This pair has been stealing wallets from women at bars since October

Feb23 wallet theft woman.jpg

Female suspect

Police are looking for a man and woman who’ve been working together to steal women’s wallets at bars in Union Square, Kips Bay, Greenwich Village and the East Village. In numerous cases, the thieves have then withdrawn money from victims’ bank accounts at banks in the Bronx or made fraudulent purchases at stores.

The strings of thefts started in October, and according to police, the pattern is as follows:

On Friday, October 14 at 10:30 p.m., one or both suspects approached a 27 year-old female victim at Fiddle Sticks at 56 Greenwich Avenue near Seventh Avenue and swiped her wallet. Later, $800 from her account was withdrawn at a Chase Bank at 90 East 170 Street in the Bronx.

On Friday, October 21 between 6 and 10 p.m., one of the suspects stole a wallet from a 27-year-old woman inside V-Bar at 132 First Avenue and St. Marks Place. One or both of the thieves then later withdrew $1,200 in cash from her account inside Wells Fargo Bank, located at 3709 Riverdale Avenue in the Bronx. They also charged $357 to the victim’s credit cards.

On Saturday, November 19 at 8 p.m., a 35-year-old woman at Banc Café, located at 431 Third Avenue near East 30th Street had her wallet stolen from her purse, which had been hanging on a chair. The wallet contained $140 in cash and three credit cards. Police believe the male suspect later charged $136 to one of the victim’s credit cards at a Starbucks.

feb23-wallet-theft-man

Male suspect

On Wednesday, December 7 at 10:40 p.m., one or both suspects struck again at Republic Bar at 37 Union Square and East 17th Street, taking a wallet from a bag that had been on the floor. The victim later discovered that $1,100 was stolen from her bank account.

On Monday, December 12 at 7 p.m., a 28-year-old woman at Peter McManus Cafe at 152 7th Avenue at West 19th Street had her wallet stolen. The wallet only contained $14 in cash and a credit card, which was later charged for $520 inside a Duane Reade at 161 East 23rd Street.

On Monday, December 19 between 7:45 hours and 10:21 hours, a woman’s wallet went missing at Brazen Fox, located at 106 Third Avenue at East 13th Street. The wallet contained four credit cards and one debit card, one of which was used at a Duane Reade at 4 West 4 Street for $336.49 in goods.

On Friday, December 23 at approximately 7:15 p.m., one or both suspects stole a wallet from a woman’s pocketbook at Suite 36, located at 16 West 16th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The wallet contained $80 and two of the victim’s credit cards were later used to make multiple purchases.

On Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24 at approximately 9:15 p.m., a 33-year-old woman was notified that approximately $5,000 was charged to her credit cards by one or both of the aforementioned individuals.

The suspects are described as a white woman with long, blonde hair and a man.

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 http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Man on bike snatching phones and bags from women in Gramercy and Flatiron

Phone and bag snatching suspect

Phone and bag snatching suspect

Police are looking for a man who’s stolen from at least eleven women throughout the Gramercy and Flatiron neighborhoods while riding a bike. Cops say the man has been riding up to women and then snatches their phones or their purses before pedaling away on either a Citi Bike or a bike with a basket.

The 13th Precinct’s new commanding officer, Captain Brendan Timoney, had warned the community about a cyclist stealing phones out of women’s hands while they’re distracted at the last Community Council meeting, but details on the crimes weren’t released by police until Wednesday night.

Cops say the larceny pattern, which began in February, is as follows:

On Monday, February 2 at around 11:30 p.m., the man snatched an iPhone from a a 32-year-old woman who was walking on 6th Avenue.

On Tuesday, February 3 at around 10:30 p.m., he grabbed an iPhone from a a 34-year-old woman walking on West 19th Street near 5th Avenue.

On Saturday, February 28 at 9 p.m., the man stole a phone from a 21-year-old woman walking on East 20th Street at Second Avenue.

On Saturday, March 7 at 11:30 p.m. the man snatched a purse from a 34-year-old woman as she walked along East 27th Street, in the vicinity of Third Avenue.

On Sunday, March 15 at 2:20 a.m., the man swiped a purse from a 29-year-old woman who was in front of 100 West 21st Street.

On Sunday, March 15 at 10:40 p.m., the man grabbed a phone out of a 22-year-old woman’s hand as she was walking along East 22nd Street.

On Tuesday, March 31 at 1 a.m., he grabbed a phone from a 24-year-old woman who was walking on East 21st Street near Park Avenue South.

On Saturday, April 4 at 6 a.m. he stole a phone from a 21-year-old woman who was standing in front of 32 East 32nd Street.

On Monday, April 20 at midnight, the man took a phone from a 27-year-old woman walking on 6th Avenue, in the vicinity of West 16th Street.

On Tuesday, April 28 at 1 a.m., he stole a purse from a 23-year-old woman in front of 544 6th Avenue.

On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, at 10:30 p.m., he grabbed a purse from a 42-year-old woman who was in front of 135 East 17th Street.

There were no injuries reported in any of the incidents and police say the the serial cyclist thief is a black man with a beard.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or submit tips by logging onto www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Cops warn of spike in scams, larcenies: Crime down overall, but scam calls, pick-pocketings and assaults are up

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)

At the 13th Precinct Community Council’s most recent monthly meeting this past Tuesday, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg told residents about the slight decrease in overall crime for the area in the last month, although there has been a spike in larcenies.

The number of grand larcenies jumped by 7.7 percent in the last month, although Ehrenberg noted that the precinct is still down 4.9 percent for the year. He said that there has been an increase in pickpockets, as well as an increase in cons.

“There’s a new scam that criminals have been trying, where they use information about people’s family and medical conditions,” the commanding officer said. “There have been phone calls from people that the victims know.”

He noted that the phone calls are not actually from people known to the victim but are criminals who have managed to fake a phone number and manipulate the caller ID.

Ehrenberg added that there has also been an increase in ransom call scams, where criminals will call a victim and demand money for a ransom, but he noted that this was a known scam and that anyone receiving such a call should notify 911 immediately.

The commanding officer also noted that there has been a specific increase in grand larcenies of unattended property in restaurants and despite the recent arrest of suspects thought to be responsible for some of these crimes, he warned residents not to be careless with their property while sitting in restaurants in the neighborhood, specifically in eating establishments around Union Square.

“You have to be aware of your personal belongings,” he said.

There has also been an increase in murder for the precinct, which Ehrenberg said was due to the shooting that took place at Home Depot at the end of January ahead of the season’s first big snow storm. A former employee had gone in to confront one of the store managers, shot him and ultimately shot himself.

Inspector Ehrenberg said that the scene was especially chaotic because the store was so busy with people who were preparing for the snow, but commended both civilians and officers for their quick response. Before police arrived, witnesses had taken it upon themselves to perform CPR on the shooting victim and police continued until EMS arrived.

Felony assaults also increased 18.2 percent in the past month, and Inspector Ehrenberg said this was especially notable because half of these incidents were domestic violence. In two of the cases, Ehrenberg said that the suspects had been involved in domestic violence previously with other partners. He added that the increases were also due to an assault on a lieutenant and on nurses at Bellevue who were assaulted while attending to patients.

Robberies were down 14.3 percent for the precinct in the last month and burglaries were down 63 percent.

Inspector Ehrenberg honored the Cop of the Month from both last month and this month, since the officer last month wasn’t able to attend the meeting to be recognized for his work. Officer Phil McGovern was given the award for January for work that he did last December when a child was choking at Blue Smoke on East 27th Street. He was able to dislodge what was blocking the child’s airway before the EMS arrived by using the version of the Heimlich maneuver that is performed on children.

The commanding officer noted that some of the bad press the police department has been receiving in the last few months has overshadowed the officers who have been working hard, so he wanted to acknowledge the good work that McGovern had done.

Officer Jason Negron was given the honor for this month for making an arrest on a suspect who had been noted on a “wanted” poster and was responsible for a number of grand larcenies in various precincts throughout the city.

Detective Ray Dorrian announced at the meeting that the Citizens Police Academy would be starting up soon and the precinct is now accepting applications. He noted that anyone interested in the program can get an application by contacting him at (212) 477-7427.

Community Council President Frank Scala encouraged those at the meeting to take the course, saying that he had taken it before and had found it very useful.

“For that week you are a police officer and you learn a lot of things in it,” he said.

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.