Customers and elected officials attend a rally in support of the supermarket at West 14th Street. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Residents of Chelsea and Greenwich Village, along with local elected officials, this past Sunday protested the impending closure of an Associated Supermarket on West 14th, which is run by the same owners as the Stuyvesant Town Associated.
The store, located at 255 West 14th Street near Eighth Avenue, is in the tenth year of a 15-year lease but principal owner Joseph Falzon said it will likely be forced to close in May because of a stipulation that says the rent can be increased to market value in the last five years of the lease.
It was previously reported that the rent would be increased to $200,000 and although the actual increase would be half that at $100,000, it is still substantially more than the store’s current rent of $32,000.
“Even if we came to an agreement, the rent can’t be much more than what it is now anyway or we won’t survive,” Falzon said.
Police arrested three teenagers for multiple armed robberies throughout Manhattan last Wednesday, with one incident taking place on East 20th Street near Stuyvesant Town and another along Gramercy Park North within the last month.
In post-Miranda statements, the 14 and 15-year-olds who were arrested told police that they had committed two to three robberies each night multiple times when they came into Manhattan from Brooklyn in an SUV allegedly driven by 18-year-old Daniel Jean-Louis, who was also arrested in connections with the robberies last Wednesday.
Police said that the 14 and 15-year-olds held up a woman at gunpoint in front of 45 Gramercy Park North last Sunday at 2:28 a.m., mugging her and her friend.
In one incident in Chelsea near 331 West 21st Street on November 7, one of the teens simulated a gun and stole a victim’s wallet around 2 a.m. In another incident in Chelsea on November 15, the 14 and 15-year-olds approached a man at 1:40 a.m. in front of 439 West 22nd Street and threatened a man with a silver-toned gun. A third incident in Chelsea took place in front of 416 West 20th Street last Sunday at 2:30 a.m. when the two younger teens pointed a silver handgun at the victim and demanded her property. The victim told police that she asked for help from a person who was parked in a white SUV nearby and he told her to get away from the car. The 15-year-old who was arrested later told police that it was Jean-Louis who told the victim to move.
Police said that the two younger suspects were seen on surveillance footage from the McDonald’s on Park Avenue South using stolen credit cards to buy food after robberies on both November 7 and November 15.
Police said that the 14-year-old also ordered items off of Nike.com using his own address, his mother’s cell phone number and the stolen credit card number of a card he stole last Sunday.
Jean-Louis, of East 29th Street in Brooklyn, was charged with nine counts of robbery, while the younger teens were each charged with five counts.
Police are on the lookout for two bank robbers believed to be responsible for different heists in Union Square, Flatiron and other neighborhoods.
With regards to the first suspect, on Wednesday, September 9 around 2:10 p.m., a man walked into the HSBC Bank located at 80 Eighth Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets in Chelsea, approached a teller and demanded money. However, the teller refused and the man fled empty handed.
At 2:35 p.m., the same man walked into the Union Square Apple Bank located at 4 Irving Place and East 14th Street, approached a teller and demanded money. This time the teller complied and the suspect fled with an undetermined amount of cash.
The suspect has been described as a thin black male, 30 to 40 years old and 6’2″ tall.
Chase and HSBC Bank robbery suspect
Police are also looking for another man they believe to be behind three separate bank robberies, in Times Square, Chelsea and most recently, the Flatiron District.
The pattern is as follows:
On Friday, September 4, at around 12:40 p.m., the suspect walked into a Chase Bank at 615 8th Avenue and 40th Street, approached a teller and passed a note demanding cash. He then fled with $2,850.
On Tuesday, September 8 at approximately 5:10 p.m., the same man walked into a different Chase Bank at 475 West 23rd Street and 10th Avenue and slipped the teller another demand note. This time he fled empty-handed.
The next day, on Wednesday, September 9 at around 2:15 p.m., the suspect was back at it, at an HSBC Bank at 145 5th Avenue and West 21st Street. After handing a teller a demand note, he got away with $1,992.
The suspect is described as Hispanic, approximately 5’3″ tall, 195 lbs. and in his 30s.
Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at http://www.crimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.
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.
The NYPD is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing person who resides within the confines of the 10th Precinct. The details are as follows:
Donald Allen Phillips was last seen at his residence, located at 231 West 25th Street, on Tuesday, February 28, at around 6 a.m. Mr. Phillips is described as a white male, with a height of 5 feet 8 inches and a weight of 160 lbs. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, tan slippers, a black “Korean Veteran” hat and a brown flannel jacket.
Anyone with information in regard to this missing person is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (5477) or submit tips at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.