Random assaults up in Gramercy

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Following the arrest of a man wanted for a random attack in Union Square Park last week, Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman said at the 13th Precinct Community Council’s meeting on Tuesday that the neighborhood has seen a slight increase in unprovoked assaults recently.

Hellman noted the uptick after a woman at the meeting said that a homeless woman approached her and punched her in the head while she was waiting for the bus with her granddaughter.

“We’re seeing a lot of this even minor level harassment and assaults but we are making apprehensions,” he said, adding that the arrests have included homeless and emotionally disturbed individuals.

Hellman noted that officers have made an arrest on another random attack that occurred in Union Square Park, in which the suspect fractured the victim’s eye socket. A witness told police that he saw the victim and the suspect, 33-year-old Tyrone George, get into an argument inside the park on Tuesday, March 3 around 9:40 p.m.

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Local cops catch teens wanted for burglaries citywide

Cops at the 13th precinct were honored this week. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Multiple officers of the 13th precinct were honored with the Cop of the Month award at the most recent Community Council meeting this past Tuesday for catching a pair of teenagers responsible for late-night burglaries throughout the city and others wanted for various shoplifting incidents.

The officers on the night tour who were honored at the meeting included Sergeant Isaac Acevedo and police officers William Blum, Nicholas Clemente, John McCormick, Charles Morro and Robert Rufrano. The officers who work on the day tour who were honored were Lieutenant James Grillo, who will also be retiring soon, Sergeant Edward Faini and police officers Brendan Bellew, Danny Bermeo, Mahmoud Khaled, Thomas Knudsen, Joseph Orlando and Sutcliff Rattan.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman said that officers who work in the overnight hours spotted the suspects wanted for the burglaries, recognized because they had been caught on surveillance footage in previous incidents, but knew that the District Attorney’s office wouldn’t charge them just based on previous burglaries, so they had to catch them in the act.

“They followed them up Lexington Avenue into the 17th precinct and caught them on a live burg, and that closed out 35 burglaries citywide,” Hellman said.

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Second suspect arrested for 2019 robbery in Asser Levy Park

The suspect arrested last week was captured on surveillance footage at a nearby 7-Eleven shortly after the robbery.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have arrested a second suspect who was wanted for a robbery that took place in Asser Levy Park in the pre-dawn hours of a late September morning last year. In addition to hitting the victim multiple times and stabbing him in the head, police said that the suspect who was arrested last week also forced the victim to remove his clothes and put on a dress.

The 25-year-old man was arrested for the September 30 robbery on Monday, February 24 inside the 13th precinct.

The victim, a 47-year-old Bronx resident, told police that he was walking near the park on East 23rd Street and Avenue C around 4 a.m. when the previously-arrested suspect, a 24-year-old man, grabbed him and pulled him behind the park. The victim said that the two suspects menaced him with a knife before taking his wallet and phone.

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Man arrested for robbery near Union Square

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 49-year-old man for shoplifting and injuring employees that tried to stop him at the Garden of Eden on East 14th Street near Union Square last week.

An employee at the store, located at 7 East 14th Street, told police that on Thursday, February 20 around 9 p.m., the suspect removed items from the shelves and attempted to leave without paying.

When multiple employees then confronted him, the suspect reportedly said, “I will cut you,” and reached into his jacket pocket. The victim suffered a minor cut to his left hand and a bruise on his left cheek while attempting to stop the suspect. The suspect was arrested in front of the store and had been charged with robbery.

Charges are still pending against the suspect in multiple additional cases related to incidents that took place last year. The man reportedly harassed customers inside a Sprint store in Union Square, exposing himself and groping other customers that were inside.

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Teens arrested for sex abuse at Union Square School

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested four teenagers for sexually abusing another student inside a Union Square school last week.

The three teenage boys were charged with sexual abuse inside the Clinton School at 10 East 15th Street on Tuesday, February 11 at 3:47 p.m. after police said that the boys abused a girl at the school.

According to the victim, four teenage boys, one of whom has not been arrested, coerced her into taking an explicit photo in exchange for a Supreme sweatshirt sometime the previous week. The victim said that she originally agreed to take a photo in exchange for the sweatshirt but the teens later pressured her into saying in a video that she had consented to taking a photo of her buttocks with their faces. The teenage girl said that one of the suspects then grabbed her by the arm and led her to the third floor bathroom, where he took a photo of her.

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Youth crime up in Gramercy, cops say

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Robberies and burglaries committed by teenagers have been increasing since the end of last year, Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman reported at the 13th Precinct Community Council’s most recent meeting this past Tuesday.

“Trends [in robberies] that we were seeing at the end of last year carried over into the beginning of this year,” Hellman said.

Hellman said that while the precinct’s apprehension rate is “very good,” he wants the command to be more preventive so that the incidents don’t occur in the first place, part of which requires youth outreach. Robberies overall are up 36% for the year so far.

The NYPD will be rolling out a new youth program in March, partially in response to the increase in youth crime, which will work in conjunction with and under the structure of the neighborhood policing program that was implemented in the 13th precinct in October 2018.

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Stuy Town teen reported missing

The teen was reported missing from Stuy Town on February 12.

The New York City Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a person reported missing on Wednesday, February 12 in Stuyvesant Town.

Police said that 16-year-old Sarah Sitorus was last seen at her apartment at 11 Stuyvesant Oval around 1 p.m. last Wednesday. She is described as 5′ 3″ tall, 140 pounds. She was last seen wearing all blue clothing.

Anyone with information in regard 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 CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

All calls are strictly confidential.

Peter Cooper Village senior scammed

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are asking for the public’s assistance in finding men who scammed a Peter Cooper Village senior out of more than $9,000 last month.

The 77-year-old victim told police that the unidentified men called her between 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, January 16 and 12:30 p.m. on Friday, January 17, telling her that her grandson had been involved in a car accident and he required money for bail. After speaking to the victim by phone, one of the suspects met the victim at her apartment near 2 Peter Cooper Road and got $9,200 in cash from her.

The next day, the suspects called the victim back and said that in order to expunge her grandson’s arrest record, she would have to pay an additional $7,000. The victim had become suspicious, so when the suspects arrived to collect the second payment, she handed them miscellaneous papers in an envelope and not the additional requested sum.

Police said that on both occasions, the suspects fled towards Second Avenue when they left the victim’s apartment building. The victim was not injured as a result of the incident.

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Teens busted for robbery on First Avenue

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested two teenagers for a robbery that took place on Wednesday, January 8 around 11 p.m. on First Avenue between East 18th and 19th Streets. One of the teens was arrested on Wednesday, January 22 at 8 a.m. inside the 13th precinct, and the second suspect was arrested in the precinct on Friday, January 24 at 9 a.m.

The victim told police that he was walking north on First Avenue when the teenagers approached him and asked if he wanted to fight. Police said that the teens then punched the victim in the face and removed his cell phone and keys before fleeing the scene.

Police did not have further information about whether the robbery took place on the east or west side of First Avenue.

Six wanted in gang assault

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are looking for six men wanted in a gang assault that took place in the Flatiron District during the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.

A 25-year-old man reported to police that he was walking near the corner of West 25th Street and Sixth Avenue on Wednesday, January 1 around 4:15 a.m. when six individuals approached him. The suspects then chased the victim, pushed him into a doorway at 101 West 25th Street and punched and kicked the victim in the head multiple times.

The suspects fled in an unknown direction and the victim was removed to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of these individuals 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 CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or on Twitter @ NYPDTips.

All calls are strictly confidential.

One arrested as e-bike thefts increase

One of the suspects in multiple recent e-bike thefts

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with the theft of an e-bike from a restaurant on East 14th Street over the weekend.

The arrest comes after the New York Times reported last Friday that at least 24 e-bikes have been reported stolen throughout the city since last September. The NYPD told the Times that nearly two dozen delivery workers have been attacked and their e-bikes have been stolen by the same two men, who police said ambushed the riders with pepper spray or at knife point. The bikes stolen from the workers can cost as much as $2,000.

Although not an e-bike, Peter Cooper Village resident Adriana Hammonds also reported the theft of her new cargo bike just after Christmas. The family had taken out a loan to pay for the $3,000 bike and it was stolen the first day they took it out for a ride. The bike was meant for Hammonds to use to bring her 6-year-old son Sebastian to school and after assembling it right after the holiday, she and her son took it to visit a friend and locked the bike on East 18th Street and Irving Place. When they returned two hours later, the bike had been stolen.

The Bronx resident who was arrested for the recent e-bike theft was caught at the corner of Second Avenue and East 15th Street on Sunday, January 5 at 7:53 p.m. after a witness chased him from the restaurant where he took the bike.

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Christmas Eve caroling in Gramercy Park

GPBA President Arlene Harrison and trustee Rev. Tom Pike (center) with officers from the 13th precinct. (Photos by Ira Fox)

Nearly 2,000 people crowded into Gramercy Park for the annual Christmas Caroling sponsored by the Park Trustees and organized once again by the Gramercy Park Block Association. The caroling was led by GPBA president Arlene Harrison and trustee Rev. Tom Pike, with music led by Calvary church music director Kamel Boutros.

“This year, mostly due to media attention, the event was attended by nearly 2,000 people from around the world who were visiting New York for the holidays,” Harrison said.

Harrison thanked the officers of the 13th precinct for policing the event saying, “Thanks to their outstanding police presence, in particular Chief Hughes, Chief Comodo the 13th Precinct and the Neighborhood Coordination Officers the Rodriguez brothers, our caroling event was the best and safest ever.”

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Community Council for 13th precinct celebrates the holidays

Members of the Community Council celebrated the holidays at Hane Sushi on Tuesday. (From left to right) Julia Yepez-Macbeth, Elvie Coutain, VL Swanson, Community Council President Frank Scala, Melanie Hague-Scala, Carol Schachter and Pat Salin (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The 13th Precinct Community Council celebrated the holidays this past Tuesday with a festive dinner in lieu of the regular monthly meeting.

The dinner, at Hane Sushi in Stuyvesant Town, was scheduled for the same evening as a number of “Impeachment Eve” protests across the country, including one that ended in Union Square after a march from Times Square.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, commanding officer of the precinct, and Detective Vincent Arlotta both arrived at the dinner on time but left shortly after to provide support for the officers in Union Square, where more than 1,500 protesters were expected on Tuesday evening, the night before the House of Representatives was expected to vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

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NY Waterway cancels giant SantaCon boat party

SantaCon (seen here in 2016) has long faced ire from neighborhood residents because of the public drunkenness often displayed by the event’s participants. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Shortly after announcing last Friday that the infamous SantaCon bar crawl would be sponsoring a handful of party yachts in the East River as part of the event scheduled for this Saturday, the event was canceled on Tuesday.

Councilmember Keith Powers shared a letter to Donald Liloia, Senior Vice President of NY Waterway, on Twitter this Tuesday afternoon also signed by State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein expressing a number of concerns about the event. Mere hours later, the Councilmember confirmed that NY Waterway, which operates the Skyport Marina where the boats would have docked, had canceled the event.

Gothamist reported on Tuesday that Liloia also confirmed the event’s cancellation, noting that the group organizing the event had only started planning recently and acknowledged that it was too complicated to pull off on such short notice.

The letter signed by Powers, Hoylman and Epstein (which can be read in full here) argued that a free event of that size, attracting people who are likely to be intoxicated, would cause substantial disturbance to tenants in the nearby residential developments of Waterside Plaza and Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village.

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Girls wanted for East Village, Gramercy robberies

Robbery suspects

The New York City Police Department is asking the public’s assistance identifying two women wanted for questioning in connection to robberies that occurred in the East Village and Gramercy in August.

Police said that on Friday, August 16 around 9 p.m., a 24-year-old female victim was walking in front of 138 East 30th Street, when two girls approached her from behind, removing her cellphone from her hand and punching her face causing swelling and bruising on left eye. The victim started screaming and the suspects then fled on foot westbound on East 30th Street. The victim refused medical attention at the scene.

Around 10:15 p.m. on the same night, a 28-year-old woman told police that she was walking near Third Avenue and East 16th Street when two girls approached her from behind and pushed her on the ground and grabbed her cellphone from her hand. The suspects then fled on foot eastbound on East 16th Street towards Second Avenue. The victim refused medical attention at the scene.

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