Police Watch: Man arrested for allegedly filming woman, Handy.com worker accused of theft

MAN ALLEGEDLY FILMED TEEN MCDONALD’S EMPLOYEE WHILE SHE WAS CHANGING
Police arrested 19-year-old Jose Urtarte Encarcanacion for alleged unlawful surveillance inside the McDonald’s at 401 Park Avenue South and East 28th Street on Friday, October 26 at 5:07 p.m. According to the District Attorney’s office, the 17-year-old victim went into a unisex single-person changing area for employees at the restaurant.

Police said that the private area has a curtain that can be closed, and the victim went inside to change her clothes. She said that once she was in the changing area, she noticed an iPhone 7 plus propped up on the coat rack with the camera app open, and she saw that the phone was recording video. Police said that officers recovered the phone from Encarcanacion’s pocket while he was in the back office of the McDonald’s. At the time, he also allegedly said, “Am I in trouble? Will there be any punishment? The phone must have clicked on the video camera. iPhones do that.”

An attorney for Encarcanacion could not be reached for comment.

HANDY.COM WORKER ACCUSED OF THEFT
Police arrested 26-year-old Destiny Matos for an alleged theft from an apartment at 39 West 16th Street on October 8 around 7 p.m. Police said that while Matos was working for cleaning service Handy.com, she allegedly took the victim’s credit card from her apartment and later made several unauthorized charges. Matos was charged with grand larceny inside the 13th Precinct on Tuesday, October 23 at 7:48 p.m.

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Haunted subway in Union Square

Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

As if the subway weren’t scary enough on a daily basis, the NYPD created a family-friendly haunted house inside the Union Square subway station earlier this month. The enclosed structure was set up in the station’s underground hallway near the 15th Street exit.

Officers for Transit District 4, which is located within the Union Square station, dressed in costume to hand out cotton candy and other treats to kids. Despite the real-life nightmare of commuting, the haunted house proved popular, with crowds lined through the station on Thursday afternoon in the midst of the evening commute, waiting to get inside.

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Last Petite Abeille, in Peter Cooper Village, has closed

June18 petite abeille

The Petite Abeille in Peter Cooper Village opened in 2004.

By Sabina Mollot

Belgian restaurant Petite Abeille closed the last of its locations on Sunday night, which operated in Peter Cooper Village since 2004.

The owners announced the closure on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Friday, blaming rising operational costs. However, in recent years, Yves Jadot, who owned the restaurant with his brothers David and Christophe, said it was hard to operate a restaurant anywhere in the city unless it’s very cheap or very expensive. Last year, the original Petite Abeille, on West 17th Street in Chelsea, closed. In 2015, the Tribeca location closed with Jadot saying at the time there was too much competition from food trucks for the local lunch crowd. At one time there were four locations of Petite Abeille in Manhattan, the first one opening in 1995.

On Facebook, the owners said, “New York has undergone many changes in the 22 years we’ve been in business and unfortunately the rising cost of operating a neighborhood restaurant is one of them. As a small local business, we are simply not able to carry the hefty costs any longer in order for our business to be financially viable.”

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Letter to the editor, Oct. 25

Oct25 Toon Cuomo

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

How we can help save the planet

To the Editor,

The election on Tuesday, November 6 comes with environmental issues like climate change that have both immediate and longterm consequences for everyone on Earth and the Earth itself.

Scientists have made dire predictions about increased temperatures and both the melting of sea ice and the increase of storms and forest fires. On September 28, 2018 the Washington Post reporters Ellperin, Dennis and Mooney let it be known that the present administration in Washington foresees and assumes in its 500-page environmental impact statement that the planet will warm a disastrous “7 degrees rise in global temperature by 2100.”

The present administration, according to Michael MacCracken, a senior scientist at the Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002, says that “human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society.” And then MacCracken says that the present administration “is not going to do anything about it.” Continue reading

Mugger threatens to break woman’s face in Kips Bay

Nov1 Robber

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who tried to grab a woman’s purse near Baruch College, while threatening to hurt her.

Police said the man followed a 28-year-old woman as she walked towards a building in the vicinity of East 25th Street and Lexington Avenue on Monday, September 24 at 2 p.m.

First he asked her for money, but when they reached the door, he grabbed her bag and said, “Say no and I’ll break your face.” The victim, however, managed to get away from him and keep her bag. The mugger then ran off.

The suspect is black, bald and was last seen wearing a white shirt, dark pants and black boots.

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, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Cop recognized for arrest of suspect in Stuy Town sexual assault

Police Officers William Blum and Brendan Bellew with Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, and 13th Precinct Community Council President Frank Scala (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Two cops from the 13th Precinct were recognized for catching the man who was later charged with a sexual assault in Stuyvesant Town that took place on Monday, October 8.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman awarded officers Brendan Bellew and William Blum last Tuesday as Cops of the Month for catching Melvin Collins, 36, the day after the incident occurred.

Hellman said that the woman who was assaulted had been hired by residents of Stuyvesant Town to clean their apartment and had been buzzed in by security as she had in the past when Collins allegedly followed her into the building.

Collins then attempted to sexually assault her while in the elevator, Hellman said, and when the elevator doors opened, he allegedly attempted to pull her into a stairway and rape her. Collins fled down the stairs when the victim started yelling.

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Stuy Town Halloween events for residents

Halloween display in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

StuyTown property Services presents the following free Halloween events for residents. Guests are asked to bring their resident IDs.

Family Halloween Fun-Fest

On Tuesday, October 30 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on the Oval, families are invited to come in costume to the annual fair, which this year will feature five bounce houses for various ages, carnival snacks, a craft area with rubbed art, buttons, crowns, puppets, murals, a balloon-filled pumpkin patch with mini pumpkins for decorating, live music and guest entertainers with magic and mayhem.

Editor’s note: This event has been rescheduled from October 27 due to a predicted nor’easter.

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Maloney’s Green Party opponent has been homeless for years

Scott Hutchins has applied for 3,000 jobs since becoming homeless and has worked at seven. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, who recently bested an East Village hospitality executive in an unusually competitive primary, must still face two opponents in the upcoming general election. Neither opponent is well known or well-funded, and this is especially true of Green Party candidate Scott Hutchins, who’s been in New York’s shelter system for the past six and a half years.

Still, this isn’t the first time Hutchins, 42, has attempted to run for office, and since he has bounced from shelter to shelter in recent years (though not by choice), he has done so in more than one district.

When he filed his petition, he was staying in a shelter in Long Island City, but he has since been transferred to a hotel in Bushwick. Hutchins initially attempted to do an interview with this newspaper by phone, but his government-issued cell hasn’t been working right since he dropped it a few weeks ago, shattering its screen. During the interview, he lost service after a few minutes, which he had warned would probably happen. So he later met up with a Town & Village reporter at a Coffeed shop in Flatiron, to share his reasons for running and for sticking with a party that’s as broke as he is.

Maloney, he feels, has a conservative voting record, on economic policy and bank regulations, including leading up to the economic crisis a decade ago. He also brought up that Maloney had initially voted to support the Iraq war. “Even though she had tons of protesters in her district.”

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Uptick seen in groups of teen robbers

Feb22 community council hellman

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, commanding officer of the 13th Precinct (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Robberies by roving groups of teens have been a problem, especially in local parks, for the last month, according to the 13th Precinct’s top cop.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman made the announcement regarding recent crime stats at the 13th Precinct Community Council’s monthly meeting last Tuesday.

“Grand larceny is usually the driving force in our crime, accounting for more than 70 percent of crime in the precinct, but there have been developing issues in other areas,” Hellman said. “We’ve identified and established a pattern of street robberies with groups of young males, especially in the parks in the neighborhood.”

Town & Village reported at the beginning of this month that three teens were arrested for a robbery that took place in Bellevue South Park and the same week, three other teenagers were caught for an assault at the Asser Levy playground. Both incidents were at the end of September.

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Friends and foes debate Small Business Jobs Survival Act

Supporters of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act rally prior to a long-awaited City Council hearing. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, the City Council chamber was packed with small business advocates, real estate professionals and others with an interest in the first step taken to move the now 32-year-old Small Business Jobs Survival Act in nearly a decade.

At a lengthy hearing, those in support of the bill, aimed at getting businesses an automatic 10-year lease renewal, through mediation and binding arbitration if necessary, carried signs that said things like “Pass Intact SBJSA Now” and “Evict REBNY.” Those against it wore blue caps that read, “Vote no commercial rent control.”

The hearing followed a rally in support of the SBJSA led by David Eisenbach, a Columbia professor who heads a group called the Friends of the SBJSA.

Eisenbach compared the fight for the bill’s passage to “a battle for the soul of New York. Will it be a New York of chains or a New York of Chinatown? It’s David against Goliath.”

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Police Watch: Three charged with Barcade robbery, Dog walker arrested for burglaries

THREE CHARGED WITH BARCADE ROBBERY
Police arrested three additional people for an alleged robbery that took place at Barcade on West 24th Street at the end of September. Twenty-seven-year-old Gilberto Morales, 24-year-old Yannick Eva and 25-year-old Sedale Whyte were charged with robbery in connection with the incident. Town & Village previously reported that 27-year-old Adonri Imade was caught at the time of the incident.

The victim told police that he was at the bar playing a game with the four suspects on September 29 around 2:30 a.m. and after he lost a bet, he pulled out his wallet to pay for drinks. Police said that the four suspects attacked him, giving him a cut lip. The victim said that he fell while the three men allegedly continued to kick him, and police said that Imade grabbed his wallet before attempting to flee.

Morales was also charged with assault, and Whyte was also charged with grand larceny for the alleged theft of the victim’s credit card. The three men turned themselves in to the precinct last week. Imade was charged with robbery as well as escape, when she allegedly got out of the police car while handcuffed and reportedly tried to flee.

DOG WALKER BUSTED FOR BURGLARIES
Police arrested 23-year-old Joshua Wilder for burglaries he allegedly committed by using his access as a dog walker to get into victim’s apartments earlier this month.

Police said that Wilder stole a yellow diamond ring valued at $95,000 from the victim’s apartment located within the 13th Precinct on Monday, October 15. The victim told police that Wilder, the dog walker, was the only other person who had a key to the apartment. Continue reading

Raccoon spotted in Peter Cooper

Oct25 raccoon

The raccoon spotted in Peter Cooper Village

By Sabina Mollot

In recent years, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village has had some surprising animal visitors, including a lost coyote and an injured bat. Rumors of raccoons have abounded, but on Sunday, Peter Cooper resident Suzanne Silber got photographic evidence of one such masked marauder in broad daylight, as it scarfed down a snack.

Silber said the raccoon was eating what appeared to be Veggie Booty or similar dried stick snacks that were scattered on the lawn. Asked about this, ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk said the food had been thrown on the lawn by someone, attracting the attention of the raccoon. He added that management’s environmental services partner has set some traps to try and catch the critter. The traps will only be out for a week or two, though since the raccoon has already appeared to move on from the property on its own.

Silber originally posted the photo on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s Facebook page, where another commenter reported seeing the little guy on Monday night near 3 Peter Cooper Road, coming from the fountain area. Yet another TA account poster snapped a photo of presumably the same raccoon spotted Monday night on East 22nd Street between First and Second Avenues.

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Man takes fatal leap in Stuyvesant Town

Oct25 Suicide cops

Police and FDNY response to the scene. (Photo by Sugi Tabero)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday afternoon, a 66-year-old man jumped from a building in Stuyvesant Town.

Police were alerted by a few people calling 911 at 3:20 p.m. and the area behind 16 Stuyvesant Oval was taped off by police and responders from the FDNY. The man was declared dead at the scene.

A resident walking by the building, who wanted to remain anonymous, pointed out that this was the latest in a disturbing pattern.

“I’m 65 and I’m shaking,” she said. “It’s a bit much.”

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About the orange bags lining 14th St.

Orange garbage bags used by the MTA (Photo by Hermann Reiner)

As if the L train construction zone on East 14th Street wasn’t already cluttered enough, over the weekend, Stuyvesant Town resident Hermann Reiner found oversized orange construction bags left at the bus stop, and, he noted, “not for the first time.”

Asked about their purpose, a spokesperson for the MTA told us that the bags were being used to discard debris from “routine” track maintenance unrelated to the ongoing construction to build the Avenue A entrance of the First Avenue L station, and that that there were no hazardous materials being collected.

In response, Reiner said it still didn’t explain why bags were left on the street.

“So why are they dumped at the bus station? It blocked the front door of the 14th Street buses,” said Reiner. “About five weeks ago the bags were on the sidewalk for about 10 days. I had called 311 to clean up; do they need a special cleanup crew?”

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Flatiron BID executive director steps down after twelve years

Founding Executive Director Jennifer Brown, pictured with BID Board Chairman Gregg Schenker (Photo courtesy of Flatiron Partmership)

By Sabina Mollot

Jennifer Brown, the executive director of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID), will soon be leaving her post after more than a dozen years of service. In an announcement last week, Brown said she will begin work next month as executive director of the Montclair Center BID, working in the area where she and her family have lived since she’s been commuting to Flatiron. The BID has not yet begun searching for her replacement.

This week, Brown spoke with Town & Village about the ways the Flatiron neighborhood has changed since its BID was formed in 2006, from rising commercial rents to the influx of many families.

“We would just focus on changing with the changing neighborhood,” she said. “Just enhancing services, cleanliness and safety and keeping an eye on everything going on.”

During Brown’s tenure, neighborhood public safety and clean team programs were launched, servicing Flatiron seven days a week. The Flatiron pedestrian plazas were also created in 2008, which the BID maintained. The holiday season “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” programming was also launched along with free summer fitness and tech classes, ongoing speaker events and business assistance forums as well as other events. The neighborhood has also been promoted through marketing campaigns.

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