Homeless man accused of smashing over 40 WiFi kiosks in Manhattan

Juan Rodriguez was arrested in connection with the incidents.

By Sabina Mollot

Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for a week-long LinkNYC kiosk smashing spree in different neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Juan Rodriguez, 41, who’d been staying at the East 30th Street men’s shelter, was picked up by police in front of 230 East 21st Street at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

From April 16-23, a man, who was seen on surveillance video, smashed 42 Wi-Fi hubs with a brick or other blunt objects in Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Flatiron and in midtown.

Rodriguez has been arrested a number of times since 2006, mostly for alleged marijuana possession and criminal mischief, police said.

Police Watch: Man nabbed for assaulting senior, Cyclist arrested for assault

Police arrested 41-year-old Ralph Ferreiras for assault, menacing and weapons possession last Friday at 1 p.m. inside the 13th precinct. Police said that Ferreiras punched the victim in the face and in the ribs, and he was allegedly in possession of a baseball bat when he was assaulting the victim, who police said is over 65 years old.

Police arrested 21-year-old Aaron Adderley for assault at the corner of Broadway and West 24th Street last Tuesday at 4:44 p.m. Police said that Adderley and the victim were both riding bicycles near the intersection when Adderley allegedly cut the victim off, bumping their bikes and causing Adderley to fall off the bike. The suspect got up off the ground and allegedly began punching the victim in the face, causing pain and redness.

Police arrested 37-year-old D’wayne Ferguson for grand larceny and petit larceny for seven cell phone thefts from stores last Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Police said that Ferguson snatched Apple iPhones from stores on two different occasions and he allegedly stole Samsung and other phones on five different occasions, sometimes snatching more than one phone at once.
Ferguson was charged for the incidents inside the 13th precinct.

Continue reading

Maloney calls for formation of coalition to fight anti-Semitism

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney discusses the recent rash of anti-Semitic vandalism across the country. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Last Monday, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney called for a domestic adaptation of Europe-based commission to fight anti-Semitism, after multiple acts of vandalism have damaged tombstones in Jewish cemeteries across the country.

Maloney pointed to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, which works to protect and preserve monuments and buildings in Europe associated with the heritage of U.S. citizens, but no such government agency exists to protect monuments within the United States.

“We spend time in foreign countries helping them preserve their cemeteries,” she said. “What about here?”

Continue reading

$100G destruction spree at Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception Church (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Immaculate Conception Church (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Brooklyn resident Michael Torres is being charged with burglary and criminal mischief to be prosecuted as hate crimes after police said that the 20-year-old vandalized Immaculate Conception Church at 414 East 14th Street last Wednesday night.

Local blog Bedford and Bowery originally reported the vandalism last Thursday, noting that Torres was caught on camera leaving an AA meeting at the church earlier that day and reportedly returned later in the evening, forcing the front door open. John Matcovich, the parish manager at the church, said that the side doors of the church were also badly damaged, but from the inside.

“He must have thought those were rooms but they’re just other doors that lead back outside, to the courtyard,” Matcovich said.

Torres had allegedly used the end of an incense holder as a battering ram to break through the side doors. Although the church is in the process of sorting out the cost of the damage, Matcovich said that the administrators made sure to fix and secure the doors as soon as possible.

In addition to the doors, the vandalism was originally reported to cost $100,000 in damage but Matcovich said that once everything is finalized with the insurance company, it will likely be more. He noted that all 14 of the Stations of the Cross had been destroyed and those alone were worth more than $3,000 each.

The blog noted that a number of statues at the church were destroyed, including a plaster statue of the Virgin Mary that was over a hundred years old and had been moved from Mary Help of Christians shortly before it was demolished in 2013. An icon depicting the Virgin Mary holding a baby Jesus was also destroyed.

Matcovich noted that due to the mess from the vandalism, mass had to be held in the parish basement on Thursday but he said that partially due to the quick work of the insurance company in documenting the damage, the church was able to reopen on Friday.

“That was really important to us,” Matcovich said.

Matcovich will be putting a list together for the insurance company once church officials know what can’t be salvaged, but he said that a fund is being set up if community residents or parishioners want to contribute. Checks can be made out to Immaculate Conception Church but with a note in the memo that the donation is for the vandalism relief fund.

Bedford and Bowery noted that Torres was caught by police after he found himself locked inside the church’s cloister and he was arrested shortly before 11 p.m. He was being held on $10,000 bail or bond but the Department of Corrections said that he was released on Tuesday because his bail had been paid.

Torres’ attorney Steve Hoffman said that his client was currently being psychiatrically evaluated and since Torres made bail, his family has been taking care of him.

“We’re hopeful that he gets the help that he clearly needs,” Hoffman said.

Police Watch: ‘Groper’ arrested at Stuy Town Red Mango, Bomb threat at hotel, Parks employee busted for ‘theft’

Compiled by Maria Rocha-Buschel

Fifty-nine-year-old David Mavashev was arrested for sexual abuse inside the Red Mango at 264 First Avenue last Wednesday at 12:59 p.m. Mavashev allegedly grabbed the victim’s butt and left breast while she was working.

Police arrested 55-year-old James Goff for terrorist threats last Sunday at 9:28 p.m. inside the Gansevoort Hotel at 420 Park Avenue South. Goff allegedly told a hotel employee, “A bomb will go off tonight or tomorrow over here.” Police searched the building but didn’t find a bomb, but while investigating, found that Goff did have an active warrant for his arrest.

Cops arrested Ezzard Davis, 41, after he allegedly punched another man in the face in front of Beth Israel, 281 First Avenue and 16th Street last Friday at 9:34 a.m. Police said the punch only caused a small cut.

Police arrested 52-year-old Lydia Brito and 26-year-old Arabian Breland for stolen property at Union Square West and East 17th Street last Wednesday at 9:39 p.m. Police were in the park responding to a radio run of an assault. The victim told police that he was in the park and put his bag down before a fight started and after someone punched him in the face, he noticed that his bag was gone. Witnesses later told police that two park employees, Brito and Breland, had taken the bag and put it into their garbage pail. Police approached them later in the park office and asked if they had found a backpack with a cell phone in it. They both said no but they were allegedly in possession of the backpack and knew where the cell phone was.

Police arrested Lawrence Wallace, 47, for petit larceny at First Avenue and East 17th Street last Tuesday at 3:04 p.m. A waitress in a nearby restaurant told police that she seated Wallace, who then headed to use the bathroom while the waitress continued greeting customers. She noticed a few minutes later that he was leaving and one of her co-workers told her that Wallace swiped a cell phone and $72 in cash off one of the tables. When she and her co-worker attempted to stop Wallace, he allegedly stuffed the cash down his pants and fled on foot. He was found on the back of a public bus and was in possession of the cash and the phone, police said.

Police arrested 31-year-old Anthony Palermo for trespassing inside the Post Office at 149 East 23rd Street last Saturday at 12:05 a.m. Palermo was allegedly inside the lobby of the post office, which was closed at the time. He couldn’t get out because all the doors were locked. He told police that he didn’t know which door he got in through and that he entered the post office accidentally. A postal inspection service inspector told police that they will not prosecute for federal charges but police could proceed with state trespassing charges.

Police arrested 21-year-old Micael Bekele, a psychiatric patient at Beth Israel, after he allegedly fractured a nurse’s wrist. Bekele was at the hospital at 9 Perlman Place for evaluation last Wednesday morning when he allegedly threw a chair at a nurse in charge of his care, causing her wrist to fracture.

Police arrested Jessica Darling, 29, after she allegedly robbed another woman on Madison Avenue and East 26th Street last Thursday at 4:29 a.m. Police said Darling approached a woman and asked for money and when the woman told her no, Darling allegedly reached behind her back into her waistband and demanded money in a threatening manner. The victim told police she believed Darling was reaching for a weapon.

Police arrested 36-year-old Jay Oren for criminal mischief at East 14th and Third Avenue last Tuesday at 12:17 a.m. Oren intentionally broke the rear right window on the passenger’s side of a cab, police said. The value of the property was approximately $250.

Twenty-one-year-old Starasia Allen and 36-year-old Celina Coleman were arrested for assault in front of 395 Third Avenue last Wednesday at 3:16 a.m. Allen allegedly punched Coleman in the head and stuck a comb in her ear, causing her some physical injury. Police said that Coleman also punched Allen in the head, causing a bump and bruising.

Police arrested 19-year-old James Charltown for weapons possession at 24 Union Square East last Wednesday at 12:53 p.m. Charltown was seen drinking peppermint schnapps out of a water bottle in the park and when police searched him, he was allegedly in possession of a gravity knife in his right front pocket.

Police arrested 61-year-old Gerald Russell for criminal trespassing inside the ATM area at 360 Park Avenue South last Thursday at 9:48 a.m. Russell was allegedly sleeping inside the bank without permission to do so.

Twenty-two-year-old Nicholas Phillips was arrested at 1 Union Square West last Tuesday at 6:45 a.m. Phillips was allegedly sleeping inside the park water fountain, which he got into by climbing over a four foot wall, against park rules and regulations.

Police arrested 32-year-olds Raymond King and Gregory Hood in the Union Square subway station last Saturday at 7 p.m. Hood and King were allegedly making “unreasonable noise” with a drumset inside the station.

Twenty-nine-year-old Jonathan McDuffie was arrested for assault in the BRC (Bowery Residents Committee) shelter at 127 West 25th Street last Friday at 8:08 p.m. McDuffie allegedly argued with the victim while he was playing video games and then punched him in the head and face. The punches caused a raised lump on his forehead.

Police arrested 44-year-old Michael Jones for forgery in front of 60 West 23rd Street last Tuesday at 2:42 p.m. An officer recognized Jones as a person wanted for a prior grand larceny in the 13th Precinct. When he was stopped, he was allegedly in possession of several credit cards that weren’t his.