Police Watch: Man arrested for failed mugging, ‘Grinder’ busted in Union Square

Police arrested 51-year-old Kenneth Brwon for attempted robbery after, they said, he tried to snatch a woman’s purse and canvas shopping bags from her shoulder.
According to the district attorney, while at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 23rd Street last Sunday at 1 a.m., Brwon continued to pull on the victim’s bags even when multiple passersby intervened, and even when the victim struggled to get away by getting into a taxi.
When it was clear he wasn’t going to get the woman’s belongings, he allegedly attempted to flee but was arrested soon after.

Police arrested 24-year-old Kavon Morgan for sexual abuse at East 14th Street and Union Square East last Thursday at 7:30 a.m. Police said that Morgan used his sweatshirt to hide his erection and proceeded to thrust his hips and rub his groin area against the victim’s buttocks multiple times.

Thirty-year-old Josh Lewis was arrested for possession of a controlled substance in front of 38 Gramercy Park East last Friday at 7:09 p.m. Police said that Lewis snorted cocaine from his right hand while on the sidewalk, and alleged cocaine was recovered from his pockets when he was searched.

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Beth Israel plans to stop delivering babies in May

Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Last November, the president of Mount Sinai Downtown, a planned network of hospitals and healthcare centers that will include a downsized Beth Israel, told Town & Village that newborns being delivered would be getting phased out. At the time, the new network president, Dr. Jeremy Boal of Peter Cooper Village, said there wasn’t a hard deadline, but there simply wasn’t enough volume to justify continuing the service.

But Mount Sinai is now applying with the State Department of Health to discontinue deliveries at Beth Israel by late May. Instead, expectant mothers would be admitted at one of the other in-network hospitals like Mount Sinai West. In its written application to have the hospital’s maternity beds and its well-baby nursery “de-certified,” Mount Sinai explained that it only delivers six babies a day at Beth Israel, with half of the mothers coming from Brooklyn.

While the neighborhoods surrounding Beth Israel have no shortage of young families, Boal told Town & Village back in November that proximity to the hospital just wasn’t driving business there from neighbors.

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Police Watch: Spa employees arrested, Teen arrested for pooping in stairwell at Straus Houses

Police arrested four men inside Super Men’s Spa at 163 West 22nd Street last Friday at 6:09 p.m. Marek Denert, 22, was charged with prostitution and police said that he agreed to provide an undercover officer with a sex act in exchange for cash.
The other three men arrested, 26-year-old Duvan Gutierrez, 27-year-old Lingyu Hui and 28-year-old Ahmet Eminoglu, were charged with unclassified misdemeanors. Police said that the three men were seen performing massages on customers but none of them had a massage license. The four men were questioned in regards to human trafficking with police concluding this wasn’t an issue there.
UPDATE (March 15): “Mr. Denert’s actions were 100 percent legitimate and in accordance with the law,” said Todd Spodek, Denert‘s defense attorney. “If the establishment or any other masseuses were acting inappropriately, that is separate and distinct from his role there.”

Police arrested a teenager inside 344 East 28th Street last Thursday after he was seen defecating in the 26th floor stairwell of the building. Police said when he was searched, shortly after midnight, he was allegedly in possession of a bag of marijuana in his jacket pocket and a burnt joint that was also in his pocket. Police said that the teen doesn’t live in the building and doesn’t know anyone who lives in the building. He was charged with trespassing as well as a health code violation and possession of marijuana. His name is being withheld due to his young age.

Police arrested a teenager for assault last Monday at 9:50 a.m. inside the Washington Irving High School campus. Police said that the teen punched the victim in the face, causing bruising and swelling.

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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.


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.

Creep masturbates in front of teen on L train

Alleged masturbator

Alleged masturbator

Police are hunting a man who masturbated in front of a 14-year-old girl on the L train going from Union Square to Sixth Avenue.

The victim told police it happened last Monday shortly after she boarded the train at Union Square at 1 p.m. But when she got to the next stop, the man followed her as she left the train and went into the mezzanine area of the station. At that point, the victim left the station while the man got onto another train.

The suspect is described as black, about 35 years old, 5’5″-5’6″ tall, 140-150 lbs., and has a medium build. He was last seen with a goatee, wearing a black coat with fur on the collar.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.


Police Watch: Man arrested for assaulting mother, Man busted for meth and burglaries

Police arrested a 48-year-old man for assault inside his Stuyvesant Town building last Sunday at 4 a.m. The victim told police that she got into an argument with the suspect, who is her son, when he allegedly hit her on the hand with an unknown object, causing swelling to her wrist.
Police said that the suspect, whose name is being withheld by Town & Village to protect the victim’s privacy, then punched his mother repeatedly, causing swelling to her forehead, and he allegedly bit her nose. Police said that he also turned off her breathing machine. The victim told police that her son turns off the oxygen on her breathing machine on a daily basis and she is in fear for her life. The son was also charged with endangering the vulnerable elderly.
Marynia Kruk, a spokesperson for Stuyvesant Town management, said, “StuyTown Property Services is aware of the incident. Our Public Safety team responded and notified NYPD, and as always will cooperate with their investigation as needed.”

Police arrested 32-year-old Matthew Cherette for trespassing and criminal possession of a controlled substance inside 111 West 16th Street last Monday at 5:53 p.m. Police said that he was trespassing inside the building and when he was searched, was in possession of two clear plastic bags of crystal meth.
When he was arrested, police found that he was wanted in connected with three other incidents, including petit larceny and two burglaries. Police said that Cherette also took a credit card that had been mailed to a resident from the lobby area of an apartment building on January 24 and allegedly used the card to purchase gift cards at CVS. Police said that he also removed an envelope containing cash from a hotel room. He allegedly admitted to police that he had taken the envelopes and said he had a gambling problem. Police said that he also identified himself on surveillance video from CVS.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for heroin outside shelter, Car theft near Stuy Town

Police arrested 46-year-old Vincent Franco for sale of a controlled substance outside the 30th Street Men’s Shelter at 400 East 30th Street last Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Police said that Franco sold a quantity of alleged heroin to an undercover officer for cash.

Police arrested 52-year-old William Torres for sale of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child at the corner of First Avenue and East 24th Street last Wednesday at 7:49 a.m. Police said that Torres sold Xanax to an undercover officer while in custody of an 8-year-old child. Torres was also charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Francisco Vazquez, 59, and Kevin Sullivan, 32, also allegedly sold Xanax to an undercover officer at the same time nearby in front of 318 East 23rd Street. Vazquez and Sullivan were both charged with sale of a controlled substance and Sullivan was additionally charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Police arrested 47-year-old Alexander Owens for grand larceny auto at the corner of East 16th Street and Avenue C last Saturday at 3:17 p.m. Police said that Owens stole the victim’s car and attempted to flee on the FDR before he was arrested.

Police arrested 23-year-old Shadi Torres for possession of a controlled substance in front of 309 First Avenue last Saturday at 12:04 a.m. Police picked up Torres for an unrelated previous incident and when he was searched, he was allegedly in possession of two bags of psychedelic mushrooms.

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Former Tammany Hall gets $57.5M for renovation

The former home of New York's political machine is being renovated to house office space and retail.

The former home of New York’s political machine is being renovated to house office space and retail.

By Sabina Mollot

The planned transformation of the former Tammany Hall in Union Square into a retail/office building has just gotten a little closer to becoming reality with $57.5 million in financing.

RM Capital Management, a real estate and merchant banking firm, announced on Friday it had arranged to provide that amount in first mortgage and mezzanine construction financing on behalf of the building’s owner Reading International, Inc.

The landmarked building is being gut renovated to include a total of six stories that will have a glass-domed roof, and the space will be leased for retail and office purposes. Its new address will be 44 Union Square; originally it was 100 East 17th Street.

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No Pants subway riders converge on Union Square

Participants arrived at the Union Square station in only their knickers after participating in the ride on Sunday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Participants arrived at the Union Square station in their knickers after participating in the ride on Sunday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

New Yorkers braved below-freezing temperatures and the remains of the weekend’s snowstorm for the annual No Pants subway ride on Sunday, organized by comedy group Improv Everywhere. The pantsless riders converged on Union Square around 4 p.m. after riding through the subway system from various origin points.

The prank has been hosted by Improv Everywhere for the last 16 years, beginning with only seven participants in 2002. Since then, the event has grown to include more than 4,000 pantsless New Yorkers, with other cities organizing their own events throughout the world.

The idea behind the prank is that passengers board subway cars at different stops in the middle of winter without pants on. Participants behave like they don’t know each other and wear other winter-weather clothing like coats, hats, gloves and scarves, and the only unusual aspect of their appearance is their lack of pants.

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Police Watch: Man wanted for NoMad burglary, Police looking for bank robber

Burglary suspect

Burglary suspect

Police are looking for a man believed to be behind to a burglary in NoMad. It was reported to police that on Sunday, December 18 at 1:30 a.m. the man got into Ajisen Ramsen Restaurant, located at 136 West 28th Street, through an unsecured basement door. Once inside, he attempted to get into a safe, but failed. The suspect then proceeded to remove a Playstation and iPhone before fleeing.
He was described as a black man wearing a black coat with a hooded sweater underneath and was wearing a black and grey backpack.
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.

Bank robbery suspect

Bank robbery suspect

The NYPD is asking for help finding a man they say robbed a Capital One Bank located at 470 Park Avenue South and East 31st Street. Police said that on Tuesday at around 4:20 p.m. the man approached a bank teller and passed a note demanding money.
The teller complied and gave the suspect an undetermined amount of cash. He then fled south on Park Avenue South.
The man is described as black, 50 to 60 years old, approximately six feet in height with a slim build. He was last seen wearing a black baseball cap, a gray hooded coat, light colored pants and brown shoes.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls are strictly confidential.

Police arrested 21-year-old Mena Hanna for unauthorized use of vehicle in front of 270 Park Avenue South last Wednesday at 12:30 a.m. Police said that Hanna was stopped while driving because the car he was in had been reported stolen.

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Strand to host Harry Potter-themed speed dating

Guests in costume at a July Harry Potter book launch event at the Strand (Photos courtesy of the Strand)

Guests in costume at a July Harry Potter book launch event at the Strand (Photos courtesy of the Strand)

By Sabina Mollot

Harry Potter fans looking to meet that special someone will have the opportunity to do so on Monday, December 12, when Union Square bookstore the Strand will have a Yule ball/Harry Potter-themed speed dating session.

The event was the idea of the store’s communications director Whitney Hu, a Harry Potter fan and a fan of “Puffs,” a satire show inspired by the book and film franchise that originated at the People’s Improv Theater but has since hit Off-Broadway.

Hu said she believes the Harry Potter angle, and the fact that guests are encouraged to come in costume, will help take the edge off what’s normally a very serious event; and she’d know. The Strand has already hosted several speed dating events that while popular (the last one sold out) are still nerve-racking for many attendees.

For this reason, Hu approached the people behind “Puffs” to help facilitate the event. Two cast members will be in character while facilitating a mingling session. While having a session for mingling might seem over-organized, Hu explained this as well. “We’ve had open mingling before. No one mingles.”

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HS students: Trump is scary, Clinton was less corrupt


The Clinton School (photo by Maya Rader)


They may not be able to vote, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have political opinions.

Town & Village intern Maya Rader interviewed fellow students at The Clinton School for Writers and Artists in Union Square about the presidential election, and the teenage perspective was far from indifferent. Like most New Yorkers, those interviewed seemed stunned by Trump’s victory and most were concerned.

Fifteen-year-old Bernardo Malatesta shared the view of most people interviewed when he said he prefers Secretary Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump.
“Even though she’s corrupt at times, her moral values are a lot better than Trump.” He then added, smiling, “but Bernie will always be in my heart.”

Ava Rosenbaum, 14, remarked that although she dislikes Trump as a person, she isn’t as worried about him as a president. “I’m more afraid of Pence and Trump supporters.”

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Man gets 90 days in jail for throwing Stuy Town resident down subway stairs

By Sabina Mollot

A man who punched a Stuyvesant Town resident in the face before throwing him down the subway stairs in Union Square was sentenced this week to 90 days in jail after taking a plea deal.

The sentence came a week after the attacker, Gary Williams, assaulted the victim, a 28-year-old man, outside Whole Foods last Monday evening.

According to the victim, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Dan, Williams slugged him after he offered Williams $10. Williams had just been kicked out of the supermarket for ordering food he didn’t pay for, according to information from the Manhattan district attorney. However, instead of saying thank you, Williams, who is sometimes seen drumming around Union Square, punched Dan in the face.

“I said ‘I’ll give you ten dollars, and he took that as a fight,” Dan told Town & Village, adding that Williams had attacked him as he started walking away. The Stuy Town man said he fought back though, and things quickly spiraled into “a full on fist fight as I tried to defend myself.” However, when Dan thought it was over, Williams threw him down the subway stairs. “But I took him with me,” the 28-year-old said, recalling that it was about a 15-foot drop from the sidewalk to the bottom of the stairs. “It was miraculous I didn’t break any bones.”

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Police Watch: Man busted for strangling pregnant girlfriend, Man arrested for multiple burglaries

Police arrested 25-year-old Malcolm Rawlinson for strangulation inside Bellevue Hospital last Thursday at 7:45 a.m. Police said that the victim was in the maternity ward with her boyfriend, who is the father of her unborn child, when Rawlinson allegedly struck her in the face and strangled her. She suffered pain and bruising to her face and a sore throat. Rawlinson also allegedly stole the woman’s wallet and phone.
According to the district attorney, Rawlinson pleaded guilty to criminal obstruction of breathing. He was released on his own recognizance, although a temporary order of protection has been issued. He has not been sentenced yet.

Abraham Cruz, 44, was charged in connection with a burglary in July that took place inside Lahori Kabab at 122 Lexington Avenue after he was arrested for a burglary on the Upper West Side earlier this month. The owner of the kabab place told police that he closed up his business at 4 a.m. on July 2 and all the surveillance cameras were in working order, but when he returned later in the morning, he found that the cameras had been tampered with and both the recording system for the surveillance equipment and the cash register were both missing from the restaurant. Police said that the cash register turned up in a dumpster nearby and a fingerprint lifted from one of the surveillance cameras allegedly matched Cruz.
Cruz was arrested for the July incident at the 13th Precinct last Saturday, and police said that Cruz was connected to a number of other burglaries through his fingerprints, including two incidents on the Upper East and West Sides during the summer. The most recent incident was a burglary on West 91st Street on October 2 where he was caught on surveillance video allegedly stealing bicycles from the basement of the building.

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Man comes close to to hurling boy off 4 train


Police sketch of suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who who pulled an 11-year-old boy off a 4 train last Wednesday into the area between the cars where he then picked him and shook him as if he was going to throw him off the train.

The boy bumped his head on the side of the train while this was happening. At some point, a 26-year-old female passenger intervened, and managed to pull the victim back into the train car. The good samaritan and the boy got off the southbound train at Union Square while the suspect remained on the train. This happened at around 3:30 p.m.

According to a police officer, the incident began with play fighting that was going on aboard the train and it escalated to a point where the victim’s involvement or lack of it was enough motivation for the suspect to pull him outside. The victim and the suspect did not know each other beforehand and the woman didn’t know either of the individuals. There were also other passengers aboard the train car though it was unclear how many.

The suspect of the crime, which went from being classified as reckless endangerment to assault by police, is described as black, in his 30s and 6’0 tall. He was last seen wearing black sweater and a multi-colored baseball cap.

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 WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.