Arrest made for fatal pedestrian collision in Chelsea

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 32-year-old James Wilmarth last Tuesday in connection with the death of a Chelsea resident after a vehicle collision earlier this month. Police charged Wilmarth with failure to yield to a pedestrian or bicyclist, an administrative charge, and failure to use due care on August 20 at 9:41 p.m.

Melissa McClure, 67, was killed less than a block from her apartment on West 15th Street at the corner of Sixth Avenue when Wilmarth allegedly hit her with his pick-up truck on Saturday, August 10 around 9 p.m.

Police said that Wilmarth was driving north on Sixth Avenue and was attempting to make a left turn onto West 15th Street heading west. Two women, who Gothamist later identified as McClure and her younger sister, Dorry Chitwood, were attempting to cross the street with the white pedestrian walk signal.

As Wilmarth was making the turn, the front of his vehicle allegedly hit both pedestrians, knocking them to the ground. Police responded to a 911 call about the collision at 9:07 p.m. When officers arrived, they found two women in the roadway with head trauma.

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East 28th Street resident missing

Gerardo Torres

The New York City Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a person reported missing on Tuesday, August 20 from 344 East 28th Street. It was reported to police that 32-year-old Gerardo Torres was last seen at his residence on Tuesday August 20 at 5:34 p.m. He is described as 5’8” tall, 240 pounds and was last seen wearing all dark 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.

Woman arrested for package thefts

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a woman last week for package thefts in Gramercy, Flatiron and Kips Bay that took place earlier this year.

Diana Anduja, 47, was caught outside 61 Lexington Avenue on Tuesday, August 13 at 3:20 p.m. after police said that she had removed four packages from the building’s lobby.

She reportedly did not have permission to be inside the building and when she was stopped, she was allegedly in possession of the packages, in addition to a crack pipe with alleged drug residue.

After she was arrested, Anduja was charged in connection with three other burglaries that allegedly took place in residential buildings throughout the area.

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Pedestrian killed on Sixth Avenue at West 23rd Street

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police reported that 60-year-old Michael Collopy was killed after he was reportedly knocked down by a cyclist in bike lane at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street on Wednesday, July 31 at 11:53 a.m. EMS transported Collopy to Bellevue Hospital and he succumbed to his injuries there on Monday, August 5.

The NYPD initially reported in a notice sent on Wednesday, August 7 that a preliminary investigation conducted by NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad found that a bicyclist was traveling north on Sixth Avenue in the bike lane when he hit Collopy, who was allegedly standing in the lane. Police said that the bicyclist did not remain on the scene.

The NYPD claimed last Wednesday that the medical examiner determined the cause of death to be the result of a pedestrian being struck by a bicyclist, but multiple news outlets reported that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner disputed this assessment. The New York Daily News reported that the medical examiner said the “cause and manner of death in this case is pending determination.”

Multiple arrests for robberies last week

By Maria Rocha-Buschel  

Police arrested multiple people for alleged robberies in the neighborhood, including for a violent incident at the bus stop on First Avenue at East 14th Street last weekend.

Jason Vincente, 39, allegedly approached a woman in her 20s while she was waiting for the bus at the northeast corner of East 14th Street and First Avenue on Saturday, August 10 at 12:25 a.m.

Police said that Vincente attempted to grab the victim’s bag and when the victim refused to give it to him, he allegedly said, “Gimme your money,” and reportedly grabbed the victim by the shirt.

When she refused, police said that Vincente forced her into the wall of the bus stop enclosure, hitting her head against the glass multiple times, causing a bruise on her head and substantial pain. The victim was transported to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital for treatment but no further information about her condition was available.

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13th Precinct celebrates National Night Out

Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Rain held off for National Night Out, the annual summer barbecue that the 13th Precinct Community Council celebrates in the M.S. 104 Playground on Second Avenue, this past Tuesday evening.

Neighborhood residents and elected officials mingled with police officers and representatives from area groups for the event that brings together the NYPD and the community.

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein said that such community events are especially important now.

“In these times with mass shootings, and with the failure of the federal government to do anything, New York needs to have strong gun laws,” Epstein said. “And it’s important for us to have these nights where we celebrate safety. National Night Out is great for building community together.”

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Men wanted for sex crimes in Union Square station

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are looking for two men for alleged sex crimes that took place in the Union Square station since the end of July.

A 25-year-old woman reported to police that she was leaving the station on Wednesday, July 31 at 4:40 p.m. when an unidentified man approached her from behind, grabbed her buttocks and then fled on foot, exiting the subway system. Surveillance video (posted above) showed the suspect at the station shortly after the time of the incident. The man is wanted for forcible touching.

Police said that a case of sexual abuse occurred in Union Square on Wednesday, August 7 around 4:20 a.m. after a 47-year-old woman fell asleep on a downtown Q train. The victim told police that she woke up when the suspect touched her right shoulder with his exposed genitals. When the victim confronted the suspect, he ran off the train at Union Square and fled the station to the street.

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Man wanted for robbery on East 23rd

Robbery suspect

The New York City Police Department is asking the public’s assistance identifying a man wanted for questioning in connection to a robbery that occurred on East 23rd Street this week.

It was reported to police that on Tuesday, July 23 at 6:10 a.m., a 34-year-old man was walking west on East 23rd Street when an unidentified man demanded money and threw the victim to the ground. The man proceeded to punch the victim numerous times in the face and removed his cell phone, $200 and credit cards before fleeing east on 23rd Street.  The victim received cuts to the left side of his face.

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of this male 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.

Multiple shoplifting arrests, including in Peter Cooper Village

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Multiple people were arrested for shoplifting throughout the neighborhood in the last week, including multiple suspects charged with robbery after the incidents reportedly turned violent and one case where a suspect was arrested in Peter Cooper Village after fleeing.

Shiron Parsons, 29, was arrested in Peter Cooper Village last week after he allegedly shoplifted from a CVS on East 23rd Street.

Police said that Parsons removed items from the CVS at 338 East 23rd Street near First Avenue on Saturday, July 6 at 4:56 p.m. An employee said that he put the items into a Trader Joe’s bag before he left without paying.

Police said that Parsons then got into a beige vehicle and fled east on East 23rd Street. Officers stopped Parsons at East 23rd Street and Avenue C but Parsons then fled south into Peter Cooper Village and was ultimately arrested in front of 2 Peter Cooper Road.

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Officers honored at community council

Police officers Colin Dowd, Peter Rodriguez, Joe Sgroi, Kevin Fainer and Manny Rodriguez were honored for their work at the 13th precinct’s most recent community council meeting last month. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Five officers at the 13th precinct were honored as cops of the month at the precinct’s last community council meeting before the summer break on Tuesday, June 18. Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman said that crime in the precinct has been steadily decreasing and he said that the community policing program that launched at the precinct last October has helped.

“I attribute that to the cops on patrol and the NCO philosophy that’s driving down crime,” he said, referring to the program that assigns Neighborhood Coordination Officers to different areas in the precinct. “We had a tough year last year but we’ve been doing better.”

The first awards at the meeting went to two officers who work together as NCOs for Sector A, which covers Stuyvesant Town and Gramercy. Officers Peter Rodriguez and Manny Rodriguez caught a man on Avenue C earlier in the month after they suspected him of riding a stolen motorcycle. After the man was arrested, the officers found that he was wanted citywide for stolen motorcycles and had also been arrested for felony assault after molesting his sister.

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Attempted rape in Stuyvesant Town

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Attempted sexual assault suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are looking for a man who attempted to rape a woman in Stuyvesant Town in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 29. 

The 20-year-old victim was walking near the M level exterior door of 7 Stuyvesant Oval around 5 a.m. when the suspect approached her from behind and grabbed her by the neck.

Police said that the victim resisted but she was knocked unconscious and fell to the ground when the suspect attempted to sexually assault her. Police said that another resident who was nearby came to the victim’s aid and called 911, after which the suspect fled on foot.

The suspect was last seen running west on East 17th Street towards Second Avenue. The victim suffered bruises to her forehead, neck and elbows and was transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation. 

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Registered sex offender arrested for L train groping

Suspect Gian Verdelli

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

This Friday, police arrested a man with multiple previous convictions for sex crimes in connection with a subway groping that took place on the L train near First Avenue earlier this week. The suspect was identified as 67-year-old Gian Verdelli, who the Daily News reported was just released from prison in May after he was convicted of another incident of sex abuse on the subway. 

The 37-year-old victim was on an Eighth Avenue-bound L train traveling from Bedford to First Avenue on Wednesday, June 26 around 8:50 a.m. when Verdelli allegedly put his hand under her dress and groped her. She and Verdelli both got off the train at First Avenue, where the victim took a photo of Verdelli with her phone before he fled the station. 

Verdelli is a level 2 sex offender and lives in a shelter on Wards Island, according to the New York State sex offender registry, and he was arrested there on Friday. 

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Man wanted for robbery in Union Square

Robbery suspect

The New York City Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance identifying a man wanted for questioning in connection to a robbery that occurred within the confines of the 13th Precinct/Transit District 4.

It was reported to police that on Monday, June 24 at approximately 3:25 a.m. inside the Union Square subway station, a 44-year-old man boarded a downtown 6 train at the location when an unidentified man punched and kicked the victim multiple times before fleeing with the victim’s wallet containing a credit card. The victim sustained swelling to left eye but refused medical attention. The male fled the station in unknown direction.

The person wanted for questioning is described as a Hispanic man, 18-25 years of age, wearing a yellow du-rag and dark clothing.

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of the male 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.

Cyclist killed by truck driver on Sixth Avenue

Cyclists paid their respect to the rider who was killed on Sixth Avenue. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

A truck driver killed a 20-year-old bicyclist on Monday morning at 9:25 a.m. on Sixth Avenue at West 23rd Street. When police responded to a 911 call about the collision, officers found the woman unconscious and unresponsive, lying on the street with trauma to her head. EMS responded to the scene and transported her to Bellevue Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased. 

A white Freightliner delivery truck and the cyclist were both traveling north on Sixth Avenue and a preliminary investigation found that the truck driver collided with the cyclist near the intersection of Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street. Police said that the 54-year-old truck driver initially left the scene but returned shortly after, so he was not charged with leaving the scene of an accident. 

The driver was issued five summonses but police said that the summonses were all related to truck inspections and not the collision. The NYPD Collision Investigation Squad is investigating but the driver has not been arrested. 

Cyclists held a vigil and memorial on Monday evening at the spot where the woman was killed, leaving flowers and candles on the east side of Sixth Avenue between West 23rd and 24th Street where the collision occurred.

Baby found unconscious at Madison Avenue shelter has died

MAve Hotel (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A two-month-old boy living at the MAve Hotel homeless shelter at 62 Madison Avenue was pronounced dead on Friday, June 21 at 10:16 a.m. after a 911 call about an unconscious infant. When police arrived at the scene, officers found the infant unconscious and unresponsive. EMS responded to the scene and transported the baby to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. 

Police said that the infant’s body did not have signs of trauma and there were no signs of foul play, so the NYPD will not be making any arrests in connection with the case. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing. 

The location where the baby was found was previously a hotel that was converted to a homeless shelter in 2016.