Man arrested for stealing wine from Chelsea restaurant after scaling building, allegedly masturbating inside

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 50-year-old man after he allegedly scaled a wall at a West 24th Street building in an attempt to evade capture and reportedly stole wine from the restaurant’s cellar last week.

Steven Vega reportedly broke into Zauo, a Japanese restaurant at 152 West 24th Street, on Tuesday, August 20 around 12:40 a.m. when the restaurant was closed. Police said that the building manager spotted Vega inside through security cameras and said that he was inside the building illegally and without permission to be there.

When police arrived at the scene around 1:40 a.m., two officers spotted Vega on the second floor, after which he allegedly tried to escape through two separate roof access points. Police said that Vega then scaled down the side of the building, then went back up to the roof.

Three officers then followed Vega onto the roof by going up the fire escape and managed to arrest him. According to the district attorney’s office, police also spotted Vega allegedly masturbating via the surveillance video while Vega was allegedly in the hallway inside the building.

When he was searched, police found that Vega was in possession of multiple alleged hypodermic needles, in addition to three bottles of wine that he had allegedly stolen from the wine cellar at the building he had reportedly broken into.

When police searched the building, they found that the door to the stairwell had been damaged.

Vega was charged with burglary, criminal mischief and possession of stolen property and was arrested at 2:02 a.m. Vega was being held on $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond, although the DA’s office had requested $40,000 bail.

An attorney for Vega did not respond to a request for comment by T&V’s press time.

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