Airbnb apts. still an ongoing issue in ST

By Sabina Mollot

In October, Governor Cuomo signed a law that will impose steep fines on Airbnb hosts who break local housing regulations. The short-term rental listings giant sued over the law though the company recently settled with the city of New York once it was made clear that hosts and not Airbnb were the target.

Short-term rentals in apartments were already illegal in many cases in New York City if the stay is under 30 days and the apartment’s tenant of record isn’t also staying there. Additionally, the practice also violates lease terms at some properties, including Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, though this hasn’t stopped tenants from listing their homes on Airbnb and other sites.

In recent years, this has been a worry for tenants who are concerned about problems like the spread of bedbugs as well as safety in an environment where they don’t know who’s staying next door. Four years ago when there was an uptick of bedbug sightings in the complex, then Tenants Association President John Marsh suspected that might be the reason. At one point, representatives from the ST-PCV Tenants Association and management met with representatives from Airbnb. The meeting resulted in the company agreeing to issue a pop-up notice on its website stating that rentals are illegal if the site’s user tries to advertise a Stuy Town or Peter Cooper address.

Yet, the practice has persisted.

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Police Watch: Police looking for Sixth Ave. attempted bank robber, teen arrested for thefts at fast food joints

Bank robbery suspect

Bank robbery suspect

MAN WANTED FOR ATTEMPTED BANK ROBBERY
Police are seeking the public’s assistance in locating and identifying a person wanted in connection to a robbery of an HSBC bank located at 800 Sixth Avenue.
On Thursday, February 5 at 8:45 a.m. a man walked into the bank and passed a demand note, but ended up fleeing without money.
The suspect is described as a black man who is approximately 35 years old, 5’7”, with a dark brown complexion and thin mustache. He was last seen wearing a dark colored winter hat with ear flaps, gray scarf, dark colored winter jacket, dark pants and tan boots.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident 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 nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting TIP577 and their tips to 274637 (CRIMES). All calls are strictly confidential.

MAN NABBED FOR IPHONE ‘THEFT’ FROM CAR
Samuelle Blakely, 46, was arrested for petit larceny at the corner of Broadway and West 28th Street last Thursday at 4:04 p.m. Blakely was also charged with resisting arrest and possession of stolen property.
The victim told police that she was in a car with her boyfriend and had asked Blakeley if he knew where a nearby bathroom was, then left the vehicle. Her boyfriend was still in the driver’s seat and Blakely allegedly got into the car. When the victim returned to find Blakeley still sitting in the passenger’s seat, she asked him to leave and when she got back in the car, immediately noticed that her cell phone was missing from the seat.
A lieutenant stopped Blakely not long after on suspicion of stealing a cell phone and Blakely allegedly pushed the officer away, causing injury. Police said that he ran north on Broadway towards West 28th Street. He was then stopped at the intersection and arrested. After searching him, police said that he was in possession of a stolen iPhone 4 belonging to the victim that was recovered after it fell out of his pant leg.

TEEN BUSTED FOR ‘FAKE’ NBA ALL STAR TICKETS
Nineteen-year-old Derrick Johnson was arrested in front of 100 East 23rd Street for forgery and fraudulent accosting last Thursday at 5:15 p.m. Johnson allegedly agree to meet an undercover officer to sell tickets to the NBA All Star Game via Craigslist and when the officer met up with him, the tickets appeared to be fraudulent.

PIPE ASSAULT ON FIRST AVE. AND EAST 25TH
Police arrested 53-year-old Jerome Maxwell for assault at the corner of First Avenue and East 25th Street last Saturday at 2:41 a.m. Maxwell allegedly hit the victim with a metal pipe in the left shoulder, causing pain and swelling.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘SELLING DRUGS’ AT ASSER LEVY PLACE
Police arrested 26-year-old Eduardo Garcia for intent to sell a controlled substance and sale of a controlled substance at the corner of Asser Levy Place and East 23rd Street last Thursday at 10:10 p.m. Garcia was allegedly selling a quantity of a controlled substance to another person and after searching him, police said that he was in possession of an additional quantity of a controlled substance.

CREDIT CARD THIEF NABBED
Police arrested a teenager for grand larceny inside School of the Future at 127 East 22nd Street last Thursday at 2:14 p.m. The teen used a stolen credit card inside the Chipotle at 125 East 23rd Street for food totaling $18.25. The teen said that he got the card from his friend, who had stolen it from a teacher.

WANTED GAP SWEATER ‘THIEVES’ CAUGHT
Police arrested two men who were connected to previous crimes within the 13th precinct last week. James Whiting, 45, and Frankie Blake, also 45, were charged with possession of stolen property and burglar’s tools. Police said that Whiting and Blake, who officers recognized from a “wanted” posted, were seen in front of 69 Fifth Avenue last Thursday at 2:10 p.m. casing the location.
When an officer approached, he saw that they were allegedly in possession of burglar’s tools (a box lined with foil inside a large plastic bag), which contained stolen merchandise with security tags. The two had allegedly previously swiped sweaters from the nearby Gap store.
Police said that Whiting was in possession of suboxone, a drug used to treat dependence on opiates, and was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

TEEN BUSTED FOR THEFTS AT FAST FOOD JOINTS
Nineteen-year-old Roland Thomas was arrested inside the 13th Precinct last Friday at 6 p.m. Thomas was charged with three counts of grand larceny and one count of possession of stolen property. Thomas allegedly entered the Starbucks at 10 Union Square East at an earlier date and stole a bag containing credit cards. On a different occasion, Thomas allegedly swiped a Lenovo laptop from the Chickpea at 210 East 14th Street. Police said that when he was arrested, Thomas was in possession of the Lenovo laptop and a tablet belonging to an unknown victim. Police said that Thomas was responsible for two additional grand larcenies, one of which happened at the end of last year, but no further information was available about where the alleged thefts took place.

MAN ARRESTED FOR COUNTERFEIT SNEAKS
Police arrested 49-year-old Christopher Bailey in front of 18 West 29th Street for forgery last Tuesday at 10:10 a.m. Bailey was allegedly in possession of trademark counterfeit sneakers in public view.

‘POT’ DEALER ARRESTED
Police arrested 35-year-old Mamamdou Barry at the corner of Broadway and West 28th Street last Tuesday at 11:07 a.m. Barry was charged with resisting arrest, an unclassified misdemeanor, sale of marijuana and possession of marijuana. Police said that he was selling pot at the corner and when they tried to stop him, he fled. When he was searched, he was allegedly in possession of additional marijuana.

MAN NABBED FOR SELLING ‘LOOSIES’
Fifty-one-year-old Kenny Smith was arrested for an unclassified violation in front of 52 West 28th Street last Tuesday at 5:25 p.m. Smith was allegedly approaching pedestrians and selling loose cigarettes without a license.

ARREST FOR ‘SNATCHING’ WALLET AT KOA
Eighteen-year-old Dayanara Torres was arrested for grand larceny and possession of stolen property last Wednesday in front of KOA at 12 West 21st Street at 12:20 p.m. Torres allegedly took a wallet from a handbag containing multiple credit cards and cash from the location.

MAN ARRESTED FOR STOLEN PROPERTY
Police arrested 41-year-old Pedro Rivera for possession of stolen property in front of 139 Fifth Avenue last Tuesday at 1:45 p.m. Police said that Rivera was hiding inside a public phone booth while he was removing items from their security casing and putting them into a black backpack, then left the location. He was allegedly in possession of stolen property when he was searched.

WOULD-BE BIKE ‘THIEF’ BUSTED
Police arrested 29-year-old Jeremy Rodriguez for burglar’s tools and petit larceny in front of 60 West 23rd Street last Wednesday at 5:24 p.m. Rodriguez was allegedly yanking on a bicycle lock in an attempt to remove the bicycle from the rack. Police said that Rodriguez was also in possession of a metal rod commonly used in bike thefts.

VENDOR BUSTED FOR ‘FAKE’ ROLEX
Michael Groux, 31, was arrested in front of 41 Union Square West last Wednesday at 5 p.m. for forgery and an unclassified misdemeanor. Groux was allegedly displaying for sale six watches with a counterfeit trademark for Rolex, and police said that when they asked Groux to show them a DCA license, he couldn’t.

MAN BUSTED FOR CAMERA STORE ‘THEFT’
Police arrested 27-year-old Xavier Veal for grand larceny inside Adorama at 42 West 18th Street last Thursday at 8:35 p.m. Veal allegedly removed $2,400 worth of merchandise from the store, put it into his jacket and attempted to leave.

Police Watch: Pair indicted in rental scam, teen arrested for masturbating in Union Square

MEN WANTED FOR RESTAURANT ROBBERY
Cops are hunting three men who they believed robbed Crema, a restaurant at 111 West 17th Street.
On September 12 at 10:30 p.m., police arrived at Crema after being called by a restaurant employee who said three men walked in and snatched a cash register from behind the bar. The victims also said that one of the robber pulled out a machete and demanded money in Spanish. The men then fled west bound on West 17th Street towards Seventh Avenue. The investigation is ongoing and the suspects are described as three Hispanic men in their 20’s wearing masks.

PAIR INDICTED IN RENTAL SCAM
On Tuesday, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., announced the indictment of Matthew Wada, 36, and Jennifer York, 27, for engaging in an apartment rental scam that defrauded more than 20 victims, many of whom were moving to New York City for the first time, out of approximately $60,000 dollars. Following an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD’s sixth and ninth precincts, the indictments charge the defendants with scheme to defraud in the first degree and multiple counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree. Wada is also charged with grand larceny in the third degree.
According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, from late October 2013 to early March 2014, Wada and York gained temporary access to various apartments by renting the apartment through websites including Craigslist and NYHabitat.com for vacation or a short-term stay. The apartments were located throughout Manhattan, including in Midtown, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, and the East Village. Once the defendants gained access to an apartment, they would then advertise it for rent on different websites, including Craigslist and Bazarynka.com, the latter a website serving the Polish community in New York.
Victims who responded to the defendants’ rental advertisements were shown an apartment Wada or York had access to for only a short period of time. The victims, who were falsely told that Wada was the apartment’s landlord, signed long-term lease agreements with future start dates and gave the defendants varying amounts of rent and security deposits up front.
Victims lost anywhere from $150 to $4,500, with average losses around $2,200. In many  cases, multiple victims signed leases for the same apartment.

CRAIGSLIST ‘SCAMMER’ BUSTED IN STUY TOWN
Police arrested 23-year-old Sarkis Avoyants in front of 447 East 14th Street in Stuyvesant Town last Wednesday at 2 p.m. Avoyants, along with another man, allegedly stole $500 from someone who had contacted him on Craigslist to conduct a move. The two men took the money from the victim and then fled without providing the service that was promised, police said.  Police caught Avoyants but the other man got away.

‘GROPER’ NABBED THANKS TO GOOD SAMARITAN
Fifty-year-old Stuart Bennett was arrested for sexual abuse last Thursday at 5:05 p.m. on the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 27th Street. Bennett allegedly approached a woman from behind, put his hands on her hips and forcibly pushed himself into her with his groin and began gyrating into her buttocks. A witness, who flagged down a nearby Port Authority police officer, told police that he saw Bennett forcibly gyrating against the woman.

TEEN MASTURBATES ON L PLATFORM
Police arrested a teenager in the Union Square subway station for public lewdness last Friday at 9:30 a.m. The teen was on the L platform masturbating under the stairs leading to the N/Q/R platform with his right hand inside his right front pants pocket. The teen attends Park West High School at 525 West 50th Street and is in 11th grade. His name is being withheld due to his tender age.

MEN ARRESTED FOR COUNTERFEIT BILLS
Police arrested three men for forgery last Tuesday at 11:35 p.m. on the corner of Second Avenue and East 24th Street. Troy Brooks, 23, and Darryl Riddick, 21, allegedly used counterfeit money to buy beer at a nearby bar. Twenty-year-old Shamar Dunigan was allegedly working with Brooks and Riddick and also attempted to make purchases at the bar with counterfeit money. He was also in possession of additional counterfeit currency, police said.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘BOMB THREAT’
Police arrested 32-year-old Justin Davidson inside the 13th precinct for false alarm of a fire last Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. Davidson allegedly dialed 911 operators and made threats to blow up the NYC Transit System by means of telephone. The report did not specify where Davidson made the call from or if he made threats about a specific station.

TWO MEN BUSTED FOR ASSAULT
Police arrested two men involved in a fight last Wednesday. Kenny Smith, 51, was arrested at 3:06 p.m. in front of the BRC at 127 West 25th Street and thirty-eight-year-old David Cameron was arrested in front of 124 West 25th Street at 3:16 p.m. Smith allegedly picked up a 2×4 piece of wood and struck the victim in the back of the head and Cameron allegedly punched the same man in the head, causing physical injury. The incident occurred at the BRC where Smith was apprehended immediately and Cameron was arrested down the block after attempting to flee.

WOMAN ARRESTED IN UMBRELLA ASSAULT
Police arrested 25-year-old Desiree Rodriguez for assault last Saturday at 1:29 a.m. in front of 12 East 22nd Street. The victim told police that he and Rodriguez, his neighbor, had an argument about the volume of the television and the argument escalated into a physical fight. Rodriguez allegedly grabbed an umbrella and repeatedly struck him, causing cuts on both his right and left forearms.

MAN BUSTED FOR SKIPPING CLUB COSTS
Police arrested 22-year-old Saverio Galasso for theft of services in front of The Hurricane Club at 360 Park Avenue South last Saturday at 3:13 a.m. Galasso paid $450 of his bill in cash and attempted to pay the rest on a credit card. When the card was declined, he allegedly attempted to leave without paying the remaining balance, which was $988.

ARRESTED FOR SLEEPING IN CARDBOARD BOX
Police arrested 27-year-old Keshaun Williams in front of 4 East 15th Street last Wednesday at 6:19 a.m. for violation on undisclosed New York State laws. Williams was allegedly sleeping on a public sidewalk inside cardboard boxes about four feet tall and eight feet long.

BUSTED FOR BURGLAR’S TOOLS
Police arrested 36-year-old Fidel Valasquez for possession of burglar’s tools last Saturday at 12:10 p.m. on the corner of East 23rd Street and Madison Avenue. Valasquez was seen casing multiple commercial pharmacies while holding what appeared to be cash. He then entered a pharmacy in the area and allegedly attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill to make purchases. When police searched him, they found that the money was fake and he was also allegedly in possession of burglar’s tools.  No information was available on the specific pharmacy that Valasquez entered.

MAN ARRESTED FOR SKIPPING CAB FARE
Police arrested 23-year-old Marcus Sirmans for theft of services at the 13th precinct last Sunday at 3:22 a.m. Sirmans got into a yellow taxi at West 116th and Broadway and gave the driver his home address, 340 East 29th Street. The driver brought him to the location and Sirmans then allegedly told the driver that he had no money because he left his wallet at the party. The driver brought Sirmans back to his original location but nobody answered the door because there wasn’t anyone left at the party. The driver then brought Sirmans to the precinct closest to where he lives and told officers what happened, leading to his arrest for failing to pay his taxi fare of $83.50.

ARREST FOR SELLING CIGS
Police arrested Jorge Rendall, 55, for violating tax law at the corner of First Avenue and East 27th Street last Wednesday at 9:50 a.m. Rendall allegedly sold an untaxed pack of Newport Light cigarettes to someone for $8.

MAN ARRESTED FOR SALE OF ‘HEROIN’
Police arrested 42-year-old Alfredo Fabian for the intent to sell a controlled substance in front of 132 West 15th Street last Tuesday at 1:43 p.m. A plain-clothes officer saw Fabian casing the corner at West 15th Street and Sixth Avenue. Fabian then allegedly approached two other people and sold a quantity of heroin. He was in possession of a large quantity of alleged heroin, police said.