Not Exactly Dressed to Kill,
Shabby Chick Robs Rich Dame
There’s nothing quite so useful to the cops as a crime victim’s accurate description of a perp. But such descriptions tend to lose their utility when they veer toward the subjective, as one woman’s did after her jewelry was stolen from her handbag in the ladies’ room at La Goulue, at 746 Madison Avenue, on March 26.
Rather than focus on common identifying characteristics such as her assailant’s height, weight, race and hair color, the best the victim-a 55-year-old East 61st Street resident-could come up with was to describe the perp as “underdressed for the restaurant.”
The complainant went on to explain that when she entered the ladies’ room to refresh her appearance, she removed a pair of $3,000 Bulgari silver-and-gold earrings and placed them in a pouch in her handbag, which also contained a $2,000 silver-and-gold Bulgari necklace. Then she began to brush her hair “with her head facing away from the handbag, leaving it unattended momentarily,” she told the police.
There was another woman in the bathroom: the female whose attire clearly didn’t measure up to the haute couture standards of the ladies who lunch at La Goulue. The suspect exited both the bathroom and the restaurant, apparently without pausing to chat with friends or acquaintances on the way out. It was only after she’d departed that the victim discovered the pouch missing from her pocketbook.
To Scream or
Not to Scream
The cops always tell you that the smartest way to react when you’re being mugged is not to resist. But a couple of recent incidents committed by the same perpetrator suggest that emitting a high-pitched scream, particularly if you’re a woman, may also be helpful.
In the first incident, which occurred at 6:10 p.m. on March 26, a 26-year-old woman was on her way home from work when she made eye contact with a young man at the corner of 64th Street and Third Avenue. She kept on going to her 65th Street apartment. But as she entered the vestibule of her building, she heard footsteps behind her, so she decided not to climb the stairs to her apartment.
Instead, she went to check her mailbox. A moment later, she felt an arm around her neck. Turning and screaming, she recognized the young man with whom she’d made eye contact on the street just minutes before. He put his finger to his lips to hush her, but this only made her scream louder and prompted a neighbor who lived on the first floor to come out.
With that, the perp fled the scene. But his victim was in hot pursuit as he ran eastbound on 65th Street and then northbound on First Avenue. At some point he stopped, turned around and demanded, “Why are you chasing me? I don’t have anything!” Then he shifted into overdrive and was last seen running westbound on 66th Street.
In another incident, which occurred approximately 65 minutes later, a 34-year-old woman told the police that as she was entering her York Avenue apartment house after walking her dog, a young man followed her inside and stated, “Can I tell you something? I have a gun and a knife. If you scream, I will kill you.”
It’s likely he wasn’t the most threatening of perps, because she decided to scream anyway. The aggressor fled westbound on 76th Street. His description-apparently a more precise one than the lady at La Goulue gave of her perp-was broadcast over the police radio, and the suspect, a 16-year-old boy, was apprehended at the corner of 77th Street and Lexington Avenue. A police source said the teenager confessed to both crimes, as well as a third robbery the same afternoon, for which details were unavailable.
If nobody knows why you’re demonstrating because they can’t understand you, is it worth going through the effort in the first place? That was the semi-existential question a group of approximately 25 male and female demonstrators faced on March 25 when they assembled in front of the Russian Federation Mission on East 67th Street at 5:30 p.m.
The group-by all accounts orderly to the point of being supine, despite the fact that their demonstration was unscheduled-held aloft signs printed in Russian and waved flags. When a police officer who responded to the scene asked the purpose of the gathering, no one in the group volunteered any information (possibly due to a language barrier, the cop confessed), apart from divulging that it happened to be Belarus’ Independence Day. This factoid also turns out to be the product of faulty communication. According to the Belarussian Embassy in Washington, D.C., that nation’s independence day falls on July 3, a mere 24 hours before our own.
“When the officer inquired further as to the purpose of the demonstration,” the police officer added, “the group gathered their belongings and departed the area.”
However, apparently more than a language barrier was preventing the demonstrators from successfully making their point. The first secretary of the mission, Vladimir Sterligov, who was present in the mission at the time, admitted to the cops that he also had no idea what the demonstration was all about.
Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.