DJ arrested for running illegal club in Flatiron

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

William Mendola, also known as DJ Billy Mendola, was arrested for allegedly running an illegal poker game inside a Flatiron building earlier this month.

Mendola, 51, was charged with running an unlicensed bottle club at 147 West 25th Street on Saturday, May 11 at 2:45 a.m. Police said that Mendola was working as the manager inside the location, where alcohol was being warehoused and allegedly sold illegally. Police said that the space did not have a valid liquor license and Mendola allegedly possessed gambling devices, including poker tables, playing cards and poker chips, which were reportedly used for unlawful gambling activity.

Mendola was indicted in 2003 on federal drug charges in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was charged with conspiracy to violate narcotics law. He pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2005 and was sentenced to almost 12 years in prison, and was ordered to be designated to a facility as close as possible to Las Vegas.

It is not clear how much of his prison sentence he served, but in 2013, Mendola wrote a letter to a judge to request early termination of the three-year supervised release that a judge mandated upon his release from prison. The court denied the request because he reportedly had not shown “exceptionally good behavior,” had not completed two-thirds of the period of supervision and his offense was large in scale.

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Man arrested for pulling emergency brake on 2 train

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 23-year-old Brooklyn resident Isaiah Thompson for reckless endangerment and criminal trespass early Friday morning for pulling a 2 train’s emergency brakes earlier this week.

Thompson reportedly gained access to the rear of a train car while the uptown 2 train was in the West 14th Street/Seventh Avenue station on Tuesday, May 21 at 5:43 p.m. Police said that he opened the rear door and rode for several stops on the outside of the train car, after which he allegedly activated the train’s emergency brakes.

Thompson was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass in connection with the incident in the First Precinct at 12:25 a.m. on Friday.

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Teens arrested for mugging senior outside Stuyvesant Town

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman at the 13th precinct’s most recent Community Council meeting (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have caught two teenagers who were wanted for robbing an elderly woman outside Stuyvesant Town earlier this month. Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman told neighbors that the pair had been caught during the 13th Precinct Community Council’s most recent meeting this past Tuesday.

Hellman said that the victim, who is in her 70s, was walking to her apartment on East 19th Street between Second and Third Avenue on Saturday, May 11 around 10 p.m. when the 17-year-old boy punched her in the face and knocked her to the ground before stealing her bag.

“We went to see her and she had a significant black eye,” he said. “Luckily nothing was fractured. I spoke to the woman when we went to visit her and she said she walks around the neighborhood all the time and has lived here for 20 plus years, sometimes walking around later at night. It really hurts me to think that people can feel unsafe like that. We don’t have that often but it’s very concerning.”

The teens were caught at the corner of First Avenue and East 14th Street on Saturday, May 18 around 1 a.m. by plainclothes officers who were patrolling the area, Hellman said.

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Woman, 73, mugged near Stuyvesant Town

May16 Mugging suspect

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who pushed a 73-year-old woman to the ground on East 19th Street and stole her purse.

The victim was walking at the southwest corner of 19th Street and First Avenue on Saturday at around 9:45 p.m. when the man came up to her and shoved her, police said.

The mugger then took off with her purse, which contained $300 in cash, an iPhone and various credit cards and IDs.

The woman, whose forehead was cut when she fell and also suffered bruising, was taken to Beth Israel.

The suspect is described as being black, in his teens or 20s and roughly 5 ft. 8 ins.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls are confidential.

Alleged serial pharmacy shoplifter arrested

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested an alleged serial shoplifter for multiple thefts from pharmacies on First Avenue since January who had previously been arrested that same month for more than a dozen other alleged thefts last year.

Town & Village previously reported that Sam Lee, 32, was arrested in January after he reportedly stole from the Walgreens in Stuyvesant Town more than a dozen times since last summer. Police said that Lee stole shampoo and toothpaste from the store at 298 First Avenue.

Not long after he was arrested for the first string of alleged thefts, Lee reportedly stole from the same Walgreens again later the same month. Police said that Lee entered the Walgreens on January 16 and took multiple bottles of shampoo.Shortly after that, Lee went into the CVS at 253 First Avenue and allegedly removed multiple Clif bars. On February 8, police said that Lee went into the First Avenue CVS and  stole multiple body hygiene products and multiple Dove products from the store on March 12. Police said that Lee went into the Walgreens at 298 First Avenue on March 20 and took multiple bottles of shampoo.

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Man fights off sexual assault in East Village apartment

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who tried to sexually assault another man in the victim’s apartment on East 13th Street and Avenue B.

The victim, a 37-year-old man, and the other man met at a bar on Monday at about 2:30 a.m. and the victim invited him home. Once there, the other man tried to sexually assault the victim, who managed to push off his attacker and kick him, and the man left the apartment.

At some point, the guest also stole the victim’s laptop, a tablet, around 25 computer hard drives, a jacket, a wallet, an ID and keys before fleeing on Avenue B.

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Woman groped on train in Union Square

Forcible touching suspect

Police are looking for a man who grabbed a woman’s crotch on a 5 train at Union Square.

On Thursday, April 11 at 8:20 a.m., in the vicinity of the Union Square, a 28-year-old woman was riding a southbound train when a man who was standing next to her grabbed her. The victim remained on the train and they both got out at the Fulton Street subway station where the man fled.

The person wanted for questioning is described as black, 20-30 years of age, 5’8″ and 200 lbs.; last seen wearing a camouflage jacket and dark pants.

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

Police Watch: Man charged with office thefts, Men accused of CVS robbery

MAN CHARGED WITH FLATIRON OFFICE THEFTS
Police arrested 28-year-old Amir Johnson on Wednesday, May 1 at 6 p.m. for multiple alleged thefts from various office buildings in Flatiron, including from 28 West 25th Street and 151 West 26th Street.

Police said that Johnson looted eight different locations since the beginning of this year. Johnson was caught after he allegedly stole a woman’s laptop and cell phone from an office inside the West 26th Street building between 4 and 4:30 p.m. on the day he was arrested.

The victim told police that she had left her cell phone and laptop on a bench in a hallway to use the bathroom and when she returned, both were gone. She said that she noticed an unknown man in the hallway and asked him if he had seen a laptop and cell phone and he said no.

When the victim asked a co-worker if he had seen her laptop, the coworker said he had seen an unknown man with a laptop and described the man that the victim had first asked about the phone and laptop.

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Police Watch: Man charged with apartment burglary, Teens arrested for fight

MAN CHARGED WITH GRAMERCY APARTMENT BURGLARY
Police arrested 52-year-old Santiago Ferreira for an alleged burglary inside 125 East 17th Street at Irving Place on Sunday, April 28 at 2 a.m.

The victim told police that he was out at a diner when an unknown person broke into his apartment by forcing the front door open. He said that when he returned home around 12:45 a.m., his door was open and the apartment was a mess with a number items having been taken. The victim said that the deadbolt had been broken and was on the floor, and there were also items in the apartment that didn’t belong to him. He told police that he spoke to his neighbor, who said that he heard noises around 6 p.m. that evening.

While waiting for the NYPD evidence collection team, the victim was pinging his MacBook so that it would make an audible noise when Ferreira allegedly came into the apartment with the victim’s stolen items. It was unclear why Ferreira went to the victim’s apartment with the allegedly stolen property but police said that he also lives in the building.

Ferreira allegedly told police that a friend gave him the victim’s stolen items, so police are still looking for a second possible suspect in connection with the actual apartment break-in.

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Homeless man accused of smashing over 40 WiFi kiosks in Manhattan

Juan Rodriguez was arrested in connection with the incidents.

By Sabina Mollot

Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for a week-long LinkNYC kiosk smashing spree in different neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Juan Rodriguez, 41, who’d been staying at the East 30th Street men’s shelter, was picked up by police in front of 230 East 21st Street at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

From April 16-23, a man, who was seen on surveillance video, smashed 42 Wi-Fi hubs with a brick or other blunt objects in Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Flatiron and in midtown.

Rodriguez has been arrested a number of times since 2006, mostly for alleged marijuana possession and criminal mischief, police said.

Police Watch: Girls arrested at Good Shepherd, Man accused of groping Barnes and Noble employee

GIRLS ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT OF COP AND EMPLOYEE AT GOOD SHEPHERD
Police arrested a teenage girl for an alleged assault inside Good Shepherd Services, a residence for girls, at 337 East 17th Street on Tuesday, April 16 at 3:59 p.m. Police said that the girl bit a staff member at the group home on the forearm, causing swelling, marks and pain.

The victim told police that the girl also threw a big, hard object at his face, causing a broken nose, bleeding and swelling to his left eye. The teen was also charged with resisting arrest because she reportedly flailed her arms and legs to prevent officers from handcuffing her, resulting in four officers being injured.

Nineteen-year-old Shaniah Daniels was also arrested inside Good Shepherd while police were attempting to arrest the other teen. Police said that Daniels attempted to intervene in the initial arrest, allegedly punching one of the officers in the face.Daniels was charged with assault of a peace officer and an unclassified misdemeanor.

The name of the first teen is being withheld due to her young age.

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$1,000 reward offered for kitten stolen from Petco

By Sabina Mollot

Cat rescue organization KittyKind is hoping to find a kitten that was stolen on Friday at around 2:25 p.m. from the Union Square Petco.

Though no one saw him in the act, a man breezed into the store on East 17th Street while the cats and kittens up for adoption were in their cages. Volunteers are only there in the mornings, evenings and weekends, so none were present when the man came in mid-afternoon, walked over to the cages and broke the lock of a lower cage. He then took a 12-week-old striped kitten named Sage from inside, leaving its sister Rosemary behind, and walked out the door.

According to Valerie Vlasaty, a KittyKind volunteer later briefed on the situation, a customer happened to see the man leave and mentioned he’d walked out with a kitten to an employee. The employee then went outside to try and stop the man, but it was too late; he’d already disappeared into the Union Square crowd.

“We’re devastated, heartbroken,” said Vlasaty.

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Police Watch: Woman accused of ID theft, Man charged with obstructing EMT

WOMAN ACCUSED OF ID THEFT AT BANK
Police arrested 59-year-old Robin Hill for an alleged theft inside the TD Bank at 90 Fifth Avenue on Thursday, April 11 at 4:48 p.m. Police said that Hill entered the bank, claiming that she lost her debit card and was trying to get a replacement card. When she presented a New Jersey ID to the bank employee, the employee discovered that the card was allegedly a fake license with Hill’s photograph and someone else’s name. The employee notified the supervisor at the location and they were able to get in touch with the actual owner of the account, who said that she had not given any permission to Hill to access it. When Hill was searched, officers found a valid New York State driver’s license with her real personal information on it. Hill was charged with grand larceny, identity theft and forgery.

MAN CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTING EMT IN FRONT OF BETH ISRAEL
Police arrested 34-year-old Ricardo Gonzalez for allegedly preventing emergency workers from doing their job in front of Mount Sinai Beth Israel at 10 Union Square East on Saturday, April 13 at 9:49 a.m. Police said that Gonzalez walked in front of an ambulance, obstructing the workers from responding to an emergency call. Gonzalez also allegedly made threatening gestures and used threatening language to EMT personnel. Police said that Gonzalez attempted to punch one of the workers and refused to disperse from the location, causing alarm and annoyance. Gonzalez was charged with an unclassified misdemeanor and disorderly conduct.

TEENS ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY
Police arrested two teenagers for a robbery in front of 495 Second Avenue on Sunday, April 14 at 10:47 a.m. Police said that the two teens punched the victim in the face before forcibly removing cash from him. One of the teens allegedly ran when officers attempted to handcuff them and he resisted arrest. The teens were charged with robbery and possession of stolen property. The names of the teens are being withheld due to their young age.

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Man charged with trying to bribe inspector

52 West 28th Street

52 West 28th Street

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a man in NoMad for allegedly attempting to bribe city officials in exchange for passing a gas inspection last week.

Yonghuang Zheng, 49, allegedly offered cash to two Department of Buildings inspectors in exchange for passing a gas inspection at 52 West 28th Street on Wednesday, April 3 at 2:50 p.m.

According to the district attorney’s office, an inspector saw that the set-up in the building was not up to code and there was no licensed plumber at the location, which is required for gas turn-on inspections. Zheng then allegedly offered the inspector money in order to pass the inspection and said, “Please do not fail me. I will take care of you.”

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Suspect charged with trying to rob Stuy Town Citibank

Citibank attempted robbery suspect

Police arrested a Bronx man on Thursday in connection with an attempted robbery of the Citibank at 262 First Avenue last month.

Robert Balsano, 47, of 1146 Ogden Avenue, allegedly strolled up to a teller on Saturday, March 23 with an encyclopedia that had a note inside demanding cash. However, the teller refused and he ended up fleeing without any money.