The Crime Blotter

Burglar Lends New Meaning To the Term ‘Break-In’

Sometimes the burglars beat the boys-“the boys” being the intrepid detectives of the 19th Precinct’s detective squad-even when the perp leaves behind a calling card, as one literally did on Feb. 7.

The suspect, a 45-year-old Bronx man, had discovered a rather novel way of breaking into apartments. “He’d find a weak spot in a wall,” explained Detective Thomas DiDomenico, kick a hole through it, “and crawl in there and steal stuff.”

The crook did just that to an apartment at 1396 Third Avenue, making off with a gold watch and a chain. After completing the job, he proceeded to another apartment at 1462 First Avenue, where he attempted to repeat his handiwork.

“That’s where he actually got caught,” Detective DiDomenico explained. A tenant spotted a hole in the hallway, thought it odd and called the super. The super, who also owns a diner on the ground floor of the building, came upstairs with one of his dishwashers and confronted the suspect, who was still in the apartment.

“The super tried to hold [the suspect] for the police, but he got away,” the detective said. However, the perp-who apparently wasn’t unacquainted with the penal system-left behind an important piece of evidence: his inmate ID.

Detective DiDomenico used the ID to trace the perp. He also discovered the alleged thief’s next date with his parole officer-Feb. 12. The detective was waiting for the suspect when he arrived for his meeting and promptly arrested him.

One might think this would be an open-and-shut case. Not so. The dishwasher apparently has something of a phobia when it comes to police stations; Detective DiDomenico speculates that it may have something to do with his legal status. “He did his civic duty,” the detective stated generously. “He did more than most people would.”

The building super also refused to come to the station. “He’s a busy man,” Detective DiDomenico said.

Thus, the District Attorney’s office declined to pursue the case. All is not lost, however; the detective is waiting to see whether the perp left behind more than his inmate ID-some fingerprints, perhaps. “If we get notified by the Latent Print Unit that his prints were in the apartment, I’ll arrest him,” Detective DiDomenico said.

Service With a Smile

“Total customer satisfaction” became something of a retail mantra during the 80’s and 90’s, and it remains so today-but one sales associate may have gone too far serving a customer who visited the Ann Taylor store at 645 Madison Avenue on Feb. 8.

A security guard watched as the saleswoman gathered clothes for a customer-with whom her relationship appeared to be not strictly professional-and escorted her to a fitting room to try on the garments.

From there, both the saleswoman and the “customer” proceeded to a cash register, where the Ann Taylor employee folded, wrapped and placed the items in a shopping bag, as she would for any other patron. However, she extended the ultimate courtesy to her friend, a 25-year-old Bronx resident, requesting neither the young woman’s cash nor credit card.

As both went to the elevator and pressed the down button, the security guard approached them. The Ann Taylor employee resigned on the spot, fleeing in an unknown direction. Her accomplice, however, was apprehended with all the merchandise.

Stroller Woes

Among the many issues that confront the urban mother is what to do with her baby’s stroller when she visits a restaurant. Leaving it outside on the street, of course, is out of the question; chances are she’ll spot it for sale on the next corner, or see it being used to transport a variety of objects that most likely does not include a small child.

The solution, it would seem, is to leave it just inside the door of your favorite eatery. But as one mother discovered last month, that doesn’t always work either. The woman was visiting Le Pain Quotidian-among the more gemutlich of bakeries-when she decided that it wouldn’t be imprudent to park her child’s $200 Concorde MacLaren X267 stroller in the vestibule. She also felt sufficiently at home in the shop (which sells some of the tastiest baguettes in town and has a restaurant) to leave her Motorola StarTac cell phone in the stroller.

When the woman was ready to depart, she discovered both the stroller and the cell phone missing. Fortunately, she didn’t have far to go to get home: She lives just one block away from the Madison Avenue establishment.