Skunk visits Stuy Town, later relocated upstate

Anne Lazarus saw this skunk while out bird watching. (Photo by Anne Lazarus)

By Sabina Mollot

On Friday morning, a resident of Stuyvesant Town who was out bird watching saw a form of wildlife she’d never encountered before — a skunk – by the Oval.

The resident, Anne Lazarus, said at first she thought she was looking at a large cat — possibly around two feet long including its tail – but then realized what it was as it lumbered along the walkway. Therefore, she knew not to get too close.

Upon noticing Lazarus, she said, “It raised its tail and I backed off quickly.” She then contacted a public safety and an officer who’s previously rescued animals, Patrolman Morales, responded. Armed with a bag at the end of a pole he managed to get the black and white critter inside a large container. Unfortunately, this wasn’t without getting sprayed first.

UPDATE: Later, he told us: “Thank goodness I live alone because whoever I was with would have left, I smelled so bad.”

Lazarus had left the scene by that point but later heard from Morales that he’d brought the skunk to an appropriate area in upstate Kingston and released it there.

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Stuy Town gets new public safety chief

New Public Safety Chief Frances Martin is a Stuyvesant town resident.

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, StuyTown Property Services made the surprise announcement that there was a new chief of public safety in the community.

The job has been given to Frances Martin, a Stuyvesant Town resident and a former NYPD officer who has been working as a lieutenant for SPS for the past seven years on the overnight shift. She is the first woman to become head of public safety in the complex.

SPS made the announcement via email, which curiously omitted any reference to the chief of public safety for the past 11 years, William McClellan. McClellan also previously had worked for the NYPD. SPS wouldn’t comment on the reason for the popular employee’s departure, but praised him in a written statement to Town & Village.

“Chief McClellan served the community well over his 11 years and we thank him for his leadership and service,” spokesperson Paula Chirhart said.

As for Martin, the newsletter states: “She served the city of New York for 27 years and retired as commander of the Detective Squad in 2010. She was an appointee of the then police commissioner and has worked task forces with the FBI, Secret Service, and just about every other federal agency including Homeland Security in the aftermath of 9/11. At the time of her departure, Martin was one of the highest ranking female officers in the NYPD.”

Another Stuyvesant Town resident, Joseph Gamba, will be taking on the role of deputy chief of public safety.

Teens threaten senior at knifepoint in PCV, suspects nabbed

Mar31 Peter Cooper sign

Peter Cooper Village

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Two teenagers attempted to rob a 78-year-old Peter Cooper Village resident outside 420 East 23rd Street last Monday at 5:40 p.m.

Police said that a 14-year-old middle school student from Bethpage on Long Island threatened the resident in front of the Peter Cooper building. The teen reportedly threatened the victim with a blue knife while demanding that he give him a dollar while the other teen, a 17-year-old high school student who attends Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, was acting as a lookout.

The 14-year-old managed to get into the building’s lobby by closely following another resident and got in before the main door locked, but both teens were outside the building when the middle schooler threatened the victim.

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Injured bat found in PCV

Local veterinarian Dr. Timothy Mann said he suspects this bat is an Eastern Red bat, although it’s not normal to see one during the day. (Photo by Lisa Kuklinski)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village have long been well known as sanctuaries to birds as well as squirrels, and in late 2015, the park-filled property was even visited by a coyote.

Still, a Peter Cooper Village mom was shocked on Saturday morning when she and her young son spotted a bat lying on the ground.

Additionally, the bat, which was motionless near 2 Peter Cooper Road, did not appear to be in good shape.

“I thought it was dead because it was lying face up on the ground,” the mom, Lisa Kuklinski, later told Town & Village. “Then I got closer and I could see it was trying to breathe.”

For a moment, she thought about taking it home, “but I don’t know anything about bats,” she said. So, instead Kuklinski called the Public Safety department. She went out again a couple of hours later but by then the bat was gone.

She isn’t sure what happened to the bat to cause it to have lost the use of its wings. “I don’t know if one of the hawks got it.”

Hawks have been spotted more frequently in ST/PCV, as T&V reported in February.

Fortunately, the bat did make it off the pavement alive, according to management.

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Teen arrested for attempted knifepoint robbery in Stuy Town

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 15-year-old was arrested for attempting to rob a deliveryman at knifepoint in Stuyvesant Town last week.

Police said that the teen, along with another suspect who was not arrested, approached the victim as he was leaving 653 East 14th Street last Wednesday at 8:24 p.m. after making a delivery.

After the teen pulled a knife, the pair demanded cash from the deliveryman, but he managed to push them away without getting injured. The failed muggers then fled the location.

At that point, a bystander who saw the incident activated the emergency phone station connected to Stuy Town’s Public Safety department, and officers from the property as well as NYPD arrived at the scene.

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When Stella came to Stuyvesant Town

A nor’easter that hit New York on Tuesday wasn’t as bad as initially predicted in terms of actual snowfall, but since the storm named Stella had already been declared a weather emergency, this meant no shortage of caution was taken. In Stuyvesant Town as in the rest of the city, the snow melting efforts began before the snow and hail actually began to fall, and shoveling soon after, though Stuy Town management sent out several emails warning black ice was still inevitable due to the below freezing temperature. In one email, management noted that over five inches of snow had come down on the Oval just by 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday. Meanwhile, residents made the best of the near-blizzard conditions and a day off from school and work, hauling out their sleds and snowman making skills.

Photos by Maya Rader

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Stuy Town woman: Handy cleaner stole from my apartment

Jennifer Kops (pictured in 2013 at a Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade) (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Jennifer Kops (pictured in 2013 at a Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade) (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Earlier this month, the NYPD sent out an email blast, noting that police had become aware of 50 complaints of theft that were traced back to Handy, an app that allows users to hire people who clean their apartments and do handyman type work. The cops added that there has been one arrest within the past month related to such an incident.

However, despite the memo being picked up by a few news outlets, including this one, thefts from apartments have apparently continued. Handy, like Uber, is a platform connecting workers to those in need of service, with customers listing dates and times they would like the work done and contractors responding to accept the job.

And, as one resident of Stuyvesant Town who utilized the company’s services on five occasions told us, she was definitely cleaned out when an estimated $5,000 in cash and jewelry went missing from her apartment.

The resident, Jennifer Kops, a mom of two, said after the first cleaner came and did a “fantastic job,” she didn’t have a problem letting in future cleaners (there were two others) into her home while she was at work.

“To me it seemed like a great plan; I come home to a nice smelling house.”

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StuyTown to offer self-defense classes after attempted rape

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

StuyTown Property Services will be offering self-defense courses to residents in the wake of the sexual assault in Stuyvesant Town early last Sunday morning, and the management has installed new lighting along the 14th Street corridor. General Manager Rick Hayduk made the announcements in an emailed newsletter to residents on Thursday night.

In addition to new lighting, Hayduk noted that perimeter lighting, particular along Avenue C, as well as interior lighting, is currently being reviewed. SPS will also be working with security consultants to identify areas where new and additional equipment should be placed, including improvements to the configuration of the surveillance system, since the assault on Sunday was not fully visible to the property’s security cameras.

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Teen arrested in connection with attempted sexual assault of woman in Stuy Town

June23 sign

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

UPDATE: Police have filed charges of attempted rape, assault, strangulation, sex abuse, burglary against the suspect, identified as Aaron Kish of Piscataway, New Jersey. Police didn’t have information on if the victim was injured, although she had been taken to the hospital for treatment and observation and police said there was a “physical confrontation.” Police also said Kish has been arrested before though it wasn’t clear how many times or what the charges were. In the alleged assault, he suffered some facial injuries when the victim fought back.

By Sabina Mollot

Police have arrested a 17-year-old who’s suspected of trying to sexually assault a woman inside the vestibule of her building in Stuyvesant Town.

Police said that at around 4:45 a.m. the victim, a 22-year-old woman, was walking into her building when the suspect entered the vestibule behind her. He then started talking to her before pulling off her clothes and trying to sexually assault her. At that point, a resident of the building came into the vestibule, and the attacker fled.

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Three men arrested for package thefts in Stuy Town

Packages at 441 E 20

Three men were arrested for allegedly stealing packages from Stuy Town (not the ones pictured from a past pileup).

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested three men for stealing packages in a Stuyvesant Town building this past Tuesday afternoon. Emicel Basurto, 29, Damon Barnes, 40, and Jemal Martin, 42, were busted inside 435 East 14th Street at 2:52 p.m. while allegedly going through packages that had been delivered to the building.

A representative for StuyTown Property Services said that a janitorial supervisor noticed a man fitting the description of an alleged package thief walking near East 14th Street and Avenue A with two other men. Management knew what the suspect looked like because of surveillance video taken at buildings where thefts had previously occurred.

According to the District Attorney’s office, Basurto could be seen on video surveillance entering 453 East 14th Street on December 27 around 4:30 p.m. He allegedly took an elevator upstairs and left shortly after, but police said that a package that had been confirmed delivered was not at her apartment when she got home.

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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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PCV porters catch cell phone ‘thief’

Peter Cooper Village

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

An attempt to steal a Peter Cooper Village resident’s cell phone on Wednesday evening was cut short thanks to the quick actions of two porters on the property who ran after the suspect and caught him. The man was then held for Stuyvesant Town’s Public Safety department and later the police.

According to the District Attorney’s office, 19-year-old Joseph Small approached the victim in front of 370 First Avenue around 5:30 p.m. and demanded her iPhone before grabbing it from her hands and running away.

Small was charged with grand larceny and theft and was arrested in front of 375 First Avenue around 6:21 p.m.

The porters who nabbed the suspect are Joel Quezada and Jose Paredes. The Public Safety officer who was also involved is Kerron Safe. The DA’s office said that Safe recovered the victim’s phone from Small’s pocket.

Two cars splashed with paint thinner or acid outside PCV

The corrosive substance peeled the paint down to the metal on Cailin Krogman’s car door. (Photo courtesy of Cailin Krogman)

The corrosive substance peeled the paint down to the metal on Cailin Krogman’s car door. (Photo courtesy of Cailin Krogman)

By Sabina Mollot

While most drivers have experienced the delight of walking outside to find that their car’s tires have been slashed or the doors keyed by a random jerk, two cars owned by residents of Peter Cooper were recently on the receiving end of a splash attack by either paint thinner or some kind of acid.

One of the car owners, Cailin Krogman, said other cars may have been damaged by the substance, too, which caused the paint to peel back down to the metal all along the passenger door.

The perp, she believes, must have done it last Saturday night at some point after she parked her car at 6:45 p.m. near a Peter Cooper Village entrance on East 20th Street. Krogman didn’t discover the damage herself until the following Monday morning when leaving for work, but said a neighbor who’d been out walking her dog on Sunday morning saw the cars damaged at that time. Because of this, Krogman doesn’t believe she was personally targeted by anyone.

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Kid on bike hits woman on PCV path

By Sabina Mollot

While normally the sight of speeding bikes in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper is blamed on deliverymen from nearby restaurants, recently it was an eight-year-old child whose speeding resulted in an accident that left one woman in a cast.

The woman, a resident of Stuyvesant Town, said it was on July 13 at around 6 p.m. when she was walking her dog along a path in Peter Cooper near 541 East 20th Street and was knocked down from behind when a child on a bike crashed directly into her. Instinctively, she put out her arms to protect her head and ended up landing on them, fracturing her left wrist. Then, adding insult to injury, she said, was that the boy’s father berated her for being there. The woman, who asked that her name not be published, added that soon after she was hit, Public Safety officers were at the scene and when she gave her name and address to them, the boy’s father, a resident of PCV, asked what she was doing there.

“He said, in front of me, ‘You don’t belong here; you live in Stuyvesant Town,’” she said. She added that he initially resisted giving his own information to the officer, but ultimately admitted that when the accident occurred he was distracted by something on his phone. Meanwhile, the boy, she noticed was frozen in shock.

Fortunately, another man who lives nearby and saw her was friendlier, helping her into a cab so she could get treatment at NYU Langone Medical Center.

The woman, a longtime resident, said she contacted T&V for a couple of reasons. First, she said, she wants parents to make sure their kids’ bikes have bells or horns, and she also wants to make sure parents whose kids are learning to ride bikes actually do supervise them.

“If I was an older person, or a more frail person, I could have died,” she said. “This is a busy community.”

Fire in PCV injures 5

A firefighter gets ready to enter a fourth floor apartment at 601 East 20th Street. Photo via FDNY)

A firefighter gets ready to enter a fourth floor apartment at 601 East 20th Street. (Photo via FDNY)

By Sabina Mollot

An older resident was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a Peter Cooper Village apartment on Friday. The blaze, which the Fire Department got the call about at 5:13 p.m. took 29 minutes to get under control, with 20 units and 78 firefighters at the scene.

The resident, James Masterson, has been treated and released and is now fine, according to a woman who works for the couple as a caretaker. She wasn’t working at the apartment that day but said Masterson and his wife Bernadette were both home at the time the fire broke out.

“He inhaled smoke, but he’s fine now; they’re both fine,” she said.

The address where the fire broke out was on the fourth floor at 601 East 20th Street, which is on Avenue C.

The FDNY said that after the fire, four firefighters were taken to different local hospitals with minor injuries and one civilian was also taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition. The FDNY said it couldn’t confirm that it was Masterson or even the age of the patient.

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