Giant pandas coming to NYC

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney with a panda pal during a visit to a Chinese panda research center last year (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Maloney)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney with a panda pal during a visit to a Chinese panda research center last year (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Maloney)

By Sabina Mollot

For Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, it’s always been a black and white issue. New York City has been in need of a pair of giant pandas, and now, she cheered, the city will finally get them.

The only obstacle to getting them into a local zoo, she said, was that the Chinese government wanted a letter of support from both New York’s governor and mayor. Previously, Governor Cuomo had been on board with the plan, but Mayor de Blasio had not. Because pandas are expensive to care for (around $1 million a year, according to a Daily News story), the mayor didn’t consider it priority. What changed, Maloney said this week, was that John Catsimatidis, Gristedes CEO and radio talk show host, has stepped in to start a nonprofit to raise the money needed for the effort. This includes paying for getting the pandas on loan, transporting them to the city and paying for their care as well as first building a new habitat at the Bronx Zoo.

Maloney has been attempting to acquire the cuddly creatures for over a year, a passion project that once got her mocked by a political opponent who said she should focus on more pressing matters. The 2014 Republican congressional candidate, Nicholas Di iorio, even had a pal dress up in a panda suit for a press conference.

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Police Watch: Arrests for robberies, ‘Drunk’ driver busted near Stuy Town

TWO NABBED FOR ROBBERY NEAR UNION SQUARE
Police arrested two people for a robbery in front of 3 East 17th Street last Wednesday at 3:41 a.m. Amara Camara, 22, and Ibrahim Johnson, 21, were charged with robbery and possession of stolen property. Police said that Camara and Johnson hit the victim in the face and grabbed his bag, which contained credit cards, cash and other personal effects. The pair then allegedly threatened a second victim and stole his Nikon camera. Police said that the two men were seen in front of the location and were positively identified by a witness. They were allegedly found in possession of all the stolen property, including the bag with the wallet and the camera.

VICTIM CHOKED IN ROBBERY ON SECOND AVENUE
Fifty-year-old Charles McKinley was arrested for robbery in front of the Central Deli at 515 Second Avenue last Thursday at 10:02 p.m. Police said that McKinley choked the victim and then stole his cash. Police then searched the area for McKinley and found him as well as the victim’s cash. McKinley was also charged with obstruction of breath and possession of stolen property.

APPLE ‘SCAM ARTIST’ BUSTED
Police arrested 61-year-old Lamont Knight for fraudulent accosting at the corner of Broadway and East 22nd Street last Saturday at 12:48 p.m. Knight allegedly approached an undercover officer and offered him a MacBook Air and an iPad Air for $400 for both of them. After the officer identified himself, Knight allegedly told him that the boxes contained cut up newspaper and not the MacBook or iPad.

FIGHT OVER MASSAGE ON LEX
Police arrested a man and a woman for fighting outside Top Nail Salon at 133 Lexington Avenue last Monday at 3:23 a.m. Thirty-nine-year-old Daniel Chinault, who was also charged with criminal mischief, got into an argument with 29-year-old Isabella Ricci over massage services and allegedly damaged the nail salon’s door by punching it. Police said that Chinault and Ricci started fighting and Chinault allegedly wrestled Ricci to the ground, causing a cut on her head and causing his nose to bleed.

‘DRUNK’ DRIVER BUSTED OUTSIDE STUY TOWN
Police arrested 32-year-old David Acquaye for intoxicated driving last Thursday at 3:31 a.m. in front of 545 East 14th Street. Police said that during a vehicle safety checkpoint, Acquaye had a 200 ml bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue on him and had slurred speech. He was allegedly unable to walk steady when he got out of his car and had watery eyes, as well as a “moderate smell” of alcohol. Police said that he blew a .141 on a Breathalyzer at the scene.

MAN BUSTED FOR PHONE ‘THEFT’
Police arrested 34-year-old Shawn Mayes inside the 13th Precinct last Tuesday at 12:25 p.m. for possession of stolen property. Police said that Mayes was in possession of a stolen phone that was taken in a burglary that occurred inside Reiko Wireless Accessories at 18 West 27th Street on April 21.

PARKS DEPARTMENT ELECTRICIAN ARRESTED FOR ‘FLEEING’ ACCIDENT
Police arrested 48-year-old Roman Klyshko at the 13th precinct last Friday at 8 a.m. for leaving the scene of an accident. Police said that Klyshko, an electrician, ran over a co-worker’s foot with a Parks vehicle and after realizing that he did so, did not wait around to file a report but left the scene.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘STOLEN’ WALLET
Kadeem Turner, 35, was arrested for grand larceny and theft in front of 111 West 28th Street last Tuesday at 3:50 p.m. Turner was walking down West 28th Street from Eighth to Seventh Avenue. He appeared to be looking around and looking back towards Eighth Avenue. Police said that he was holding a black t-shirt in his hand, which had a black wallet inside it. He looked inside the wallet and then wrapped it back up in the t-shirt. Police said that he is not the owner of the wallet and did not have permission to have it.

6 TRAIN ‘ROBBER’ NABBED
Police arrested Percey Freeman, 38, for robbery at the Park Avenue South/23rd Street station last Friday at 4:16 a.m. The victim told police that Freeman approached her while she was on an uptown 6 train. He allegedly attempted to grab her purse, pulling it away from her, and police said that he also put his hand against her throat to choke her while still pulling at her bag. Freeman was also charged with obstruction of breath and possession of a controlled substance.

CREDIT CARDS STOLEN FROM GYM LOCKER
Police arrested 21-year-old Shawnice Bettis inside the 13th precinct last Wednesday at 2 p.m. for grand larceny and possession of stolen property. Bettis was allegedly in possession of credit cards that she didn’t have permission to have. Police said that the cards had been removed from a gym locker.

MAN BUSTED FOR OFFICE ‘ASSAULT’
Police arrested 37-year-old Tony Wright inside the 13th Precinct last Monday at 11:30 a.m. for assault and menacing. Police said that Wright chased the victim around their office with a chair, attempting to hit him, and also allegedly picked up a vase and threw it at him. The incident occurred on May 11 at 7 p.m.

ASSAULT ON EAST 25TH STREET
Police arrested 69-year-old Dennis Griggs for assault in front of 208 East 25th Street last Thursday at 11:49 p.m. Griggs allegedly grabbed the victim by the hair and began punching him/her in the chest and right arm (the gender of the victim was not made clear in the report), causing pain and swelling to the victim’s head, chest and arm.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘THEFT’ INSIDE CAR
Police arrested 55-year-old Robert William for criminal mischief, petit larceny and unauthorized use of a vehicle in front of 5 East 26th Street last Thursday at 5:45 a.m. The victim told police that he saw William in his car and when he got closer to the vehicle, saw that the front driver’s side window was smashed in. When William noticed the car’s owner, he allegedly ran off and was stopped in the uptown 6 station at Park Avenue South/East 23rd Street. When the victim went back to the car, he realized that $20 to $30 was missing.

GROCERY ‘SHOPLIFTER’ ARRESTED
Police arrested 69-year-old Frank Ho for petit larceny inside the Gristedes at 355 First Avenue last Sunday at 6:43 p.m. Police said that he took one salmon steak, a pint of Haagen Daaz and two candy bars, which he hid in a shoulder bag and allegedly attempted to leave without paying.

Police Watch: Waterside Plaza heroin bust, senior missing from East 6th

HEROIN BUST AT WATERSIDE

Police arrested 45-year-old Joseph Hirsch for intent to sell a controlled substance at 25 Waterside Plaza last Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Police had a warrant to search the address and Hirsch was allegedly in possession of a quantity of heroin and pills. He was also in possession of two scales, police said.

HEROIN ARRESTS ON WEST 25TH

Police arrested 28-year-old Abel Estevez and 28-year-old Yamile Irizarry for sale of a controlled substance at the corner of West 25th Street and Sixth Avenue last Wednesday at 4:58 p.m. Estevez and Irizarry allegedly sold a quantity of heroin to an undercover police officer.

CITIBIKE ‘THIEF’ NABBED

Forty-one-year-old Christian Damgaard was arrested for possession of stolen property in front of 35 West 27th Street last Saturday at 9:43 p.m. Damgaard was seen at the location unlocking a Citibike, which he had allegedly painted purple to conceal the Citibike name and serial number. He was unlocking the bike with his own personal lock and chain, police said. A check with Citibike found that the bike had last been docked at East 40th Street and Fifth Avenue on September 2 at 11:21 a.m. and hadn’t been returned since.

SENIOR MISSING FROM EAST 6TH ST. HOME
The NYPD is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing person within the confines of the Ninth Precinct. Stephen Kritsky, 86, was last seen on Thursday, September 11 at approximately 12 p.m. inside his home at 230 East 6th Street. He is described as 5’9” and 125 lbs.   Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

MAN ARRESTED FOR TWO GUNS

Police arrested 29-year-old Raymond Williams for possession of a weapon last Wednesday at 4:35 p.m. Williams was found operating a rental car without being on a rental agreement. Pursuant to a search warrant, Williams was allegedly found to be in possession of two loaded .40 caliber semi automatic firearms. Both contained magazines capable of carrying 15 rounds, police said. Williams also allegedly admitted that he was in possession of two fraudulent credit cards.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘FOUR LOKO’
Police arrested 39-year-old William Morton for violating New York State laws at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street last Tuesday at 10:34 a.m. Morton was allegedly holding an open container of Four Loko in Union Square Park in plain view.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘XANAX’

Forty-seven-year-old John Powers for possession of a controlled substance at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street last Tuesday at 4:01 p.m. Powers allegedly had an open container of Four Loko inside Union Square Park in public view. He was also in possession of Xanax pills and a pipe with alleged marijuana residue, police said.

MAN ARRESTED AFTER CAR ACCIDENT

Police arrested 48-year-old Emmanuel Bamfo for an unclassified traffic misdemeanor at Avenue C and East 23rd Street last Tuesday at 5:58 p.m. Bamfo was involved in an accident at the location and a license check found that Bamfo was allegedly operating the car with a suspended license. There were no injuries in the accident.

ARRESTED FOR ‘SUPREME’

Police arrested 46-year-old Thomas Scott for sale of a controlled substance in front of 107 East 14th Street last Tuesday at 4:20 p.m. He was allegedly selling a narcotic drug labeled Supreme.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT

Police arrested 21-year-old Gage Quinones for assault at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street last Sunday at 3:19 p.m. Quinones allegedly punched the victim in the face while they were having an argument inside Union Square Park.

DUANE READE ‘ROBBER’ BUSTED

Ron Cusick, 32, was arrested for grand larceny in front of the Duane Reade at 71 West 23rd Street last Saturday at 2:20 p.m. Cusick was attempting to flee from the store and when he was stopped by a loss prevention officer. Police found that he was allegedly in possession of a brown bag that concealed merchandise he was trying to take without paying. When the loss prevention officer was escorting Cusick to the office, he allegedly attempted to flee a second time. While he was cuffed and detained in the office, he pushed up his legs and caused damage to a printer, police said. He was also in possession of an alleged crack pipe.

MEN ARRESTED FOR SNORTING ‘COKE’

Police arrested 23-year-old Alejandro Vilasuso and 26-year-old Hojoong Kim for possession of a controlled substance in front of Molly’s bar at 287 Third Avenue last Sunday at 12:30 a.m. Vilasuso and Kim were allegedly snorting cocaine from their hands. Kim also allegedly dropped the bag of cocaine to the ground in an attempt to conceal it.

TEEN ARRESTED AT KIPS BAY GRISTEDES

Police arrested a teen for petit larceny in front of the Gristedes supermarket at 512 Second Avenue last Saturday at 1:22 p.m. Store security saw the teen take food from the store display and conceal it in a shoulder bag. The total amount of the items taken was $40.68. The teen is attending the Secondary School for Law in Brooklyn and is currently in the care of the ACS facility at 492 First Avenue.

UNLICENSED SUNGLASSES ‘VENDOR’ BUSTED

Police arrested 35-year-old Joseph Stuart for violating New York State laws in front of 33 Union Square West last Thursday at 5:31 p.m. Stuart was allegedly selling sunglasses on the street without a proper general vendor’s license.

SLEEPING IN CARDBOARD HOUSES
Joseph McMillan, 25, and Ramon Valdes, 63, were arrested in front of 13 West 27th Street last Wednesday at 6:22 a.m. for violating New York State laws. McMillan and Valdes were allegedly sleeping on a public sidewalk with cardboard boxes covering their bodies. Neither man had valid ID.