Anthrax Fright Subsides, But Old Terrors Return
Things finally seem to be returning to normal, crimewise, on the Upper East Side, with bomb scares back to everyday levels, alleged anthrax-tainted letters all but vanished, and robberies returning to their preeminent place in the pantheon of felonies.
On Nov. 19, a 16-year-old boy was leaving an East 86th Street pool hall shortly after midnight-there are those who might wonder what a 16-year-old was doing hanging around a pool hall after midnight in the first place-when he was promptly mugged by a bandit wielding not a gun or even a knife, but a pair of “long-nose pliers,” according to the police.
The perp placed the menacing hardware against his victim’s stomach and growled, “Where are the drugs? Where’s your water? [sic] Give me money. I know you carry stacks,” the victim reported.
In fact, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. The youth, a Seventh Avenue and 122nd Street resident, said he turned over everything he had-but that amounted only to four quarters, seven dimes, one nickel, a Sony Walkman and a pack of Newports.
Perhaps it was because he did so poorly that the perp-rather than fleeing the area, as caution dictates after performing a holdup-allegedly robbed a second victim no more than a half block west on 86th Street. Meanwhile, the first victim called 911. When the police arrived, the teenager pointed out his assailant and stated, “He’s robbing another guy at the phone booths.”
The crook fled northbound on Lexington and eastbound on 87th Street before police in a patrol car finally brought him to justice after a brief struggle. The suspect, 27, hailed from West 93rd Street.
DKNY has always prided itself as the fashion label with its finger most firmly on the pulse of Manhattan. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that a couple of crooks visited the company’s 655 Madison Avenue store on Nov. 14 and pulled an eminently typical New York City heist.
One of the suspects was observed by a store employee at 4:55 p.m. helping himself to nine pairs of corduroy slacks valued at $715 from a store shelf. When the sales associate attempted to stop the crook, he received a punch in the stomach for his efforts.
The thief then continued on his way out the front door, where an accomplice awaited him in just the sort of streetwise Chevy Suburban one might spot in a hip, grainy DKNY ad. The accomplice, seeing his buddy in need of reinforcement, stepped toward the store worker, apparently in a threatening manner, and then the two perps fled northbound on Madison Avenue in their wheels. However, they didn’t get very far.
They were apprehended at the southwest corner of 80th Street and Madison, where a quintessentially New York “show-up” was conducted by the police, and the crooks, 42- and 33-year-old Bronx residents, were positively identified by their victim.
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Cell phones, it turns out, are one of those items, sort of like umbrellas, where possession is nine-tenths of the law. An East 77th Street resident told the police that she left her cell phone in a Tel-Aviv car-service limo at 6:12 p.m. on Nov. 16. After exiting the vehicle, she realized she’d left her phone behind. Besides filing a crime report at the 19th Precinct, she also called Sprint, her service provider, and was informed by an operator that between the time she forgot her phone in the limo and 11 p.m. that evening, it was used 18 times.
While it’s unknown who the speed-dialing culprit is, clues point toward a Tel-Aviv employee. The victim told the police that her outgoing voice-mail message had been changed to a greeting in Hebrew.
In another cell-phone caper on Nov. 14, an F.B.I. agent reported that a Nextel phone was stolen from her car, a government vehicle, parked at 91st Street and Lexington Avenue. When she returned to the car, a 1996 Chevy Lumina, at 4 p.m. she discovered the driver’s side window broken and the device missing.
One might think the perp would have simply placed, say, 15 calls in quick succession, as the fellow above did, before the account was shut down. But this guy believed there was money to be made. He called the victim at home and tried to sell the phone back to her. It couldn’t be learned whether she accepted or declined. However, she did report the crime to the NYPD, which was apparently scrambling one of its evidence-collection teams to dust the vehicle for prints.