspected of snatching unattended bags from the Starbucks at 10 Union Square East, which police say has been a hotbed of thefts for the last few months. The precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, said at last week’s Community Council meeting that the precinct has especially been struggling with thefts from the chain throughout the city because the company has been reluctant to provide surveillance video.

“One of the main ways we can catch these guys is with video and Starbucks has not been very cooperative,” Hellman said. “We’ve followed up with subpoenas and we’ve still never been able to retrieve a single video from them.”

Starbucks did not return a request for comment by T&V’s press time.

Despite the lack of cooperation from the coffee chain, the man who was arrested, 60-year-old Prince Wright, was picked up inside the Starbucks location at 25 Union Square West this past Monday by officers who recognized him from a photo. Police connected him to two grand larcenies at the 10 Union Square East location on March 2 and 12, as well as thefts from two more at Starbucks locations in the Midtown South precinct.

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Ticketing blitz hits drivers in Stuy Town

Drivers parked in the loop roads have been slapped with tickets. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuy Town drivers, beware.

A recent and ongoing ticketing blitz in the loop roads around the Oval has local motorists on edge for a couple of reasons. First, generally, parking tickets are the domain of Stuyvesant Town’s own public safety department, whose officers are deputized to issue them for infractions. Additionally, they offer a 15-minute grace period to drivers loading and unloading at times when parking isn’t permitted. This grace period was arranged by then-Assembly Member Steven Sanders and the city in 2002.

But all that has changed within the past couple of months. Residents have been complaining on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s Facebook page, as well as to the office of Council Member Keith Powers, about an NYPD crackdown on illegal parking, that came without warning.

The infractions were for idling as well as for parking in spots where “No Parking” signs were posted. A rep for Powers noted that public safety typically lets drivers know when they can re-park after street sweeping is concluded but that tends to be before the “No Parking” signs indicate.

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Robber pulls away cane from man, helps him back up, then steals his cash

Apr5 Robbery elder suspect

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are hunting a man who violently robbed a 70-year-old man on Park Avenue South on Tuesday by pulling his cane away from him as he walked along the sidewalk. After the victim fell to the ground, the suspect took his wallet. Then, upon seeing that there were people approaching them, the robber helped the victim get back to his feet. However, before fleeing west on East 24th Street, he snatched $15 in cash from the victim’s wallet.

The suspect is described as unshaven and light-skinned and was last seen wearing a black knit cap, a gray hooded sweater with red lining, a black jacket and camouflage shoes.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident 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. All calls are strictly confidential.