Woman steals credit cards at Taproom

 

 

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a woman they said stole credit cards from an employee’s purse at Taproom, a Gramercy bar, and then proceeded to use them to make purchases. Another employee at the bar at 307 Third Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets told Town & Village the theft happened on Saturday during brunch time when the thief sat down near where some employees were sitting.

Police tweeted a picture of the woman on Tuesday, who the employee said appeared to be light-skinned black with braided hair.

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

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Gramercy novelist launches third series about investigative reporter

Dick Belsky’s new character was inspired by women journalists he’s worked with, especially at The Post.

By Sabina Mollot

Gramercy author and former journalist Dick Belsky writes what he knows. In the 1990s, he penned a series of novels about a television reporter named Jenny McKay. In the past three years, he wrote four novels about a newspaper reporter named Gil Malloy. Now, he’s begun a third series about yet another journalist, this one named Clare Carlson, with the first book, Yesterday’s News, to be released by Oceanview Publishing, on May 1.

In an interview with Town & Village, Belsky said it’s stories centering around newsrooms that come most naturally to him after decades of working in them himself. Prior to becoming a novelist, Belsky worked as a top editor at the New York Post, where he helped create the famous “Headless Body in Topless Bar” headline. He also later worked for the New York Daily News, Star magazine and NBC News.

“No matter what someone says, I don’t think anyone can legitimately say, ‘This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about,’” said Belsky, who writes his novels under the name R.G. Belsky.

His most recent series of books, published by Atria Books, centered around an ambitious investigative reporter who had to climb his way up from the bottom after making a serious error in judgment that ruined his reputation. And Belsky still has plans to return to the series. However, the story he had in mind for Yesterday’s News wouldn’t have worked with Malloy as the protagonist.

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Robber pulls away cane from man, helps him back up, then steals his cash

Apr5 Robbery elder suspect

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are hunting a man who violently robbed a 70-year-old man on Park Avenue South on Tuesday by pulling his cane away from him as he walked along the sidewalk. After the victim fell to the ground, the suspect took his wallet. Then, upon seeing that there were people approaching them, the robber helped the victim get back to his feet. However, before fleeing west on East 24th Street, he snatched $15 in cash from the victim’s wallet.

The suspect is described as unshaven and light-skinned and was last seen wearing a black knit cap, a gray hooded sweater with red lining, a black jacket and camouflage shoes.

Anyone with information in regards 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 Crime Stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Former Baruch College coach pleads guilty to embezzling $700G

Jan18 Machli Joseph

Former Baruch College basketball coach Machli Joseph (CUNY image via YouTube)

By Sabina Mollot

A former Baruch College basketball coach has pleaded guilty to embezzling $700,000 from the school, money that he got and then pocketed from renting athletic facilities on the campus to outside parties.

Machli Joseph, 43, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday afternoon and could face up to ten years behind bars. New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said the former City University of New York (CUNY) coach conducted his scheme over a six-year period.

“This college official squandered and abused the trust placed in him by executing a multi-year scheme using school resources to benefit himself with close to three-quarters of a million dollars in stolen public funds,” Inspector General Leahy Scott said. “His crimes went unchecked for years on end and were symptomatic of the lax policies and oversight throughout CUNY facilities that I have been investigating as a separate matter.”

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Former pastor at Epiphany Church facing child pornography charges

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Monsignor Harry J. Byrne

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, a former pastor of Epiphany Church, Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, was charged with possessing dozens of images of child pornography.

The now 96-year-old retired priest of the Catholic Church allegedly had photos of girls as young as eight on his computer performing sex acts with men or posing naked. Additionally, according to an investigation conducted by Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, Byrne even viewed the images in front of many other people at his retirement home, the St. John Vianney Center for Retired Priests in the Bronx.

“People at his residence were subjected to it when they entered his room,” said Clark in a written statement. “Anyone who views child pornography supports horrific child exploitation.”

The monsignor was indicted on 37 counts of possession of an obscene sexual performance by a child and 37 counts of possession of a sexual performance by a child.

The investigation began five months ago after Clark’s office got a complaint about Byrne. The investigation concluded that he allegedly sought out images of young girls (aged 8-14) by using Google and Bing.

If convicted of the top charge, Byrne could face four years in prison and have to register as a sex offender.

Byrne, who worked at Epiphany from 1982-1996, where he retired from, pled not guilty to all the charges on Tuesday. He was arraigned before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary and was released. He is due back in court on January 17.

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Gramercy block co-named to honor Mother Cabrini

Council Member Rosie Mendez at the ceremony with Sister Pietrina Raccuglia, a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was founded by Mother Cabrini (Photo courtesy of Council Member Rosie Mendez)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

East 19th Street between Second and Third Avenues has been co-named in honor of a saint who was a presence on the block since the early 1900s.

Father Arthur Golino, a former priest at Epiphany Church who was recently transferred to St. Patrick’s, was the impetus for the co-naming and said on Friday during a brief ceremony that the 100th anniversary of the death of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini gave him a reason to push for the dedication.

“We figured that the sisters have been in the neighborhood for 100 years so it was about time they were recognized,” Golino said. “She walked around this neighborhood and 19th Street between Second and Third was always famous for Cabrini sisters.”

Mother Cabrini, who was the first naturalized American citizen to be canonized, came to the United States in the late 1800s to help Italian immigrants. She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and although the congregation is now based on East 19th Street, missionary sisters are scattered throughout the world and a handful even came from far-off posts in Ethiopia, Brazil and Central America to attend the dedication ceremony and sisters from the congregation helped to organize the event held last week.

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Gramercy block is co-named for former Children’s Court building

(Pictured L-R) Some of the project committee members gather at the sign unveiling: Claude L. Winfield; Judge Andrea Masley; Lois Rakoff; Tiffany Townsend; Dr. Samuel D. Albert; Louise Dankberg; Molly Hollister; Michelle Deal Winfield; Dr. David Christy, provost of Baruch College; and Council Member Rosie Mendez (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Sunday afternoon, a crowd of around 30 people, mostly community activist types, gathered at the northwest corner of East 22nd Street and Third Avenue for a ceremony to co-name the block “Children’s Court Way.”

The project was in the works for the past two years, and was the idea of East Midtown Plaza resident Michelle Deal Winfield.

The Children’s Court used to be located on East 22nd Street, in what is now home to Baruch College’s Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute. Today, there is just a bit of lingering evidence as to what the building’s prior purpose was, like the marble water drinking fountain built specifically for a child’s height, as well as some of the stairs in the building that are four and a half inches high instead of the standard eight.

According to Gramercy: Its Architectural Surroundings, a book published by the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates in 1996, a court for children was first established in Manhattan in the former Department of Public Charities Building on Third Avenue and 11th Street. This was in response to a push by reformers to treat juvenile delinquents differently from adult criminals and take their family circumstances into account. However, this court, a division of The Court of Special Sessions, was still required by law to treat children in the same manner as adults.

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Woman arrested in connection with fatal butt injection on East 21st Street

Aug3 Fatal butt injection

LATESHA BYNUM

By Sabina Mollot 

Police have arrested a Queens woman believed to have been involved in the death of a woman who received a fatal cosmetic butt injection last summer in an unmarked building near Peter Cooper Village.

Allison Spence, 44, has been arrested on charges of manslaughter and unauthorized practice of profession for the injection. Spence, who police said turned herself in, allegedly acted as a nurse during the procedure, for which the suspected doctor has still not been arrested. Police said they have identified the man but haven’t disclosed his name. That man is not a real doctor, according to a story in CBS New York, but police told Town & Village they couldn’t confirm that at this time.

The procedure was performed at a third floor apartment at 319 East 21st Street, between First and Second Avenues on July 15. Later police were summoned in response to Bynum complaining of dizziness and chest pains. She was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, but 12 days later was taken off life support after being pronounced brain dead.

The medical examiner has deemed the death of 31-year-old mother Latesha Bynum, a Harlem resident, a homicide.

A lawyer for Bynum’s family told CBS New York the doctor is a phony who used a Dunkin Donuts as his waiting room, and that a fake nurse greeted her. The attorney also said the doctor had a pattern of injecting unsuspecting women with “silicone poison into his patients’ buttocks and/or thighs.”

Meanwhile, Spence’s sister told the Daily News her sister denied giving any injection, saying she only prepped the patient by massaging her muscles.

 

UPDATED: Gramercy woman reported missing

Aug24 missing

Olivia Novik

UPDATE: Police report Novik has been found and is safe.

Police are asking for help in finding a missing Gramercy woman who was last seen on Monday, August 14 in the East Village.
Olivia Novik, 26, is a resident of the Gramercy Arms building at 145 East 15th Street.

She is described as approximately 5’6″ tall, 140 lbs. with brown eyes and long brown hair and has a tattoo of an olive branch on her back. The missing might be wearing a brown and white blouse with dark leggings and sandals.

Anyone with information 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 tips by logging onto tnypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

UPDATED: Eleven-year-old boy reported missing, last seen at School of the Future

Apr27 Campello

Marcus Campello

UPDATE at 10:26 a.m.: Police said Marcus Campello has been found safe although a spokesperson for the department didn’t have details.

 

An 11-year-old student at School of the Future was reported missing early Wednesday, with police saying he was last seen at the Gramercy school Tuesday afternoon.

Marcus Campello, who lives on East 41st Street, also went missing last week. Police issued a similar alert last Friday morning, although Campello was found later in the day.

One law enforcement source said he ran away from home.

School of the Future is located at 127 East 22nd Street and Lexington.

 

 

 

Man gropes woman inside East 24th Street building

Mar30 groperCops are on the lookout for a man who followed a woman into her building on East 24th Street and Lexington Avenue and groped her before taking off.

According to police on Monday, March 20 at around 6 a.m., the suspect followed the woman into the building and into the elevator. Once inside he grabbed her breasts over and under her shirt. The victim managed to push him off though, and he ran out of the building, heading east on 24th Street.

The victim, 54, wasn’t injured.

The suspect is described as black, 45 to 50 years old and 5’6″ to 5’7″ tall. He last seen wearing a green hat, a green jacket, black and white sweatpants and black and white sneakers.

Anyone with information in regards 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 Crime stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Inauguration fails to inspire most people we spoke with

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The inauguration is screened to a mostly empty Stuyvesant Town Community Center. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the majority of New York City residents not having voted for Donald Trump, the televised inauguration, which happened on Friday, wasn’t exactly must-see TV, at least not for too many people in Stuyvesant Town and Gramercy.

This became clear during the pre-inaugural ceremonies when this reporter, attempting to get some local reaction at Cooper Town Diner on First Avenue, was told “no comment” repeatedly.

But out of those who did comment, most, unsurprisingly, weren’t happy.

Josh Thompson, a Stuyvesant Town resident and Democrat candidate for mayor, once previously told T&V he considered Cooper Town to be his second office. But on this day, he was taking his food to go.

Asked for this thoughts, Thompson, an avowed “Obamacrat,” said he had recorded the inauguration of President Obama in 2009 and would go home to watch that instead.

“I’m going to do that for the day,” he said before rushing off.

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Cops looking for man stealing from lockers at New York Sports Club gyms

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Gym locker theft suspect

 By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a thief who’s been raiding lockers at Manhattan gyms for cash, clothes, laptops and other electronics since last September.

Police are currently aware of 14 thefts downtown, midtown and in Murray Hill and Chelsea as well as one incident in Gramercy, all at different locations of the New York Sports Club.

In the Gramercy incident, on October 13, the thief stole a 22-year-old man’s credit cards and keys from an unlocked locker at the New York Sports Club at 113 East 23rd Street near Park Avenue South. Based on surveillance photos, the white, very short-haired suspect is easily able to blend in, arriving to each place in workout gear or in casual clothing.

The first gym hit was the NYSC at 1221 Avenue of the Americas and 43rd Street, where the man made off with a backpack from an unlocked locker. He also took the victim’s shoes, headphones, credit cards and clothing.

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Police say he stole 14 times from different Manhattan locations of the gym.

Back in October, the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney warned the community at a meeting about a rash of gym locker thefts. New York Sports Club, he noted, was an especially popular target. He recommended that gym users get master locks that require keys.

Anyone with information about the gym thefts 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 Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Flatiron gets in the holiday spirit with SantaCon

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SantaCon participants got creative with their costumes as usual, including a group with real pine trees in their backpacks. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Revelers donned their best Santa, elf and reindeer costumes for the annual SantaCon pub crawl last weekend, which started in the shadow of the Flatiron building this year. Neighborhood residents let their opposition be known when the Santas gathered on the plaza at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and while the NYPD said there was no record of an arrest, NBC News noted that a handful of the protesters were escorted out of the plaza by police.

The NYPD also noted that no drunk or fighting Santas were arrested as in previous years, and while many in the community were not convinced of their noble intentions, organizers seem to be attempting to clean up the event’s reputation. Organizers on the plaza this past Saturday could be seen picking up bits of trash while the crowd started clearing out by late morning and one Santa berated a photographer climbing onto a planter, yelling at her not to be disrespectful of public property.

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Naked men removed from Gramercy storefront

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Workers remove a statue from 281 Park Avenue South. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last summer, the installation of nine anatomically correct male statues into a storefront in Gramercy raised a few eyebrows, with neighborhood residents wondering if it was an art exhibit or a marketing gimmick. It didn’t help anyone’s confusion that there was a neon sign in the window indicating the space was for rent.

As it turns out, the answer is it was a bit of both. On Monday afternoon, workers emerged from the storefront at 281 Park Avenue South and 22nd Street, moving out the larger-than-life-size sculptures. Asked where they were going, a worker at the scene said the naked men were headed to storage, since the ground floor space had been leased to a restaurant. However, Dan Turkewitz, one of the brokers marketing the space, later said nothing was finalized, so he wasn’t sure why the statues were being evicted. “We’re talking to a lot of different people,” he said.

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