Police Watch: Man strolls into woman’s apt. to pee, Teen stabs victim on train, slashes another



Matthew Pryblyski, 25, was arrested after allegedly breezing into a woman’s apartment at 149 West 14th Street, where he then headed to her bathroom and began to pee. The woman, who doesn’t know Pryblyski, said she told him to get out, and he responded by picking up a lamp and allegedly waving it around in front of her in a threatening manner. He also told her, “Shut up, you Arabic bitch. I am going to sue you,” according to a criminal complaint. Police said it is unclear how he got into her apartment in the incident, which occurred last Saturday night. He was arraigned on November 5 and his next court appearance on charges of burglary, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon is on December 20. Town & Village reached out to Pryblyski’s attorney, but did not hear back.



Police arrested a teen who, on Halloween night, slashed one teen with a scissor at the Union Square subway station and stabbed another on the train. The victim who was slashed said he was trying to get away from the girl, whose name is being withheld due to her age, when she slashed his wrist, causing a very serious physical injury. On the train, she also stabbed another male victim in the neck, hand and back. The incident may have been part of a larger fight. The alleged assailant attends Susan Wagner High School in Staten Island.


Police arrested Gerardo Torres, 30, after he allegedly pretended to be a cop to gain entry to a building at 334 East 26th Street last Monday morning. Police said he told a security officer there that he was an officer conducting an investigation at the location and even went as far as providing what appeared to be an NYPD-issued business card. The security officer didn’t buy it, however, and Torres was charged with impersonating an officer and criminal trespass.

Continue reading


Crime down this month in 13th Precinct, deputy inspector says

Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg at a meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg at a meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Crime has been down in the 13th Precinct in the last month and is also down overall for the year, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, the commanding officer of the precinct, told neighborhood residents on Tuesday.

Ehrenberg, who was discussing local crime stats at the most recent meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council, said that the 12 percent decrease is partially due to a decrease in grand larcenies, burglaries and robberies, but the latter two crimes have continued to pose a problem throughout the year.

“Robberies and burglaries are the key numbers to look out for,” he said, adding that felony assaults are also up this month.

He noted, though, as he has mentioned at meetings in the past, that the assaults aren’t much of a concern for the precinct since those numbers are primarily due to the hospitals in the area and the fact that officers are sometimes injured by people there who are resisting arrest, rather than random assaults on the streets.

Addressing a recent increase in assaults by delivery men, including an alleged attempted rape in Stuyvesant Town by a deli worker, the deputy inspector warned residents to take precautions when food is brought up to their apartments. He added that letting someone inside also gives them access to and knowledge of valuables that might be sitting out.

“There’s no reason to let people see what you have in there,” he said.

Like in a number of previous meetings, Ehrenberg made note of the surprising number of people who are victims of preventable crimes, like theft of unattended property.

“Pocketbooks on the backs of chairs and laptops left out unattended are being stolen. Leaving these things out in the open like that, you’re asking opportunists to come out and take it,” he said. “It’s easier to prevent this kind of crime than it is to do an investigation and solve it.”

He added that especially with the holiday season coming up, residents should be mindful of what they leave out and visible in their cars.
“Even if you went shopping and you’re just running into a restaurant to grab a quick bite, don’t,” Ehrenberg said. “We make collars on this kind of crime all the time but after we get them there are 20 more out there. We can’t stop that; it’s too many people.”

At one point the conversation turned to the annual SantaCon pub crawl, which is scheduled for December 13. The event has often been the bane of neighborhood residents where the crawl takes place due to public drunkenness by countless Santas and the deluge of vomit and public urination that usually comes with it. Inspector Ehrenberg, however, said that the precinct isn’t concerned about any problems with the event this year because aside from a group of brawling Santas whose fight was broadcast on YouTube, the weekend of the event last year was not especially problematic.

“We’re not expecting any issues (with SantaCon) this year,” he said. “Last year we put extra cops out and we’re going to have extra police for it this year, but I don’t think there will be any problems.”

The crawl typically starts somewhere in Manhattan, then makes its way to Brooklyn, though the route isn’t announced until shortly before the event. It was recently reported by Gothamist that the crawl was headed to Bushwick this year, but those plans have since been scrapped, amNY reported, and it remains to be seen where it may head.

Ehrenberg then honored two plainclothes police officers with the Cop of the Month award for their work that led to the capture of two gunmen last month. As Town & Village reported on the incident in October, a man was stopped in a rental car because police suspected that he was in possession of fraudulent credit cards. He and the other man in the car were found to be in possession of two loaded .40 caliber guns. Ehrenberg praised the officers’ work in tracking the men down.

“We have people around here in possession of guns like elsewhere in the city but thankfully we don’t have shootings like in other commands because of the work that these guys do,” he said.

Ehrenberg also noted at the meeting that as of this past Monday, the precinct is online. The precinct started tweeting under the handle @NYPD13PCT.
“A lot of us are new to the Twitter thing but it’s a learning curve,” Ehrenberg said. He added that residents are still better off calling community affairs at (212) 477-7406 or 311 about quality of life issues.


Residents blast CW for lack of info on crime in ST/PCV

Captain Steven Hellman speaks at Tuesday’s meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Captain Steven Hellman speaks at Tuesday’s meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The main concern for most of the people attending the 13th Precinct’s community council meeting this past Tuesday evening was the attempted rape of a 20-year-old Stuyvesant Town resident last Friday. As Town & Village’s blog reported on Monday, 26-year-old Juan Scott was arrested in connection with the incident.

The main point of contention for many at the meeting, however, was the lack of communication to ST/PCV residents about the incident. ST-PCV Tenants Association president John Marsh and TA chair Susan Steinberg were at the meeting along with a number of other Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents trying to find out why management had not notified residents of what had happened.

Captain Steven Hellman, who was leading the meeting, said that he couldn’t speak to management’s relationship with the tenants but noted that the open communication the NYPD had with CWCapital and Council Member Dan Garodnick’s office helped facilitate Scott’s capture.

Still, a number of residents continued to express frustration at the lack of notices posted around the complex that could have served as a warning. Marsh added that there also used to be a much closer relationship between the NYPD, Public Safety and the tenants. “

With the large turnover in population, the young people who have been moving in are not as aware of these kinds of things,” he said. “There is a distance that has been created from the turnover but we’d like to see more safety awareness and we’d like to work with community affairs.”

While Hellman reiterated that he couldn’t comment on the relationship between the tenants and the owner, and noted that “the ink didn’t even have time to dry” on the flyers because Scott was arrested so quickly, he said that he understood the need for disseminating the information to residents and would try to work with Public Safety on communication with tenants in the future.

He also admitted that being relatively new in the precinct, he isn’t as familiar with how things work between tenants and CWCapital and asked if there was ever any kind of forum for airing grievances, somewhat like a community council meeting but for ST/PCV tenant issues. When tenants at the meeting laughed at the idea and responded that there wasn’t, he suggested that they start it up now.

“Let’s be pioneers!” he said jokingly.

Hellman also praised officers’ quick and efficient police work that led to Scott’s apparent encampment on East 13th Street, fingerprint evidence that connected him to the alleged crime and his arrest less than 48 hours after it occurred.

IMG_3654In addition to this incident, a major one for the precinct, Hellman said that crime was up in general in the last month, by 4.7 percent, although he noted that crime was down for the year by 1.1 percent. Grand larceny, historically a problem for the precinct, was down 12 percent for the month and is down 8 percent for the year, but there has been a spike in burglaries, with 23 in the last month compared to nine in the same period last year.

“It sounds like a big number but we did have one good arrest,” noted Hellman. He said that career criminal Benjamin Guadalupe was recently arrested after he was caught breaking into an apartment. Guadalupe was allegedly involved in four different break-ins and Hellman made a point of noting that in three of those cases, the windows of the apartments weren’t locked, making it easier for Guadalupe to get inside and snag some expensive jewelry.

“It’s career criminals who are taking advantage of these crimes of opportunity,” Hellman said. “It’s very important to lock doors and windows. He doesn’t have incidences of extreme violence, but he is a bad guy.” Hellman noted that it’s still important to catch thieves in the act because even in cases where there is no violence involved, it’s possible that the people involved are violent criminals.

He pointed to a recent incident on October 8 in which two men were arrested by trying to make purchases at a New Balance with a fraudulent credit card and they were in possession of two semi-automatic guns. Both men are currently in jail and one of them had previously served time for murder.

Felony assaults also increased slightly in the past month but as Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg has mentioned in previous meetings, these numbers are primarily due to the hospitals in the precinct and EMS workers being hit while treating patients, and Captain Hellman said that the recent increase is not much of a concern.

Police arrest man suspected of office burglaries

Surveillance photo of burglary suspect

Surveillance photo of burglary suspect

On Friday, police collared a man they believe is behind a string of burglaries at offices, swiping mainly computers and cash.
Darnell Lawson, 50, of St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem, was arrested after police found him shortly after midnight allegedly attempting another burglary inside 28 West 36th Street.
The burglary spree began over two months ago in the confines of the 13th and Midtown South Precincts.

Police listed the following incidents:

On April 11, a man entered a business at 247 West 36th Street and swiped two MacBooks.
On Monday, April 28, he got inside the office of Michael Alan Group, an event marketing business at 22 West 38th Street, and took an iPad, a Mac book Air and cash.
On Friday, May 9, he broke into 114 West 26th Street, home to magazine and website publisher Hay Market Media, and grabbed a Dell Laptop.
On Saturday, May 24, he entered the office of Crossmedia Inc., 22 West 23rd Street and took several Mac Books and a bottle of bourbon.
On Friday, May 30, he went inside the APICA office at 20 West 23rd Street and left with a laptop.
On Monday, June 2, he went back to the Michael Alan Group office and got away with some cash.
On Thursday, June 12, the man got into Best Apartments, a real estate firm at 119 West 23rd Street, but left without taking anything. However, that same evening, he made off with five laptops from 153 West 27th Street.
On Friday, June 13, he returned to 22 West 38th Street for the third time, this time to the office of Prompt Business and took laptops and cash. He also went to 363 7th Avenue and stole laptops from Soft Tech Health.
On Friday, June 20, he made off with an undetermined amount of cash from a business at 24 West 23rd Street.

Police hunting man behind commercial burglary spree

Surveillance photo of burglary suspect

Surveillance photo of burglary suspect

Police are looking for a burglar who they say has forcefully broken into businesses and swiped laptops and cash. The addresses hit have been in the 13th and 13th and Midtown South Precincts.
The suspect is 30-35 years old, black, 5’8″ tall and180 lbs. He has a gap between his front two teeth, wears black glasses and has been seen wearing a black hat with the word “BROOKLYN” in white.
The string of burglaries started on Monday, April 28, when he entered the Michael Alan Group, an event marketing business at 22 West 38th Street, and took an iPad, Mac book Air and cash.
On Friday, May 9, he broke into 114 West 26th Street, home to magazine and website publisher Hay Market Media, and grabbed a Dell Laptop.
On Saturday, May 24, he entered the office of Crossmedia Inc., 22 West 23rd Street and took several Mac Books and a bottle of bourbon.
On Friday, May 30, he went inside 20 West 23rd Street to the APICA office and left with a laptop.
On Monday, June 2, he went back to the Michael Alan Group office and got away with some cash.
On Thursday, June 12, the man got into Best Apartments, a real estate firm at 119 West 23rd Street, but left without taking anything.
On Friday, June 13, he returned to 22 West 38th Street for the third time, this time to the office of Prompt Business and took laptops and cash.
On Friday, June 13, he went to 363 7th Avenue and stole laptops from Soft Tech Health.
On Friday, June 20, he made off with an undetermined amount of cash from a business at 24 West 23rd Street.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Crime down for year, burglaries up for the month in 13th Precinct

Lt. Kenneth Perez, special operations at the 13th Precinct, and Lt. Vincent Collins at a Tuesday meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Lt. Kenneth Perez, special operations at the 13th Precinct, and Lt. Vincent Collins at a Tuesday meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Crime is down overall for the year in the 13th Precinct, though it’s up for the month, mainly due to a spike in burglaries, police said on Tuesday.
Community residents got the latest stats on local crime from Lieutenant Vincent Collins, who took over the most recent Community Council meeting at the 13th Precinct. The precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, usually gives leads the meetings, but was stuck in midtown on President Obama’s detail.
Collins said that Ehrenberg was hoping to make it back downtown before the meeting ended but he didn’t make it in time for the crime report, in which Collins noted that the precinct is still on the right track.
However, crime was up 2.8 percent for the past month with the major problems due to burglaries, which shot up by 63.6 percent for the month compared to last month. Collins noted that while grand larceny is still a frequent problem in the area, it usually drives the crime in the precinct and is down for the year by 8.2 percent. He added, as Ehrenberg has emphasized in the past, that the most prevalent crime in the neighborhood is also one of the most preventable.
“A forum like this one is so important because we can tell people, keep an eye on your property,” he said. “Car break-ins are also a problem and in this day and age, we shouldn’t have to tell people, don’t leave your $1,800 laptop sitting on the front seat. Not everyone is as honorable as we are.”
Residents often attend the community council meetings to voice concerns or complaints about noise in their neighborhood and with so many bars in the area, noise issues are a common problem. Peter Cooper Village residents Anne Greenberg and Joan Greene were at the meeting on Tuesday to voice a concern about a more seasonal noise problem: the drunken rowdiness of party-goers disembarking from boats on the East River at all hours of the night.
“They come off the boats incredibly drunk and noisy, walking in the middle of cars and walking down the middle of 23rd Street,” Greenberg said. “At this point, I’m more concerned about the drivers because they wouldn’t even know that there are people right in the street.”
She added that while it is a seasonal occurrence starting when the weather gets warmer, it’s been going on for a number of years and isn’t just once a night. “It’s a sudden uproar and it’ll go on at midnight and sometimes again at 3 a.m. I’ve never seen any police presence controlling it.”
Detective Ray Dorrian said that the precinct does have cops stationed at the boats for crowd control right when people get off but that they would send people over to check out the area.
Anthony Solomito of the Manhattan CERT was also at the meeting to raise awareness about emergency preparedness as hurricane season starts up again. He emphasized that there is a new hurricane map and said that there is a push for residents to know their zones since the system has changed. The mapped zones have changed but the zones are also numbered now, from one to six, instead of lettered.
“All the stuff they send out about evacuating doesn’t do any good if you don’t know your zone,” he said. “And you don’t want to be on your own. If they say you should get up and go, get up and go.”
Cissy Stamm, a co-founder of New York Area Assistance Dogs and a resident of East 14th Street, was also at the meeting to raise awareness for business owners on how to recognize and react to individuals with service dogs, and what to expect from emotional support dogs.
“You have the right to ask what services the dog performs,” she said. “You can’t ask what the disability is.”
She added that a special vest isn’t required for service dogs and since those can be easily purchased online, aren’t always the best way to determine if it is a service dog. “You go by the behavior of the dog and the questions that the person answers,” she said.
In addition to assisting a blind person, Stamm said that some of the answers one might expect to the question of what tasks a service dog or emotional support dog performs is for hearing impairment, diabetes alert, seizure alert, mobility alert and general medical alert.
The 13th Precinct Community Council usually meets on the third Tuesday of every month but there are no meetings in July and August. The next time the community council will gather is at National Night Out Against Crime on August 5 at the Simon Baruch Middle School playground.


Robberies, larcenies down in 13th Precinct, assaults are up

Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, pictured at a recent meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, pictured at a recent meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Crime was down 4.7 percent overall in the 13th precinct last month, with robberies, grand larcenies and car thefts all down as well. Burglaries, often a problem for the precinct, were even for the month. Felony assaults were up but in most cases, the people involved knew each other or it had to do with incidents involving EMTs and peace officers.
The neighborhood’s recent crime was reviewed at the 13th Precinct Community Council meeting last Tuesday by the precinct’s commanding officer, David Ehrenberg.
“We’ve been getting crushed with burgs but we were down seven residential burglaries this month,” Ehrenberg said. “There’s still an issue with commercial burglaries and we’re trying to get businesses with burglary alarms and preventative measures.”
He added that a number of residential burglaries were still occurring because apartment doors were being left unlocked.
“You could have the best lock in the world but if it’s not locked, it’s not going to do any good,” he said. “It’s common sense to lock your door. It’s our responsibility to catch the crooks but we need your help to prevent it.”
Grand larcenies were down in the last month and the numbers are down for the year as well.
“We’re very happy with those numbers,” Ehrenberg said. “Property theft is what drives our crime and we drive a lot of city crime just because of those numbers, so we’re glad it’s down.”
While grand larcenies are down overall for the neighborhood, Ehrenberg noted that the theft of unattended property and identity theft have increased slightly. ATM skimmers continue to be a problem for the precinct and Ehrenberg advised residents to check the card readers at the machines to make sure they’re not the flimsy scanners attached by criminals attempting to steal personal information and to cover the keypad while entering the card’s PIN.
Ehrenberg continued to be baffled by the number of unattended property thefts in the precinct in places like Starbucks, mainly because the crime is so preventable.
“We took a walk to a lot of different places in the precinct today and we saw a lot of laptops just sitting there,” he said. “You’re not going to leave $500 sitting out but people are leaving $1,000 and $2,000 computers unattended. It’s an opportunist’s crime.”
Grand larceny auto, specifically of motorcycles, was a major problem for the precinct last year but Ehrenberg said that the precinct is down for the month and the year in car thefts.

Stuy Town resident says gold watch was stolen from apartment, then returned

Frank Scala, at a recent Tenants Association meeting, discusses how his gold watch went missing. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Frank Scala, at a recent Tenants Association meeting, discusses how his gold watch went missing. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
During a string of burglaries a year ago in Stuyvesant Town, when someone who may have been working for the property stole jewelry from apartments, longtime resident Frank Scala’s was one of them.
Only in his case, when a gold watch was stolen, it was returned.
Though it’s a year later, the incident was clearly fresh in Scala’s mind when he discussed it at a Tenants Association meeting on May 10.
Scala, who owns the La Scala barber shop on Fifth Avenue, is also a community activist, serving as the president of 13th Precinct Community Council and the Albano Republican Club.
He brought up the burglary during a Q&A period, though the only answer he got was the stunned silence of his neighbors in the audience.
According to Scala, the incident occurred on the day that work was being done on his apartment’s intercom. He hadn’t particularly wanted to let anyone in his home while he was at work, but the intercom work wasn’t optional.
So naturally, Scala was shocked to discover when he came home later that day that his gold watch was missing. He’d noticed it was gone when he’d opened a drawer looking for something else. Two gold rings and another watch, this one just a knockoff of a Rolex design, were also missing.
Scala, who’s now 75, called Public Safety and the police.
Then, said Scala, a week after the incident, he returned home from work to find the watch, inside a plastic grocery store bag that was hanging off his doorknob.
He said he wasn’t completely surprised about this as the watch, while valuable with platinum and diamond accents, had his name engraved inside. “You can’t sell it because it’s unique,” he told Town & Village. The rings, he added, were never returned.
Adding insult to injury, said Scala, is that the work that was done on his intercom was never completed. “There’s been a hole in the wall where the intercom used to be.”
This week, a detective at the 13th Precinct said the case is closed since the watch was found. A spokesperson for CWCapital declined to comment.
Last May, four burglaries were reported, each one at buildings in Stuyvesant Town where repairs were being made on the intercoms. Scala’s is one of them. The burglar or burglars, who never left any sign of forced entry, took thousands of dollars worth of expensive gold jewelry in each apartment hit. The pattern stopped, however, after a master key was taken away from the contractors doing the work.


Burglaries, robberies up in 13th Precinct

The Cop of the Month for April 2014 was awarded to P.O. Phil McGovern at the meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council on April 15.  Pictured are Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, Council President Frank Scala, and P.O. McGovern. (Photo by Pat Sallin)

The Cop of the Month for April 2014 was awarded to P.O. Phil McGovern at the meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council on April 15. Pictured are Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, Council President Frank Scala, and P.O. McGovern. (Photo by Pat Sallin)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
While crime in the area covered by the 13th Precinct is down overall for the year so far, burglaries and robberies are up. Overall, crime is down 2.4 percent for the year and 8 percent for the month but burglaries are up 37 percent since this time last year and robberies are up 44.8 percent.
The stats were announced by the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, at the 13th Precinct’s April community council meeting on Tuesday, April 15.
He added that there has been a slight increase, 1.9 percent, on felony assaults as well, noting that these assaults often become a problem for the precinct because of incidents in the neighborhood hospitals, and attacks on doctors, nurses and peace officers automatically carry a heavier penalty.
Grand larcenies, meanwhile, are actually down 10.9 percent for the year.
“That was the area that was most up last year,” Ehrenberg noted. Grand larcenies have been featured prominently in T&V’s blotter regularly, with a number of victims reporting every month that their property was stolen while left unattended or snatched out of their hands while on the subway.
The increases that the precinct has seen in burglaries is more unusual than previous months, Ehrenberg said, because they are up in residential as opposed to commercial burglaries. The deputy inspector noted that one criminal was busted trying to climb into someone’s apartment through a fire escape in the 6th precinct and Ehrenberg said that he also matched the description of someone breaking in through fire escapes in the 13th, so he said he is hopeful that the arrest will alleviate the problem somewhat.
The meeting was also attended by a number of neighborhood residents with quality of life concerns due to noisy tenants in their building and aggressive homeless people in the vicinity of area shelters. Public housing residents of 224 East 28th Street in the Straus Houses were frustrated because of constant noise in the middle of the night in multiple apartments. One resident noted that police have come to the building to address the problem but that once the cops leave, the noise just starts up again.
“The noise usually comes from two different apartments and I’ve been told that they actually sell tickets for people to get in,” another resident who didn’t want to be named said. “There is underage drinking going on and pot-smoking that permeates through three floors. Strangers have knocked on my door wanting to buy pot. We’ve been dealing with this problem for the last two years.”
Ehrenberg said that while crime in public housing is down and there were more directed patrols in that specific building added recently, they most likely won’t be able to add more police to the building any time soon but he wanted to assure residents that NYCHA buildings are always on their radar.
“We’re responsible for those buildings so what happens there is definitely a concern for us,” he said. “We don’t want you to think that we’re neglecting these buildings. Noise in the middle of the night absolutely shouldn’t be happening.”
One resident of West 25th Street had complaints about recent activity outside the BRC shelter between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. She said what concerned her the most, aside from the drug deals she saw taking place, was a man who appeared to be dealing drugs while accompanied by a child in a stroller.
The deputy inspector noted that the precinct has been meeting regularly with the shelter’s task force and has pushed the BRC to increase their patrols. He added that they’re only able to put foot posts in the higher crime areas, which doesn’t include this particular shelter, but they will be re-evaluating the situation when they get the five new recruits that are supposed to be coming in.
The meeting also included the recognizing of April’s Cop of the Month, Police Officer Phil McGovern.

Burglaries up in 13th Precinct


Lieutenant Mike Kotlyar, Community Council President Frank Scala and Executive Officer Frank Sorensen

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Burglaries have been on the rise in the 13 precinct in the last month, Executive Officer Frank Sorensen reported at the most recent Community Council meeting on Tuesday.

Sorensen filled in at the meeting for the commanding officer, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, who was unable to attend due to a family emergency, and said that while crime in general is flat for the year so far, burglaries on the East Side have increased, and most of them are due to unlocked doors.

“Three out of four of the victims had left their front doors open,” he said. “There are guys going around just trying doors and grabbing computers or anything else they can get.”

There were also recently three drug-related deaths over the weekend due to possible GHB overdoses. Sorensen said that GHB is a drug that is put into drinks and police are waiting for more information from the medical examiner. Oxycontin and other drugs were found in the apartment of one of the victims, Charlie Denihan, whose family owns a chain of Union Square hotels,

Police don’t expect foul play in any of the three incidents.

Despite the hard partying around Union Square over the weekend, Sorensen did note that St. Patrick’s Day, which fell on a Monday this year, was fairly quiet.

“Some in the past have been rough but maybe it’s just taking a backseat to SantaCon,” he said.

Detective Ray Dorrian added the quiet around the holiday also may have had to do with the fact that the holiday has fallen at the end of the week or on the weekend for the last three years before this one, which most likely made the crowds more rowdy.

Police Officer John Seidita, the traffic safety officer, was at the meeting to address the precinct’s efforts for traffic enforcement, in conjunction with the mayor’s Vision Zero plan. Officer Seidita said that they have been focusing on enforcement of motorized e-bikes, which were previously allowed due to a loophole in the law but have been officially banned since January. He encouraged residents to email him at john.seidita@nypd.org or call at (212) 477-2530 concerning complaints about e-bikes.

Captain Sorensen also introduced Lieutenant Mike Kotlyar, who is the new platoon commander that will be at the front desk from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. and can address problems from area residents at the precinct.

13th Precinct sees spike in thefts, burglaries

Police also preparing for upcoming SantaCon pub crawl

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Deputy Inspector Dave Ehrenberg at the 13th Precinct (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Deputy Inspector Dave Ehrenberg at the 13th Precinct (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The 13th Precinct saw a 35 percent spike in crime over the last month, mostly in burglaries and grand larcenies. The stats were revealed by Deputy Inspector Dave Ehrenberg at a meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council on Tuesday. However, Ehrenberg, the precinct’s commanding officer, noted that part of the reason for the increases is because of the comparison to the low numbers last year due to Hurricane Sandy.

The increases in burglaries are mostly due to residential incidents and, noted Ehrenberg, there were no cases of forced entry in the residential burglaries that had occurred.

“They’re getting in through patios, roofs and doors from adjacent buildings,” he said, adding that the crimes are easier to prevent than they are to solve and he reminded residents to lock their doors as well as windows, especially if they lead to a fire escape or balcony.

There has been an increase in grand larcenies as well and an especially large increase in what the NYPD refers to as “picks and dips,” which is when someone is pick-pocketed or their property is left out somewhere and then stolen. Cell phones and wallets are the most commonly stolen items in these cases and Ehrenberg said that it isn’t necessarily the newest model of cell phones that are getting stolen so regardless of how new the phone is, residents should still be vigilant.

Because these crimes are also difficult to solve after the fact, Ehrenberg advised that people be careful with their bags while on the subway and walking down the street.

“The thing about the 13th precinct is that we have a lot of people on our streets and we have to rely on eyewitnesses for solving these crimes,” he said. “A lot of times, crimes like these are reported late because victims don’t notice until later that their property is missing. They say they remember later that they got bumped and maybe their bag wasn’t zipped. If there’s a big gap in the time between when it happened and when it’s reported, it’s hard to figure out who did it.”

The increases in grand larcenies have also been due to victims leaving their property out and having it stolen. Ehrenberg said that there have been three cases in the past month of this happening in the Starbucks on Union Square West, with all items worth more than $1,000.

“It’s like having $1,000 in cash,” he said. “I’m not going to leave that sitting out on the table so why would I leave a laptop out on the table? These items have to be treated like cash.”

Telephone scams, which are recorded as grand larcenies, have also been a problem for the 13th precinct, and Ehrenberg noted that it isn’t just elderly people who are being targeted but that most of the victims have been between the ages of 20 and 40. “Con Edison is not going to ask for cash or a prepaid card and if they come to your door you should always ask to see their identification,” he advised. “If you’re suspicious, call 911 about it.”

Meanwhile, residents at the meeting have already begun expressing concern about the impending arrival of SantaCon, the annual pub crawl that often results in excessive drunkenness in the neighborhood starting in the morning and escalating throughout the day, and which will take place on December 14 this year.

SantaCon revelers gather in front of an East Village bar at last year's event. (Photo by Allegra Kogan)

SantaCon revelers gather in front of an East Village bar at last year’s event. (Photo by Allegra Kogan)

A resident of Stuyvesant Town said that he looked at the website and noticed that there are already 12,000 people who have signed up to participate. Ehrenberg said that police are already planning on increasing their presence on that day and while they try to speak to bar owners and discourage them from participating, he noted that this is difficult since the bars do make money from the event.

“They started earlier than we were expecting last year and last year was ridiculous,” Executive Officer Frank Sorenson added. “Security will be ready earlier this year so we’re more prepared.”

At the beginning of the meeting, Ehrenberg awarded Officer John Dziedzic as Cop of the Month for arresting a man for mugging a 16-year-old deaf boy in October. The boy was on his way to school at PS 347 on East 23rd Street when he was mugged. Ehrenberg said that the officers needed the assistance of two interpreters to communicate with the boy for a description of the man but when they went out with the description, Dziedzic followed him and an arrest was made. He was charged with robbery as well as grand larceny for an incident last year in which he had targeted the same boy.

Last month’s community council meeting was full of residents from buildings on East 28th Street who had complaints about a homeless man who had been causing problems in the neighborhood. As Town & Village reported earlier this month, Ehrenberg said at Tuesday’s meeting that the man, Anthony Lawrence, had been arrested and formally indicted on two high charges, attempted robbery and assault. Ehrenberg noted that his next court date would be November 26 and cops have been working closely with the District Attorney’s office on the issue.


Spike in burglaries, assaults

Lieutenant Vincent Collins reported a 10 percent increase in burglaries. Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

Lieutenant Vincent Collins reported a 10 percent increase in burglaries.
Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

In the first 13th Precinct Community Council meeting after the summer break this past Tuesday, police reported that the precinct has seen recent increases in crime, specifically in grand larceny auto, burglaries and felony assaults.

Lieutenant Vincent Collins filled in for the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, who was tied up with a duty throughout all of Manhattan.

Collins reported that there has been a 10 percent increase in burglaries this past month, although most of them are commercial burglaries committed by what police refer to as “office creepers,” who have been noted as a problem for the precinct in the past.

One resident who works on Fifth Avenue wanted to know about the kinds of buildings where these incidents are occurring, and Police Officer John Considine said that these thieves hit both doorman and non-doorman buildings, often posing as bike messengers or food delivery people.

He suggested that to stop it from becoming more of a problem, buildings should make it a practice not to let bike messengers or delivery people past the lobby to prevent them from wandering freely throughout the building and entering offices where they could potentially steal from employees’ desks. He added that doing so could also help spread the word among criminals, letting them know that certain buildings are more difficult to get into.

Although Collins said that there has been an increase in felony assaults, he noted that there have also been a number of arrests in those cases. “A lot of these have been assaults on officers and have been because of the hospitals that are in the neighborhood,” he added.

A resident and local business owner said that he’s encountered a number of people who seem mentally unstable who could potentially be involved in these assaults, and Collins suggested that anyone who encounters such a situation should call 911, or notify the precinct or 311 if the person is more of an ongoing problem for the area.

Other residents added that they’ve had problems with unruly homeless people in the past and seemed doubtful that the police had the authority to detain them for psychiatric evaluation. Linda Janneh from the District Attorney’s office said that in cases when people on the street are getting undressed, “releasing bodily fluids” or threatening to cause harm to themselves or others, they can be forced to go to Bellevue. If they are found to be in certifiable need of mental help, they will be kept in the hospital for at least six weeks.

Shana Wertheimer, the director of the Prince George Hotel on East 28th Street, was also

Shana Wertheimer, director of the Prince George Hotel on East 28th Street, discusses its housing of low-income and formerly homeless New Yorkers. Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

Shana Wertheimer, director of the Prince George Hotel on East 28th Street, discusses its housing of low-income and formerly homeless New Yorkers.
Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

at the meeting to speak about services available to the homeless population in the area. The Prince George is run by the organization Common Ground, which is a supportive housing provider for low-income New Yorkers and the formerly homeless.

Common Ground has apartments and temporary housing available throughout the state, including the original building in Times Square. Forty percent of the units in the Prince George are set aside for low-income residents and 60 percent are for the formerly homeless, and the case managers help residents with services such as medication monitoring, money management or with any issues they have, the goal being to provide a more economically-friendly alternative to the city’s shelter system for homeless people in the area.

The increases in grand larceny auto cases have been primarily in the theft of motorcycles, which has been reported in T&V’s Police Watch recently, including two in the past week. Collins noted that all of the incidents have happened late at night and they have beefed up specialized units in an attempt to deal with the problem.

“We’ve had a decrease in grand larcenies, which has historically been our nemesis,” he added.

It also wouldn’t have been a 13th Precinct Community Council meeting without a number of complaints about bikes. Considine said that the precinct has been up in enforcement for the past few months, to the disbelief of some of the residents at the meeting, who said that the number of rule-breakers they’ve seen on bikes has been increasing.

Considine admitted that the arrival of Citi Bike has added to the problem but noted that officers have been writing more summonses for cyclists who have been disobeying the traffic laws and riding on the sidewalks.

“It’s hard to enforce every time it happens and it’s not an easy problem to solve,” he admitted.

The next community council meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 15 at 6:30 p.m. and will include the presentation of Cop of the Month for both September and October.

Letters to the Editor, May 30

Tenants should pick next mayor carefully

Re: Letter, “Rent hikes will destroy community,” T&V, May 23

To the Editor:

When the chair of the ST-PCV Tenants Association cries, “Where’s our mayor?” several times, we’re in trouble. Susan Steinberg concludes her letter with, “The silence is deafening.” But to me the answer to her question, “Where’s our mayor?” is loud and clear.

First of all, we tenants have not had a mayor we could call “ours” in over 20 years. During the Republican administrations of “their” mayors, Giuliani and Bloomberg, we have suffered rent hikes every year. Why? Because the Republican Mayor’s handpicked Rent Guidelines Board, which is stacked 5-4 against tenants, automatically votes in favor of the landlords every year.

If you want to find “their” mayor, go to a Republican fundraiser where you’ll see him surrounded by smiling landlords and developers. Years ago you could see him shaking hands with Republican Senate Majority Leader Bruno, no friend to tenants, who would travel to NYC from Albany using official state helicopters and official state-chauffeured cars to conduct “state business” with the Republican mayor, but only in person and only at the fundraiser.

I agree with Ms. Steinberg that rent hikes will destroy our community; they’ve been doing that for years. But the question should not be “Where’s our mayor?” but rather where’s an electable Democrat who supports affordable housing?

Surveying the current crop of candidates, that’s not going to be an easy question to answer, but only if we find one and elect him can we stop rent hikes every year and/or at the whim of the landlord.

John Cappelletti, ST

Continue reading

Burglaries at 3 apts. in Stuy Town

By Sabina Mollot 

A burglar or burglars has hit three apartments in Stuyvesant Town recently, each time at a building undergoing intercom repairs and with no forced entry to the unit. In each incident, jewelry was removed and in the most recent incident, reported late Tuesday, $40,000 worth of jewelry was taken, according to the ST-PCV Tenants Association.

Another victim reported losing $6,000 worth of jewelry and in the other case, $10,000 in jewelry was said to be taken. The buildings are 610 East 20th Street, 319 Avenue C and most recently 620 East 20th Street.

The TA sent an emailed alert to residents on Tuesday night about the burglaries as well as its concerns about unauthorized entry into apartments by employees of the property for non-emergency-related work. In two cases, tenants returned home to find their doors ajar.

“Both of these ‘door left ajar’ reports were from buildings receiving the new intercoms,” the TA said. “One of the reports was from the same building and same time frame as one of the burglaries.”

The commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, said the

Stuyvesant Town Security Chief Bill McClellan and General Manager Sean Sullivan address residents at a town hall meeting on Tuesday. Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town Security Chief Bill McClellan and General Manager Sean Sullivan address residents at a town hall meeting on Tuesday.
Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

case is being investigated by the detective squad.

“The standout thing is that there was no forced entry,” said Ehrenberg, who added that there was no way to determine yet if the crimes were committed by an employee or contractor. Stuy Town management has been fully cooperative though, he said. Meanwhile, ST/PCV now has a beefed up police presence.

A spokesperson for CWCapital declined to comment on the incidents to Town & Village, citing the ongoing investigation.

However, numerous tenants who’d heard about onsite burglaries demanded answers from management at a town hall meeting held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Community Center.

At that time, management only knew of two incidents. (The report of a third came later in the evening). Residents were also concerned that contractors were being let into apartments to do maintenance when the tenants weren’t home, especially in light of the recent burglaries.

“(The incidents) all seemed to coincide with maintenance work taking place,” said Tenants Association board member Kirstin Aadahl.

In response, Sean Sullivan, general manager of ST/PCV, who was hosting the meeting, said that, “Public Safety escorts contractors to apartments. That’s the way it should happen.”

ST/PCV’s head of security, Bill McClellan, added that while at that time, a third burglary had been rumored, in one of the incidents, the woman later found the things she thought were missing.

John Marsh, president of the TA, later said that this was the first of the four burglary reports to come in, ironically occurring a few days before the other, confirmed incidents.  In that case, the Peter Cooper Village resident who reported it later discovered jewelry she thought was stolen in the back of her safe deposit box.

Marsh added that although the next two incidents were reported on May 2 and 3, they’re believed to have occurred in April. He also said he’s heard rumors about a fourth incident, this one again at 620 East 20th Street.

The resident who was burglarized at 610 told T&V she was the one to lose $6,000 worth of jewelry, all of it gold and most of it family heirlooms.

The resident, who didn’t want her name published, also said while she doesn’t know exactly when it happened, she also lives in an apartment where an employee entered to fix the intercom without asking. At that time, her sister, who she shares an apartment with, was home. They don’t know if any maintenance visits were made since then and said after asking, were told there were no records of any such visits.

The woman also said flyers she posted around the building to alert neighbors were taken down, and that she later heard that flyers she’d slipped under neighbors’ doors were actually pulled out by security.

As for the incidents of workers entering apartments without tenants’ permission, according to the TA’s alert, several complaints were from residents who were at home in another room when workers entered “and were terrified to find strangers in their living rooms.”

Marsh also said that while an officer is assigned to stand in the building hallway while work is being done in an apartment, that based on what he’s heard, the presence of an officer is “not consistent.” The TA also said it’s received reports of workers entering apartments despite the resident’s refusal to allow them to do so.

“I remember a time when one could allow owner-employed maintenance personnel into one’s apartment without fear of losing valuables,” TA Chair Susan Steinberg said. “And I remember a time when schedules were always negotiated with Resident Services, who would never dream of forcing an entry, except for an emergency such as water overflow, fire or serious gas leak. Tenants have the right to limit unannounced, unauthorized entries to actual emergency conditions and should insist that management respect these limits.”

In response to the concerns about unauthorized entry, Brian Moriarty, a spokesperson for CW said management was only aware of one such report from a resident.

“In that case, apartment entry was correctly scheduled with the resident but management mistakenly entered one day too early. Management apologized directly to the resident No other claims have been received.  Per the lease, management has the right to enter a unit. In emergency situations, management may enter a unit without notice. In non-emergency situations, management’s practice is to provide notice to residents and provide them the option to reschedule for a more convenient time if desired.

Maria Rocha-Buschel contributed reporting to this article.

This article was updated from the print version published on Thursday, May 9 to include a comment from CWCapital.


Resident town hall gets heated

Stuyvesant Town Security Chief Bill McClellan and General Manager Sean Sullivan address residents at a town hall meeting on Tuesday. Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town Security Chief Bill McClellan and General Manager Sean Sullivan address residents at a town hall meeting on Tuesday.
Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

General Manager Sean Sullivan hosted a town hall meeting for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents last Tuesday, the first such meeting in a number of years. Sullivan noted at the beginning of the meeting that its purpose was an informal gathering to talk with seniors about residential programming and the community center, but it quickly became clear that residents had other things on their minds. Security issues, Sandy-related problems and the rising student population were some of the main concerns of tenants at the meeting.

In light of the keycard failures during Sandy, one resident asked Sullivan at the beginning of the meeting if it would be possible to put regular cylinders with physical keys back on apartment doors.

“You may not like some of my responses but I’m going to try to be straight with you tonight,” Sullivan said. “The short answer is no. It’s a system that we put in place and it works. (Sandy) was an extraordinary moment in time and we took extraordinary measures.” Residents responded to this, frustrated, saying the system obviously does not work if it failed for so long after the storm, but Sullivan noted that Sandy was not a typical scenario. “Battery backup for the keycard system will work in a typical outage,” he said.

In addition to the keycard failures, other residents noted that the emergency lights in the stairwells failed as well. Sullivan said that there is a battery backup for these as well but they did not last as long as the outage because they were only meant to be used for hours at a time, not days. When tenants specified that there were cases in which the lighting did not even last for hours after the blackout, Sullivan said that he wasn’t aware of this issue and would look into it.

Many Peter Cooper Village residents were on hand at the meeting to express frustrations about the lack of laundry services, as well as the partial elevator service that still exists in some of the buildings.

“My husband is in a wheelchair. We waited two and a half hours because the one elevator was out (a couple weeks ago),” one resident said. “You can keep your memos about the landscaping. Restoring elevator service should be your number one priority. All we’ve got is reassurances and no definitive information.”

After heckling from other meeting attendees about the lack of a concrete date, Sullivan said the hope is that all elevator service will be restored by the end of this month, and attempted to explain why the process has been so lengthy.

“They’re not broken, they’re gone,” he said. “The workers are rebuilding the elevators in the shaft from scratch. We were fortunate to get in the queue. There were a lot of manufacturers that stopped taking orders because the need was just so high (after Sandy). There is no profit for us to move any slower on this.”

As for laundry, service for residents without it in Peter Cooper Village will still have a few months to wait.

“We’ve said that laundry service would be fully restored by September of this year. I’m not changing their timeline but we are trying to do better than that,” he said. “We’re focused on restoring these services. We don’t want you to be frustrated, but the damage was significant and severe. I understand the level of frustration and I don’t want to diminish it for a moment. We’re working on it. It’s not a great solution but we’re doing our best.”

Although noise and late-night rowdiness from the community’s younger population has been a recent complaint of many residents in this newspaper’s letters to the editor, residents at the meeting were more bothered by the transient nature of students in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. The constant moving in and out of short-term tenants was a point of concern for those at the meeting. Some residents noted that it even becomes a frustrating security issue because building doors have been propped open while people are moving. “It happens every month, sometimes in the middle of the month as well,” one resident said at the meeting. “When I bring it up to them, security says, ‘oh it’s fine.’ But it’s not fine. It’s a safety issue.”

ST/PCV Security Chief Bill McClellan said that alarms are set to go off if a door has been propped open for three minutes. They’ve also sent people to close doors and tell movers that they can’t prop the doors open, but residents at the meeting were frustrated that this was not helping, one noting that she had told movers herself not to prop the door open and the mover cursed at her.

A resident of 541 East 20th Street said that she was concerned about safety issues as well after maintenance had entered her apartment to install an intercom without notice or permission, and was especially disturbed after hearing about the reports of burglaries in the community.

Sullivan said that maintenance is supposed to reach out to tenants beforehand and for tenants that don’t respond, maintenance may come back multiple times to deal with these exceptions. After not specifically addressing the resident’s situation, other attendees at the meeting became frustrated, yelling while Sullivan attempted to move on to another question.

In response to concerns about the thefts possibly being related to recent maintenance work, Sullivan added that public safety is supposed to escort outside contractors to the apartments to supervise but otherwise had no information about why this incident occurred at the building on East 20th Street.

In some of the less contentious moments of the evening, Sullivan did announce that the gym is expected to reopen in just a few weeks.

He also noted, to the appreciation of the tenants at the meeting, that the doors in the community center would be replaced by automatic sliding doors, similar to those in supermarkets, because there have been issues with seniors walking into the doors or having difficult getting them open.