Police Watch: Six arrested for helping brothels advertise online, launder money

This past Monday, police arrested six people in connection with a scheme to promote and finance brothels throughout the city, including one on 14th Street, the Daily News reported. The six suspects reportedly built websites for the brothels and are being charged with money laundering.
The websites went by the names “One Hour Girlfriend,” “Kiss Kiss Pop” and “Shake Shake Girls,” and showed photos of prostitutes from the brothels. Police said that Kwong Kyu (Kevin) Kim and Hyun Kyung (Jay Hee) Han, who are married, and Hong Nae (Diane) Yi reportedly issued high-interest loans to brothel owners in Manhattan and set up bank accounts to keep money going into and out of the brothels. Court documents said that Han owned the brothel on 14th Street, as well as one on 39th Street. Additional suspects Beirne (Michael) Lowey, Tien Chih Wang and Zhengyi (Allen) Lu allegedly helped to set up web pages and ads for the brothels.
Police said that Lowey, who allegedly photographed the prostitutes, was seen placing stickers advertising the websites on light posts, parking meters and other surfaces on Third Avenue between East 10th and 31st Streets.
Wang and Lu allegedly used bitcoin to purchase advertising credits on Backpage.com, which was seized by the federal government in April, and the suspects reportedly resold the credits on their own website.

Police arrested 44-year-old Louis Governara for an alleged theft inside the TD Bank at 950 Broadway on Tuesday, October 9 at 8:57 a.m. Police said that Governara presented himself as his father inside the TD Bank to withdraw all the funds from his father’s bank account. Governara’s father said that his son didn’t have permission to withdraw the funds and when police attempted to place him under arrest, he allegedly resisted. Police said that Governara was also in possession of a debit card that didn’t belong to him. He was charged with petit larceny, resisting arrest and possession of stolen property.

Police arrested 54-year-old David Moody for an alleged theft from an apartment at 21 East 21st Street that took place on Friday, October 5.
The victim told police that she allowed Moody inside her apartment to do an open house because the suspect is her real estate agent. Police said that Moody could then be seen entering her apartment on two separate occasions at 4:49 p.m. and 8:50 p.m. on October 5 and he allegedly went through the victim’s drawers and removed pills from multiple pill bottles. \The victim said that she didn’t have anyone scheduled to view the apartment at those times and Moody didn’t have permission to be there. Moody was charged with petit larceny inside the 13th precinct on Tuesday, October 9 at 9 a.m.

Police arrested 47-year-old Christopher Clark for an alleged assault in front of 465 Second Avenue on Tuesday, October 9 at 7:06 p.m. A witness told police that Clark punched the victim in the face multiple times, causing the victim to fall down the stairs. The witness said that once the victim was on the ground, Clark allegedly punched him again multiple times. The victim was transported to Beth Israel and was diagnosed with a fracture on the left side of his face. Police said that a knife was also recovered from Clark’s pants pocket and he was also charged with weapons possession.

Police arrested a 24-year-old man for strangulation inside Straus Houses at 243 East 27th Street on Wednesday, September 26 around 9 p.m. Police said that the suspect choked the victim, causing her to vomit. Police said that the victim, who is in her 20s and in a relationship with the suspect, sustained redness to her neck. The suspect was arrested inside the 13th precinct on Tuesday, October 9 at 7:55 p.m. The name of the suspect is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim.

Police arrested 40-year-old Desiree Cruz for an alleged theft by extortion in front of 273 First Avenue on Friday, October 12 at 2:38 p.m. Police said that the victim lost her phone and arranged to meet up with Cruz to get it back, but Cruz allegedly agreed to return the phone only if the victim paid her. When they met up at East 14th Street and First Avenue, the victim saw Cruz allegedly holding her phone and police arrested her. When she was arrested, Cruz was also found to be in possession of a quantity of alleged heroin and marijuana. Cruz was charged with grand larceny by extortion, possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance.

Police arrested 20-year-old Abner Batista for an alleged forgery that took place inside the Sprint store at 145 Fifth Avenue on Friday, May 11. The victim told police that he went inside the store to switch a non-working phone to a used phone. The victim said that he decided to get a new phone another time.
Later in the year, he was looking at his email of purchases and found that Batista, the sales rep he had talked to when at the store, had allegedly forged his name on a protection plan policy. The victim said that he never signed his name to the plan and police said that Batista had falsely signed his name for complete the transaction. Batista was arrested inside the 13th Precinct on Wednesday, October 10 at 3 p.m.

Police arrested 54-year-old Karl Dozier for an alleged assault inside the Dunkin Donuts at 355 Third Avenue on Monday, October 8 at 3:59 a.m. Police said that while Dozier and the victim were arguing inside the restaurant, Dozier pulled out a knife. When he was arrested, police found an alleged steak knife in Dozier’s back waistband. Dozier was also charged with weapons possession.

Police arrested two men for allegedly selling drugs on East 24th Street on Friday morning.
Michael Miller, 35, was arrested for the alleged sale of a controlled substance at the corner of Third Avenue and East 24th Street on October 12 at 8:27 a.m. Police said that Miller, along with another person who wasn’t arrested, sold a quantity of Clonazepam to an undercover officer.
Police also arrested 44-year-old George Santiago for the alleged sale of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance at the corner of Second Avenue and East 24th Street on October 12 at 8:31 a.m. Police said that Santiago sold a quantity of methadone to an undercover officer, and was also in possession of several loose Clonazepam pills that were in his pocket.

Police arrested 34-year-old Ricardo Montoya for alleged thefts in front of 25 Union Square West on Monday, October 8 at 11:50 a.m. Police said that on July 8 and August 2, Montoya entered the Guitar Center at 218 West 44th Street and allegedly swiped cymbals from the store on both occasions. Police said that on Monday, he was spotted in Union Square and police found that he was allegedly in possession of the stolen cymbals. Montoya was charged with petit larceny and possession of stolen property.

Police arrested 66-year-old Carlos Victor-Castillo for an alleged burglary at the corner of Broadway and East 21st Street on Tuesday, October 9 at 4:38 p.m. Police said that Victor-Castillo went inside the Banana Republic at 105 Fifth Avenue and stole multiple purses and he had previously been issued a trespass notice from the store, barring him from entering the business.
A plainclothes officer stopped Victor-Castillo a few blocks away from the store after being pointed out by a security officer from the business.
Police said that Victor-Castillo also entered the Coach store at 79 Fifth Avenue on October 6 and stole more than $1,000-worth of purses. He was also charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property.


Teen nabbed for trying to rob Stuy Town resident

Stuy Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 14-year-old boy was arrested after getting into a fight with two Stuy Town residents in front of 410 East 20th Street on Friday, October 12 at 9:49 p.m. and attempting to steal one of their phones.

The residents, who police said were intoxicated at the time, reportedly argued with the teen and two other boys while returning home but police had no further information about what started the argument.

The teen who was arrested was held at the location by Stuyvesant Town security until police arrived but the two other boys weren’t caught. Police said that the teen is not a resident of Stuy Town or Peter Cooper Village.

The teen, whose name is being withheld due to his young age, was charged with robbery.

Teen arrested for rape in stairwell at school on E. 15th

High School for Health Professions and Human Services at 345 East 15th Street

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A student was arrested for raping another student inside a high school on East 15th Street near Stuyvesant Square Park last week.

According to police, a male student at the High School for Health Professions and Human Services at 345 East 15th Street raped the female student inside a stairwell of the school building on Wednesday, October 10 at 1:23 p.m.

Police said that the teen pulled his pants down, grabbed the victim’s neck and forced her to perform oral sex on him. The teen also allegedly pulled down the victim’s pants and penetrated her with his finger.

Police did not specify the age of either the suspect or the victim but said that they were both students at the high school and are both younger than 17. The name of the suspect is being withheld by the NYPD due to his age.

Continue reading

Harvest in the Square raises $430G for Union Square Park

Tim Meyers, chef at Bocce USQ (at left) at Harvest in the Square (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Harvest in the Square, the annual food festival that serves as a fundraiser for Union Square Park, raised $430,000 at this year’s event, topping last year’s fundraising amount of $368,000.

Union Square Partnership executive director Jennifer Falk said that a portion of the money raised always goes to programming in the park, such as free community programs through summer in the square, as well as landscaping of park and plazas and capital work to make repairs.

The Partnership will work with the Parks Department over the winter to develop ideas for what the park needs and work on whatever project is chosen will begin next April. The money raised through last year’s Harvest in the Square was used to build out brand new seating area just south of where the mother and child fountain is on the west side of the park between 15th and 16th Streets. The Partnership said that in the last 23 years, the event has raised a total of $6.7 million.

Falk noted that a significant portion of the money from last year was used to replace equipment in the playgrounds and to replace some of the park lighting with LED energy.

Continue reading

Bellevue Hospital expands primary care

Bellevue CEO William Hicks; Dr. Andrew Wallach, clinical director of ambulatory care and the clinical chief of primary care at Bellevue; and other physicians at the ribbon cutting for the newly expanded primary care center (Photo courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue Hospital)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Bellevue Hospital has announced that it is expanding adult primary care services in a newly-repurposed space, with the goal of having patients be able to get treatment for different issues in one location.

The hospital’s clinic, which had already been offering some primary care services on the ambulatory care building’s second floor, has expanded to add 12 patient exams rooms and increased the available space by 2,200 square feet for a total of 13,300 square feet. Bellevue CEO William Hicks said that the clinic was able to take over space that was previously occupied by the hospital’s World Trade Center health program, which has relocated to the hospital building of Bellevue.

Dr. Ted Long, who is the vice president of ambulatory care at Bellevue, said that the new space, as well as new processes in place at the clinic, will reduce wait times for patients looking to make an appointment. The average time for new patient appointments has already been reduced to 14 days from 40.

Continue reading

Florence Friedman, T&V Synagogue’s first woman president, dies at age 101

Florence Friedman on her 100th birthday (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The first female president of Town & Village Synagogue died on Friday, September 28, about a month before her 102nd birthday. Florence Friedman, a Peter Cooper Village resident and previously an original tenant of Stuyvesant Town, was also one of the founding members of the local temple, attending services there before the congregation had an official physical presence in the neighborhood.

Around the time of her 100th birthday, Friedman told Town & Village about the early days of the synagogue, when services were held above a liquor store south of East 14th Street and meetings were held at a dairy on First Avenue.

Friedman was born on November 7, 1916 in Brooklyn and grew up in the Bronx. Democratic incumbent Woodrow Wilson was reelected on the day that Friedman was born and at the time, women still didn’t have the right to vote.

Continue reading

Kips Bay tailor, 80, charged with groping woman customer

Tamagoglu’s shop in Kips Bay (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

An 80-year-old tailor in Kips Bay who was violently robbed in his East 27th Street shop last year has been arrested for allegedly groping a customer at his business last week.

The victim told police that while owner Apel Tamagoglu was hemming her pants inside Apel’s New Day Tailor Shop at 203 East 27th Street on Wednesday, October 3 at 2:20 p.m., he allegedly grabbed her buttocks twice and put his hand over her genital area.

As Town & Village reported last year, Tamagoglu was stabbed during a robbery in his Kips Bay shop in January, resulting in a fractured skull, a punctured lung and other injuries. Video footage of the incident showed Tamagoglu attempting to chase the robber out with a chair but he ultimately gave the suspect $80 in cash after being stabbed multiple times. John Franklyn, 53, was arrested shortly after the incident and charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing Tamagoglu. Franklyn was reportedly a resident of the 30th Street Men’s Shelter at the time of the incident.

Continue reading

Police Watch: Man arrested for punching women, Woman accused of stealing purse

Police arrested a 19-year-old John Doe for an assault that took place at the corner of Third Avenue and East 17th Street on Thursday, October 4 at 6:14 p.m. The victim told police that she was walking west on East 17th Street when the suspect walked up to her and punched her in the face without provocation. A witness told police that the man had punched another woman in the face as well but that victim was not at the scene by the time police arrived. The victim told police that she had pain on her upper lip and redness on her palm from when she fell on the ground. The suspect was referred to as a John Doe by police because he had no ID when arrested.

Police arrested 38-year-old Dominique Eligin for an alleged theft from the corner of Madison Avenue and East 26th Street on Tuesday, October 2 at 12:48 p.m. Police said that Eligin grabbed the victim’s purse from a bench along the park and fled east on East 26th Street towards Park Avenue South, but the victim caught up with her and allegedly recovered the property from inside her backpack. Eligin was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance.

Police arrested 50-year-old William Clanton for an alleged burglary from the Equinox at 315 Park Avenue South during the overnight hours of September 8. Police said that Clanton forced open the door to the gym at 2 a.m. and allegedly stole clothing and electronics. Clanton was arrested for burglary and theft inside the 13th Precinct on Wednesday, October 3 at 9:15 a.m.

Continue reading

Man charged with pulling knife on woman

Gabriel Rodriguez

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 32-year-old man for allegedly threatening a woman who was inside her car with her infant in Chelsea last week, and he was also charged with reportedly threatening Good Samaritans who attempted to chase him down.

Police said that the 39-year-old victim was sitting in her car while it was parked in front of 136 West 17th Street on Tuesday, September 25 at 3:25 p.m. and was waiting for her 16-month-old daughter to wake up when Gabriel Rodriguez allegedly approached her and threatened her with a knife, reportedly attempting to steal her car.

Two witnesses who attempted to chase Rodriguez down reported that the suspect threatened them with the knife as well.

Continue reading

Cops recognized for arrest of alleged killers of Kips Bay homeless man

Police Officers John McCormick and Mike Migliore with Inspector Steven Hellman, Special Operations Lieutenant Brian Scalise and 13th Precinct Community Council President Frank Scala (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Two police officers have been recognized for recent major arrests related to the death of a homeless man in Kips Bay.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, awarded the officers as Cops of the Month at a community council meeting on Tuesday, September 25.

Hellman said that police officers John McCormick and Mike Migliore were able to track down the suspects believed to be responsible for the death of the homeless man, who was reportedly beaten near Bellevue South Park at the end of August.

“(The officers) were able to make the arrests a few days later after going through the parks, doing surveillance and conducting interviews with people who were there,” Hellman said.

Continue reading

Thirteenth Precinct launches neighborhood policing program

Police Officers Manny Rodriguez and Andrew Rodriguez have been assigned to patrol in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A new program aimed at getting police officers better acquainted with members of the community where they patrol launched at the 13th Precinct on Tuesday with NYPD introduced residents to the officers who would be assigned to their blocks.

NYPD’s Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison emphasized that the new initiative, known as the Neighborhood Coordinating Officer (NCO) program, is aimed at building relationships and is similar to CPOP, a community policing program that the department discontinued about 20 years ago.

Residents at the launch had questions about exactly what kind of problems the NCO officers can help with, and Harrison encouraged everyone at the meeting to get in touch with their NCO officer, whether or not they have a problem.

“The most important thing is that everyone gets home safely to their families,” Harrison said of the program’s goal.

Continue reading

Police Watch: Teens arrested for robbery, assault in separate incidents

Police arrested three teenagers for robbery at the corner of Third Avenue and East 24th Street on Tuesday, September 25 at 6:16 p.m. Police said that the two girls and one boy were working together to steal multiple cell phones from victims while inside Bellevue South Park near 260 Mount Carmel Place earlier that day at 3 p.m. Police said that the teens also grabbed one of the victims by the throat and threw him to the ground before fleeing. The teens were caught after officers searched the area and the victim positively identified them at Third and East 24th.

Police arrested three teenagers for assault that took place at the Asser Levy playground at East 23rd Street and Avenue C on Tuesday, September 25 at 4 p.m. The victim told police that she was playing football in the park when the three suspects walked up to her and started punching her in the face. The victim said that the teens attacked her because she “snitched” on them in regards to an incident from the day before. The teens were arrested inside the 13th precinct on Tuesday, September 25 at 5:58 p.m.

Police arrested 24-year-old Ishmill Jordan, 36-year-old Chris Bazaar and 41-year-old Juan Gonzalez for allegedly stealing a car in the East Village last week. Police said that the victim was putting money in a meter for his car that was parked in front of 153 Avenue A near East 10th Street on Friday, September 28 at 2:50 p.m. when Jordan allegedly jumped into the unlocked vehicle with Bazaar and Gonzalez and drove away. The three were caught at the corner of Irving Place and East 15th Street at 6:03 p.m. and were charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle and unauthorized use of vehicle, and Jordan was additionally charged with grand larceny of auto.

Continue reading

More NYC real estate being bought by LLCs

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

LLC involvement has been increasing in residential real estate purchases in the last 15 years, a new study has found. RealtyHop, a sister site of rental listings website RentHop, looked at data from 2004 to 2018 in four of the five boroughs, as well as co-op versus condo purchases.

One of the key findings of the study was that LLC (limited liability corporation) involvement increased to nearly 14 percent of transactions and accounts for almost 25 percent of the value of residential real estate purchases in that time frame.

The data science team combed through records on ACRIS (Automated City Register Information System), information made public by the city government, to examine how the use of LLCs has changed over time. Staten Island was not included in the study because data for the borough is not published on ACRIS.

Continue reading

Nature-inspired sculptures now on display at Madison Square Park

This sculpture of a woman is now on display as part of Arlene Shechet’s installation, “Full Steam Ahead.” (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Madison Square Park Conservancy has debuted a series of nature-inspired sculptures as the latest public art installation to go up at the park. The work opened to the public on Tuesday to torrential downpours throughout the morning and afternoon but the rain lightened to a drizzle in time for the installation’s opening reception that evening.

Sculptor Arlene Shechet created 11 different pieces that make up “Full Steam Ahead,” designed as an outdoor room intended to be interactive. Shechet is primarily known for her work in ceramic but the pieces in this exhibition are made from cast iron, wood, steel and porcelain.

Shechet refers to the exhibition as a “manufactured version of nature” and the installation is functional as well as a work of art, with a number of the pieces functioning as seating. Shechet said that the installation was initially inspired by memories of the living room in her grandparents’ apartment.

The pieces, located along the pathways and perimeter of the park’s reflecting pool, are human-scale sculptures that create a physical presence for visitors, and Shechet used forms suggestive of the nature around the park, such as twigs, tree trunks and other plants. Other sculptures around the pool are reminiscent of various fauna, some of which could be found at the park, such as a feather from a bird, although another, part of a lion’s head and paw, is less common in the middle of Manhattan.

Continue reading

Police Watch: Men arrested for cornering woman, assaulting date in separate incidents

Police arrested 35-year-old Ronald Alomar for alleged unlawful imprisonment inside the Oscar Wilde bar at 45 West 27th Street on Friday, September 21 at 8:15 p.m.

The victim told police that she was in the women’s bathroom in one of the stalls and when she was finished, she unlocked the door to leave. Upon doing so, Alomar allegedly walked into the same stall using his body to push the victim against the stall wall. The victim said that Alomar didn’t move but didn’t allow her to leave, using the front of his body to hold her in the stall.

The victim said that she ultimately wiggled her way out of the stall and Alomar allegedly fled but was caught at 28th Street and Sixth Avenue. The victim said that Alomar never said a word and never used his hands to touch her.

Alomar was also charged with harassment for allegedly spitting on an officer while inside the vestibule at Bellevue Hospital on Saturday, September 22 at 12:45 a.m.

Continue reading