ST/PCV ditches security SUVs

One of three new scooters to be used by public safety officers, along with a fleet of bikes (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The Public Safety department of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village invested in a fleet of six new bikes and three new Segway scooters, while also saying goodbye to three of its five SUV trucks.

The shift in transportation methods has a couple of reasons, according to StuyTown Property Services.

The first is to increase visibility of a security presence as a crime deterrent. The other is to make it easier for residents to get to know public safety officers.

The department is also in the midst of instituting a program similar to one being introduced by the 13th Precinct which places officers in very specific areas to act as community liaisons. The idea is to make it easier for neighborhood residents to form relationships with local law enforcement.

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Man wanted for package thefts, vandalism in Stuy Town

Package theft suspect (Photo courtesy of StuyTown Property Services)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

In what seems to be an ongoing battle to stay a step ahead of local package thieves, a couple of buildings in Stuyvesant Town were hit recently by a man who management also believes is responsible for some graffiti.

StuyTown Property Services notified residents in an email this week that a man has been stealing packages and vandalizing apartment doors, most recently “piggybacking” into 649 East 14th Street on Monday. Packages were subsequently reported missing from the hallway and management believes that the man also vandalized a number of doors in 17 Stuyvesant Oval.

A resident confirmed to Town & Village last Friday that a delivery man had been running loose in the building, staying inside for 40 to 50 minutes last Wednesday, during which he drew penises on three apartment doors on two different floors and “trashed” the second floor, ripping open multiple packages, although it was unclear if anything was stolen from the boxes. The resident noted that the doors had been cleaned and repainted by Thursday.

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Ticketing blitz hits drivers in Stuy Town

Drivers parked in the loop roads have been slapped with tickets. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuy Town drivers, beware.

A recent and ongoing ticketing blitz in the loop roads around the Oval has local motorists on edge for a couple of reasons. First, generally, parking tickets are the domain of Stuyvesant Town’s own public safety department, whose officers are deputized to issue them for infractions. Additionally, they offer a 15-minute grace period to drivers loading and unloading at times when parking isn’t permitted. This grace period was arranged by then-Assembly Member Steven Sanders and the city in 2002.

But all that has changed within the past couple of months. Residents have been complaining on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s Facebook page, as well as to the office of Council Member Keith Powers, about an NYPD crackdown on illegal parking, that came without warning.

The infractions were for idling as well as for parking in spots where “No Parking” signs were posted. A rep for Powers noted that public safety typically lets drivers know when they can re-park after street sweeping is concluded but that tends to be before the “No Parking” signs indicate.

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Powers named criminal justice chair

Council Member Keith Powers (Photo courtesy of Keith Powers)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

City Councilmember Keith Powers is getting in the swing of things in the Council, having been appointed chair of the Criminal Justice Services committee by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson last Thursday.

Powers said that the committee will likely meet about once a month and one of the major issues will be on the possible closure of Riker’s Island. The committee will be discussing how the city should deal with the long-term future of the facility and whether it should be closed or transformed.

“In closing one of the largest jails in the country, we would have to make sure we have alternatives and options for folks afterwards when they get out,” he said. “The point is to rehabilitate people so they’re prepared for the real world, for the workforce or offer literacy, and want to make sure people have a menu of options and so they can have a peaceful life.”

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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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