Police suspect bodegas re-selling stolen goods

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have been surveilling local bodegas where stolen goods are suspected to be sold.

Responding to a question about a spike in the number of thefts from neighborhood pharmacies, Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman said at the 13th Precinct Community Council’s January meeting that shoplifting in pharmacy chains like Duane Reade and CVS is problematic throughout Manhattan. So is the reselling of those items to other stores, and Hellman said undercover officers have been on it.

“It’s a slow process because they start to recognize our undercover guys but we’re still watching them,” he said of one local bodega suspected of selling stolen merchandise. “We think there are other bodegas where they’re fencing things so we’re trying to track those, too.”

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Police Watch: Bus driver arrested after hitting pedestrian, Suspect arrested for alleged CVS robbery

Robbery suspect

Police arrested 54-year-old Damion Seeley for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury in an incident on August 17 around 10 p.m. near the intersection of East 22nd Street and Second Avenue. Seeley was driving a bus near the intersection allegedly hit a man in his 40s who was crossing the street. Police said that Seeley then left the scene without waiting for police to arrive, and the victim was transported to Bellevue Hospital with minor injuries. Seeley was arrested on Monday, December 10 at 6:40 p.m. inside the 13th Precinct. Police did not have further information about whether the bus was owned by the MTA or a private company.

Police arrested 41-year-old Alan Betances for an alleged robbery that took place inside the CVS at 253 First Avenue on Wednesday, November 14 around 8 p.m.

As Town & Village reported at the time, a man strolled into the store and began throwing items from the shelves into a garbage bag. When an employee confronted him in the aisle, the man allegedly pulled out a needle and told the worker to “step back.”

Betances was arrested on Wednesday, December 12 at 5:30 p.m. inside the 13th Precinct.

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Letters to the editor, Jan. 11

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Bafflement and expectation

In his Subway Bomb Suspect’s Mysterious Act of Mercy, New York Times, December 19, 2017, Mr. Jeffrey Gettleman recorded, though he did not quote, Akayed Ullah’s reason for his pipe-bomb action on December 11, 2017, at New York’s Port Authority.

Quoting Mr. Ullah’s mother-in-law, Mr. Gettleman recorded that when Mr. Ullah returned from Bangladesh “he was so upset… those people were living in hell each and every minute.”  Additionally, according to Mr. Gettleman, from his bed in Bellevue, Mr. Ullah said that he built and detonated his device “inspired online by the Islamic State to strike against the United States for its policies in the Muslim world.”

Yet in his article, Mr. Gettleman apparently wanted to firm-up his own view that the truth of what Ullah said about himself had to survive the views of others. So he introduces the conflicting opinions of those who are tangentially acquainted with Mr. Ullah, sets aside Ullah’s own words, and gives the reader the inevitable self-produced baffle: why did he really do it!?!

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Robber hitting drugstores in Manhattan

Robbery suspect

Cops are on the lookout for a man who’s been robbing drugstores in Union Square and in Greenwich Village as well as a Dunkin Donuts in The Bronx. The suspect, in each incident, has made employees believe he had a gun before demanding cash.

Police say the string of holdups started on the morning of Monday, December 18 when the man strolled into a CVS at 65 Fifth Avenue between 13th and 14th Street. He then threatened employees while simulating a gun inside his coat. The suspect helped himself to $150 from the register before running out.

On the evening of Tuesday, December 26, the man walked into a Walgreens at 145 Fourth Avenue near East 14th Street. He simulated a gun under his coat while threatening employees, this time getting away with $500 in cash.

Later that same evening, he did the same thing at a Dunkin Donuts at 513 East 138th Street. He swiped $1,700 from the register before fleeing the store into a subway station.

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Police Watch: Homeless man stabbed in Union Square, Man wanted for burglaries on West 14th

A homeless man was stabbed by a group of men in Union Square Park early Monday morning, DNAinfo reported. Police said that the 39-year-old homeless man was arguing with the men near East 14th Street and Union Square East around 3:30 a.m. when they stabbed the victim in the chest and fled. It wasn’t immediately clear what the argument was about or how many people were involved, but no arrests were made at the time of the incident.

Police are looking for a man wanted in connection with a number of burglaries at multiple businesses inside 154 West 14th Street in the West Village earlier this summer. Police said that the suspect entered the offices of Grove Atlantic on Wednesday, July 26 around 1:33 a.m., reportedly getting in by forcing open the front door. Once inside, he stole four laptops.
The second incident occurred on Saturday, August 5 around 10 p.m. when the suspect entered Atelier Esthetique by forcing open the door. He also allegedly forced open the register and took $300.
The man was described as Hispanic and was last seen wearing a t-shirt and shorts. 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.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for swinging crowbar at McDonald’s, Man wanted for cell phone store thefts

Police arrested 38-year-old George Boone for menacing inside the McDonald’s at 26 East 23rd Street last Thursday at 8:58 a.m. The victim told police that he was waiting in line at the restaurant when Boone allegedly came up behind him and began swinging a metal crowbar at him. The victim said that Boone said, “Who wants to die today?”

Cell phone theft suspect

Cell phone theft suspect

The NYPD is looking for a man believed to be behind a string of thefts from cell phone stores in Gramercy, Midtown and the Upper West Side.
The suspect reportedly swiped two cell phones from a Verizon Store at 395 Third Avenue on Sunday, January 22 at 5:15 p.m. by cutting the security devices. Police said that he fled in an unknown direction.
Earlier in the month on Saturday, January 7 at 3:25 p.m., the suspect took two cell phones from an AT&T Store located at 2066 Broadway near West 72nd Street and fled without paying. Twenty minutes later, he reportedly cut the security devices on two cell phones inside a Metro PC store located at 664 Ninth Avenue at West 46th Street and fled without paying.
On January 18 at 6:35 p.m., the suspect reportedly entered a T-Mobile store at 610 Ninth Avenue near West 43rd Street and removed two cell phones by cutting the security devices, then fled north on Ninth Avenue.
The suspect is described as 5’10”, 165-175 lbs. and was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a quarter-length over coat. He has a distinctive scar on the left side of his head right above the ear.
Anyone with information in regards to these incidents 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.

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Police Watch: Rape at Beauty Bar, Slashing at methadone clinic

Thirty-year-old Brenton Maughn-Tulloch was arrested for rape inside Beauty Bar at 231 East 14th Street last Saturday at 1:41 a.m. Police said that Maughn-Tulloch was inside a bathroom stall at the location doing lines of cocaine with a woman when he allegedly raped her. According to the DA’s office, Maughn-Tulloch pulled off the victim’s pants and pinned her against the wall of the bathroom before sexually assaulting her.
When he was searched, he was also in possession of alleged marijuana.
Maughn-Tulloch’s attorney did not return a request for comment before T&V’s press time.

Police arrested two men involved in a fight inside the Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program at Mount Sinai Beth Israel at 429 Second Avenue last Friday at 8:26 a.m. Police said that 44-year-old Nelson Segui and 44-year-old Luis Ramirez were both standing in line at the clinic when they got into an argument that escalated into a physical fight. Segui allegedly pulled out a knife and slashed Ramirez, causing an injury to his lip, and police said that his jacket was cut numerous times. Ramirez allegedly punched Segui in the face and picked up a garbage can, hitting Segui in the face and causing redness and swelling.

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Police Watch: Subway mugger threatens victims on 1 train, Man arrested for Dig Inn burglary

Suspect of two robberies

Suspect of two robberies

Police are on the lookout for a mugger who threatened two straphangers, one with a metal club, the other with a knife at the 14th Street 1 train station.
The first incident took place on Sunday, November 27 at around 4:15 a.m. when the thug approached a 33-year-old victim on a stairway. He pulled out a metal club and demanded her bag. The victim complied and the mugger fled with her bag, which contained $200, a MetroCard and other bank and ID cards.
On Monday, December 5 at around 5 a.m., police believe the same man pulled a knife on a 68-year-old man at the station and demanded cash. The victim, however, was able to get on the train without giving the mugger anything.
Police have surveillance photos of the suspect using the MetroCard belonging to the first victim at the Utica Avenue 3/4 train station in Brooklyn on Monday, November 28. In another photo, he’s seen fleeing the subway.
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 online. All calls are strictly confidential.

Police arrested 21-year-old Brandon Hart for burglary last Friday at 10 a.m. inside the 13th precinct. An employee for Dig Inn, a restaurant at 1178 Broadway, told police that she had a purse containing two credit cards, cash, school books and an iPad in the employee locker room on December 7 and that she later discovered was missing. Another employee at the restaurant told police that her wallet went missing the same day after she had also left it in the employee locker room. Police said that Hart could be seen on surveillance video rummaging around the locker room area on December 7 around 12:30 p.m. and he allegedly made a video statement admitting that he took the purse and wallet, keeping the cash and disposing of the rest of the property in an alley in Queens.

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Police Watch: Men arrested for Flatiron shooting, Man busted for ‘drugs’ in Stuy Town

Police arrested three men in connection with a shooting in Flatiron in front of 105 West 22nd Street on Sunday at 12:55 a.m. The New York Daily News reported that the incident occurred at a book signing in the Auxiliary Lounge for the self-published erotic novella, “She’s Dickmatized,” by Tania Marie.
Police said that multiple shots were fired into a crowd near the lounge and a man with a gun was seen running into a black Mercedes. Ramel Harkless, 38, allegedly got into the backseat of the vehicle, which police said left the location and ran multiple red lights before abruptly coming to a stop. Police followed the Mercedes and when they stopped the vehicle, the found that Harkless was the only person in the backseat, while 45-year-old Barry Wiles was driving and 43-year-old Joseph Saunders was in the passenger’s seat. Police said they found a gun on the floor of the back passenger’s seat where Harkless had been sitting.
The victim was shot in the abdomen, torso, groin and in the leg. The suspects were arrested in front of 41 East 19th Street. The Daily News identified the victim as Robert Lowman and reported that Harkless and Lowman are both affiliated with the street gang the Bloods.
Harkless, Wiles and Saunders were charged with weapons possession. Wiles was also charged with reckless endangerment and Harkless was additionally charged with assault.

Police arrested 34-year-old Justin Stewart for possession of a controlled substance in front of 321 Avenue C last Thursday at 9:25 a.m. Police said that Stewart was seen holding an unknown controlled substance in plain view on the sidewalk.

Police arrested 37-year-old Tashi Phuntsok for assault at the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 27th Street last Tuesday at 7:26 p.m. The victim told police that he was riding his bike when Phuntsok allegedly cut him off at the intersection. He and the victim proceeded to get into an argument. Phuntsok allegedly threw the victim to the ground and started kicking and punching him, causing an injury to his head and right hand, although he refused medical assistance at the scene.

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Cops hunting serial ice cream thieves hitting local drugstores

Surveillance photos of three of the individuals were captured at the time of the incident inside the Duane Reade at 67 Broad Street.

Surveillance photos of three of the individuals were captured at the time of the incident inside the Duane Reade at 67 Broad Street.

Cops are on the lookout for four relentless ice cream thieves who’ve been hitting drug stores in Flatiron, Kips Bay and other Manhattan neighborhoods, in some cases managing to swipe hundreds of cartons at a time.

Recent news reports indicate that there’s a trend in people stealing the treats from stores not for personal use during a particularly scalding summer but for resale to bodegas.

In February, Philip Jaudoa, 28, was arrested for allegedly stealing over $3,000 worth of ice cream and energy drinks from multiple stores.

In this string of thefts — 14 known cases — the male suspects have pilfered the good stuff: Haagen-Dazs, Talenti and Ben & Jerry’s, as well as the occasional haul of Red Bull energy drinks.

According to police, the first incident was on November 16, 2015 when the suspects strolled into the CVS located at 300 Park Avenue South and East 22nd Street and stole 40 cartons of Haagen-Dazs and 25 Red Bulls.

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Police Watch: ‘Drunk’ drivers arrested, ‘Groper’ busted in Union Square

Police arrested 28-year-old Saman Ebrahimzadeh in front of 114 West 16th Street for intoxicated driving last Sunday at 4:40 a.m. Police said that Ebrahimzadeh was driving east on West 16th Street when he and his passenger allegedly began to hang outside of the car while it was moving. When they were stopped, Ebrahimzadeh allegedly had slurred speech and bloodshot watery eyes.

Police arrested 53-year-old Glenn Gordon for sexual abuse inside the Union Square subway station last Thursday at 7:48 p.m. Gordon allegedly rubbed his groin area on the victim’s buttocks multiple times while they were on a downtown 4 train. Police said that he and the victim did not know each other.

An alleged attempt by an 18-year-old to run off with a woman’s phone was foiled by a Good Samaritan last Friday.
The victim told police that she was standing in front of 200 Park Avenue South at 8:43 p.m. when Nickoles Rodriguez, 18, allegedly snatched her phone out of her hand and fled. However, police said that Rodriguez was stopped at the northeast corner of East 18th Street and Broadway by a civilian. The teen was later charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property.

Police arrested Thomas Thompson for assault last Friday at 9:45 a.m. at First Avenue and East 30th Street. An EMT told police that he was treating a patient on East 30th Street when Thompson allegedly approached him and became belligerent. Police said that Thompson then tried to get into the ambulance and leave with the patient who was inside. The EMT said that he ended up not getting in the ambulance but that he did approach the vehicle while it was attempting to drive away and allegedly continued to shout before spitting in the EMT’s face, police said. The EMT opened the door of the ambulance, at which point Thompson allegedly tried to spit at him again. He put up his hand to block Thompson from spitting at him but the suspect then allegedly bit the EMT’s hand.

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Police Watch: CVS shoplifter arrested near Stuy Town, Off-duty officer assaulted

Police arrested 25-year-old Jonathan Immitti for petit larceny and possession of stolen property last Tuesday at 5:59 p.m. An employee of the CVS at 275 Third Avenue said that she saw Immitti taking 35 packages of over-the-counter medication from the shelf and placing them in his pants so she immediately informed the store manager.
The manager tried to stop Immitti from leaving but the suspect allegedly fled the store without paying and hailed a cab. The store manager saw the cab’s medallion number, which was put out on the radio and Stuyvesant Town’s Public Safety department heard the transmission. Not long after, a Public Safety officer saw the cab at East 16th and Avenue C, where he stopped the cab but Immitti allegedly fled on foot. The officer canvassed the area and Immitti was arrested shortly after.
The District Attorney’s office said that Immitti pleaded guilty at the arraignment to petit larceny and was sentenced to 15 days jail.

Police arrested two people in front of the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel at 420 Park Avenue South last Sunday at 7 a.m. Reginald Legaspi, 21, and Pena Kumsiri, 27, allegedly punched an off-duty police officer in the face, causing serious pain and facial bruising. Police said that during the assault, Legaspi and Kumsiri took the officer’s gun from its holster. Kumsiri also allegedly punched another unknown person in the face. Legaspi and Kumsiri were both charged with gang assault and Kumsiri was charged with an additional count of assault. The officer’s gun was later recovered.

Nineteen-year-old Michelle Mendoza was arrested for grand larceny and possession of stolen property inside the 13th Precinct on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Police said that Mendoza stole the victim’s designer handbags valued at over $20,000. It wasn’t clear where they’d been allegedly taken from.

Police arrested 25-year-old Anthony Williams for petit larceny and possession of stolen property inside the 40/40 club at 6 West 25th Street last Sunday at 2:13 a.m. Williams was seen on video allegedly taking a cell phone from the counter in the unisex bathroom while the victim had her back turned. Police said that Williams never attempted to give the phone to any authority figure. After the victim reported that her phone had been taken, the general manager of the club watched the surveillance video and approached Williams, demanding that the phone be returned. Williams allegedly said that there wasn’t anything that he needed to give back and the manager responded that he would be calling the police. At that point, Williams allegedly went to the table where he was sitting and retrieved the phone from another woman.

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Police Watch: Men arrested for phone ‘snatching,’ man arrested with dildo

Police arrested 44-year-old Reggie Frank for public lewdness at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Union Square East last Tuesday at noon. Frank allegedly exposed his erect penis through a hole in his shorts and started masturbating in front of the victim.

John Pheffer, 69, was arrested for public lewdness in front of 3 East 27th Street last Wednesday at 2:49 p.m. Police said that he was in front of the building with his pants down, showing his private parts on a public sidewalk while holding a dildo in his left hand.

Police arrested 21-year-old Daniel Rodriguez and 26-year-old Cornell Williams for petit larceny at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 23rd Street last Saturday at 3:40 a.m. Police said that the two men were working together to steal property from the victim. Williams allegedly swiped a black Samsung cell phone from next to the victim’s hand and police said that Rodriguez was standing as a lookout. Rodriguez was also charged with possession of marijuana and Williams, who police said was in possession of the phone that the men allegedly swiped, was also charged with possession of stolen property.

Police arrested six people for promoting gambling in front of 344 East 28th Street last Saturday at 12:10 a.m. Forty-year-old Quammie Logan, 21-year-old Michael McCants, 46-year-old Zadie Morris, 38-year-old Ian Shillingford, 25-year-old James Paige and 48-year-old Sean Shillingford were allegedly in front of the building playing Cee-lo, a dice game, for cash. Police said that Logan was in possession of the dice and $80 in cash when he was stopped by the officer.
Morris and Ian Shillingford were also charged with possession of a gambling device and possession of marijuana. Morris was allegedly in possession of a grinder with marijuana residue and police said that Shillingford was in possession of 36 glassine envelopes of alleged marijuana.
McCants, Paige and Sean Shillingford were also charged with possession of a gambling device.

Police arrested 32-year-old Angel Rivera for bribery and possession of stolen property in front of the Stuyvesant Town Associated Supermarket, 409 East 14th Street last Tuesday. At 10:19 a.m., Rivera was allegedly carrying a screwdriver and police said they observed him removing a bicycle and bike parts without permission. He allegedly threw the screwdriver on top of a van in an attempt to conceal the evidence. Police said that he was found in possession of stolen property.

Police arrested 24-year-old Christopher Lafontant for petit larceny inside the New York Sports Club at 10 Irving Place last Tuesday at 12:55 a.m. Police said that Lafontant removed property worth over $1,000 from lockers at the gym without permission.

Police arrested two men for the sale of a controlled substance inside 344 East 28th Street last Tuesday at 10:10 p.m. Police said that 36-year-old William Glen and 54-year-old Gerald Beatty sold a quantity of a controlled substance to an undercover detective in the staircase of a housing development. Police said that when they were stopped, Glen refused to be handcuffed by placing his hands inside his pockets and stiffening his arms. Police said he was in possession of a controlled substance that was in his left front pants pocket and he had a ziplock bag of alleged PCP in his right front pants pocket. He was also charged with resisting arrest, intent to sell a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.

Adrian Cevallos, 24, was arrested at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 26th Street last Thursday at 3:32 p.m. Police said that Cevallos was smoking marijuana on a sidewalk and when an officer approached him, he allegedly tried to punch the cop, telling the officer to leave him alone. After a short chase, Cevallos allegedly resisted arrest by flailing his arms, going limp and forcefully pulling his arms away in an attempt to avoid being handcuffed. Cevallos was charged with resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct.

Police arrested 53-year-old Nathaniel Gaines for burglar’s tools in front of 130 East 25th Street last Wednesday at 11:08 a.m. Gaines was allegedly casing several bicycles near Sixth Avenue and West 26th Street. Police said he then proceeded to 130 East 25th Street where he was seen physically breaking bicycle locks with his teeth. He was also charged with petit larceny, criminal mischief and possession of stolen property.

Police arrested 46-year-old Keith Morris for assault in front of the CVS Pharmacy at 750 Sixth Avenue last Thursday at 10:10 p.m. The victim told police that while he was cleaning at work, Morris came up to the door of the store and started pulling on the handle. When the employee told him that they were closed, Morris allegedly grabbed him by the shirt, causing scratches on his chest. Two people walked out of the store, after which Morris allegedly punched the victim in the face multiple times, causing bruising and redness. The fight was broken up by a witness who was in the store.

Police arrested 46-year-old Rafael Cepeda for a New York State law unclassified misdemeanor and disorderly conduct at the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 29th Street last Friday at 6:03 p.m. Police said that Cepeda was begging in a public street, walking over to moving vehicles and causing traffic to be impeded.

Sixty-year-old Louis Rosario was arrested for petit larceny at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street last Saturday at 5:46 p.m. Rosario was allegedly casing over 20 vehicles in a car break-in prone location and police said that they observed him for 45 minutes, walking around Gramercy Park and looking into vehicles while allegedly trying to gain access by pulling on the car door. Police said that when they searched him, he was in possession of merchandise that he could not explain how he acquired. Police said that the vehicle where he stole property from was parked at East 17th Street and Second Avenue.

Police Watch: Camera ‘perv’ arrested at Cardelino, burglary in Second Ave. building

Police arrested 39-year-old Juan Cardenas for unlawful surveillance inside 948 Broadway, which is home to Cardelino Tailor Shop, last Thursday. The victim told police that she was changing in the changing room at the shop when she noticed a hole in the most eastern wall of the room and then saw a camera in the hole. She said that she then pushed her finger through the hole and Cardenas was allegedly holding a cell phone through it. She left the changing room and confronted Cardenas, who was the tailor at the shop. He allegedly told the victim, “I’m sorry, I have a family, please, I’m sorry.” The victim gathered her belongings, left the store and called the police. Cardenas then closed up and left the store. Police arrived and convinced one of his coworkers to call Cardenas back to the store. He arrived not long after and was positively identified by the victim, who said that he had also changed shirts.

Police arrested 38-year-old Angel Hernandez for burglary at 318 Second Avenue last Friday at 1:48 p.m. Police said that Hernandez removed an Amazon package from a locked vestibule area of a residential building. He allegedly ripped a small hole into the package to look at the contents. Police said that he gained access to the building by claiming to be a messenger. He was also charged with burglar’s tools, petit larceny and criminal trespass.

Police arrested 81-year-old Joseph Calabrese for assault in front of 315 Avenue C last Saturday at 5:25 p.m. Calabrese got into a fight with the victim, who lives in the apartment with him, over a billing issue. During the argument, Calabrese allegedly punched the victim in the head and punctured the victim’s left arm with a pair of scissors.

Police arrested 55-year-old David Rodriguez and 24-year-old Triana Acosta for assault at the corner of First Avenue and East 14th Street last Monday at 3:16 a.m. Rodriguez and Acosta were allegedly involved in an argument on a public bus that escalated with the two hitting each other in the face and causing minor cuts to their faces and hands.

Forty-year-old Wanda Brown was arrested for assault of a peace officer last Tuesday at 5:05 p.m. in front of 224 East 28th Street. Police said that while trying to restrain Brown, who they said was emotionally disturbed, she tried to punch the officer and missed, but she allegedly managed to push her into the wall, causing substantial pain to the officer’s shoulder. When the officer attempted to bring Brown to an ambulance, she allegedly kicked the officer, causing pain to her leg and stomach.

Cody Braxton, 29, was arrested in front of Vin Sur Vingt at 1140 Broadway for sexual abuse last Monday at 10:01 p.m. Braxton allegedly lifted a woman’s dress from behind and grabbed her buttocks with both hands. Police said that he fled the location and he was also charged with resisting arrest.

Police arrested 45-year-old Jose Rea and 26-year-old Daniel Quinones for assault last Monday around 2 p.m. in front of 315 Park Avenue South. Police said that Rea punches Quinones in the mouth, causing physical injury and bleeding, and Quinones allegedly punched Rea in the mouth as well, causing some of his teeth to fall out.

Police arrested 46-year-old Ramon Nunez-Phillips for assault at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 28th Street last Wednesday at 2:06 a.m. Police said that Nunez-Phillips hit the victim over the head with his cane, causing a cut and bleeding. The McDonald’s manager at the scene told police that he saw the argument between Nunez-Phillips and the victim and identified Nunez-Phillips as “that guy down the block with the baby blue shirt and the cane.” When he was questioned, Nunez-Phillips said that the victim had started pushing him and kept screaming, “Why did you take my money?” He allegedly stated, “I hit him out of self-defense.” Another witness confirmed that Nunez-Phillips did hit the victim with his cane.

Police arrested a teenager at the corner of Avenue C and East 20th Street last Wednesday at 2:33 a.m. for possession of marijuana. The suspect was seen holding a lit joint in his left hand in public view and police recovered marijuana from the scene. The teen’s name is being withheld due to his age.

Police arrested Kane Balser, 24, for assault of a peace officer inside Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue last Wednesday at 11:50 a.m. While in police custody for a previous incident that took place in another precinct, Balser allegedly punched an officer in the face, causing redness, pain and swelling to the officer’s lip. Balser was also charged with harassment.

Ruby Reyes, 38, was arrested inside the 13th Precinct last Thursday at 12:45 p.m. for possession of stolen property. Reyes was allegedly in possession of a cell phone that was reported stolen by a victim who was staying overnight in Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital.

Police arrested 46-year-old Louis Colon for possession of a hypodermic instrument and possession of a controlled substance last Friday at 1:38 a.m. on the corner of Irving Place and East 15th Street. Police said that Colon was operating his bicycle on the sidewalk and after he was searched, he was found to be in possession of three alleged hypodermic needles and a glassine bag of alleged cocaine. Upon further investigation, police found that Colon also has an arrest warrant from Jersey City for theft by “unlawful taking.”

Thirty-year-old Kevin Spencer was arrested for robbery inside the CVS Pharmacy at 750 Sixth Avenue last Friday at 5:11 p.m. A store employee told police that Spencer took items from the store and attempted to leave without paying for the items. When the employee attempted to stop Spencer, the suspect allegedly got aggressive, grabbed a glass wine bottle from the shelf and hit the employee on the arm and the leg.

Three Cheers for CVS

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Last month on January 23, I wrote on this page that government ought to recognize cigarettes for what they are: an addictive toxin and as such its production and retail sale should be banned. I opined what public health organizations have been saying for years based on decades of study and irrefutable medical and scientific evidence that smoking or inhaling second hand smoke is the greatest health risk threatening Americans. And those astronomical costs to our health care system are ultimately borne by everyone in the form of higher taxes and fees.

In the interim, I have heard back from a number smokers and non-smokers alike. Predictably, many smokers believe that being able to buy a cigarette is part of their liberties, which although unlike guns (as some like to say) is not protected in the Constitution. Others observe that prohibition did not work for alcohol so why repeat the same mistake? Furthermore, growing tobacco and selling it to cigarette manufacturers for retail sale is a huge American industry. All true. But at what cost? Nearly 500,000 Americans die each and every year to smoking related causes. And the expense to our health care system to treat smoking related diseases is a staggering $300 billion annually. Non-smokers care mostly about having to inhale second hand smoke, which studies indicate is almost as deadly as direct smoking over a prolonged period of time.

But smoking is well ingrained in or culture and for sure it is big business. Enter CVS.

Last week, this giant pharmacy chain which makes more money selling tobacco products than penicillin announced that it would stop selling cigarettes in its thousands of outlets across the country, including the one across the street from Peter Cooper Village on 23rd Street near First Avenue. In making their announcement, CVS concluded that selling cigarettes is inconsistent with its main mission of wellness. No longer will they sell antibiotics and cough medicine designed to treat people’s illnesses and symptoms and then sell them disease-inducing cigarettes on their way out.

This move by CVS took guts and a profound sense of civic responsibility rarely exhibited by mega companies otherwise preoccupied with their bottom line. Probably they will lose money… in the short run.

However, I intend to take my pharmacy business from other large chains to CVS. I am very comfortable entrusting my health needs to a pharmacy that puts the well-being of its customers above profits.

The question now is what will other pharmacy chains like Duane Reade and the independents do? Will they double down on their cigarette sales, or will they follow the courageous and visionary example of CVS?

Imagine if every pharmacy and business dedicated to the good health of their customers decided to just say no to cigarettes?!

Steven Sanders is a former Assemblyman who represented this community for 28 years from 1978-2005. He currently is the Executive Director of ACTS, an association that provides services to young children with developmental and learning disabilities.