Lacking in Diplomatic Skills, Thief Failed His Mission

The second-story man had placed additional stolen property by a window inside the location, leading police to believe he’d been interrupted.

For some burglars, breaking into an apartment building isn’t enough. They need more of a challenge-say a diplomatic mission bristling with fences and alarms and closed-circuit TV cameras. That’s what happened on April 20, when a Brooklyn burglar was caught around 4 p.m. as he tried to make his escape from the Indonesian Mission at 5 East 68th Street.

The crook was apprehended outside a consulate employee’s bedroom window, apparently just after he’d exited the location with the employee’s cigarette lighter in his pocket. He was spotted as he tried to climb the fence that surrounds the building and break for freedom. The diplomatic employee held the thief until the police arrived.

After the cops showed up, they discovered that the second-story man had placed additional stolen property by a window inside the location, leading them to believe that he’d been interrupted during the commission of his crime. “The basement window was open, and electronics equipment was stacked inside,” explained a detective. “He was probably in the middle of loading the stuff out.”

The suspect was placed under arrest and carted off to the 19th Precinct. The police don’t believe he’s the same crook who visited a French diplomat’s house, just down the block at 45 East 68th Street, on April 13.

On that occasion, a thief tried to gain access to the first-floor residence of the Secretary General of France around 6 p.m. The wife of the Secretary General told the police that somebody opened her locked door by unknown means and attempted to enter the apartment. Fortunately, a chain across the door stopped him, and the intruder fled when the Secretary General’s wife approached the door to see who was there.

Both an NYPD evidence-collection team and a detective from the Police Department’s Intelligence Division responded to the scene.

“That’s purely coincidental,” said a police source, referring to the separate break-ins at two residences within spitting distance of each other. “We have so many burglaries now. We’ve locked up four or five big-time burglars, and the numbers don’t seem to be coming down. It’s ridiculous-as soon as we get one in, another one” gets out.

The Mugger

Crooks try all kinds of tricks to gain a tactical advantage over their prey-knives, guns and fists come immediately to mind-but World Wrestling Federation moves may be something new.

At 5:30 p.m. on April 26, an unknown perp approached a 79-year-old 1185 Park Avenue resident from behind on Park Avenue and 93rd Street. Rather than sticking a gun in his back or simply threatening him, the villain lifted the septuagenarian off the ground and dropped him. The thief then removed his victim’s wallet from his back pocket and fled eastbound on 93rd Street and then northbound on Lexington Avenue.

A good Samaritan chased the crook, but he got away. Neither the victim, who suffered a laceration to the head, nor a second witness were able to identify the robber from NYPD mug shots.

Pet Lover

While this column roundly condemns shoplifters, it does so with perhaps slightly less enthusiasm than normal in the case of a thief found absconding with a plethora of pet products from the Petco store at 147 East 86th Street on April 5. Perhaps it’s the $200 vet bill The Crime Blotter was recently socked with, half of which went to such pet-care products as Frontline anti-flea-and-tick medication and chewies meant to prevent heartworm. (Does such a disease really exist?)

In any case, the thief was observed by a store employee at 5 p.m. helping himself to a spectrum of dog-grooming aids, including a $32.97 nail trimmer, a $23.97 fine comb, a second nail trimmer valued at $26.97 and a shedding comb worth $19.98.

Apparently the crook also had fish. His booty included something called an AquaClear PowerHead (at $61.98, his most expensive item); a Tetra Tec Air Pump 200 ($43.99) and a ProGold air pump ($55.99). His grand total came to $265.

The store employee observed the suspect, a 47-year-old Bronx man, remove the first four items off the sales rack, place them in his socks and attempt to leave the store. When he was stopped, the other items were discovered in a plastic bag he was carrying.

Lock and Load

One might think a crook could find a safer place to steal from than Beretta, the upscale arms merchant at 718 Madison, considering the arsenal of weapons at the staff’s disposal. However, that didn’t prevent one intruder from making off with a $5,000 ink drawing by John Groth of Ernest Hemingway shooting a charging buffalo.

A store employee told the police that the work, on loan to Beretta, was hanging in a hallway above the store when it was last seen. An NYPD fingerprint team responded to the location. Beretta declined to comment on the theft.

Call Me Crazy

Based on the items typically confiscated from them when they’re caught, more shoplifters seem to steal with an eye toward the resale market rather than for personal use. However a 17-year-old arrested at the Duane Reade drug store at 773 Lexington Avenue on April 20 definitely seemed to be shopping for himself. The store’s manager observed the suspect helping himself to a bottle of cologne spray and, perhaps hoping the scent would render him irresistible, six EPT pregnancy-test kits. He was promptly apprehended after placing his selections in a Viacom shopping bag.

The thief, sporting sunglasses, a gray sweatshirt and black jeans, gave his age as 17. He provided the cops with a Brooklyn address and requested that they refer to him as “Crazy Blood.”