Crime Blotter

Perp Has Unique Interpretation Of ‘Reuse, Renew, Recycle’

It’s child’s play to lock up a crook after you catch him in the process of committing a crime. (Though I wouldn’t recommend trying it without a badge, a gun, some heavy-duty backup and a handsome disability pension.) The greater challenge is to pick the thieves out of a sea of innocents on the street and tail them until they do break the law.

Among such specialists, few are better at it than Perry Cantor, a veteran 19th Precinct police officer. “He’s been out there for a while,” observed a fellow cop. “He knows who’s who-by name.”

Officer Cantor was patrolling First Avenue around 68th Street at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 4 when he spotted a fellow-whether the cop was familiar with the perp’s name, Social Security number and rap sheet is unknown-removing a brown paper shopping bag from the garbage. Something told the officer that the man was not simply one of the city’s recycling fanatics, so he followed him.

Sure enough, the suspect continued his suspicious behavior as he peered into various stores and commercial trucks. Eventually, he entered the Eckerd drug store at 1299 Second Avenue, and pretty soon the mystery was solved regarding his intentions for the shopping bag.

The perp used the accessory to help himself to $208.30 worth of fragrant stocking stuffers, in particular three Nautica perfume sets valued at $19.99 each; three Tommy perfume sets worth $29.99 each; and one Halston and one Wings perfume set, both selling for $19.99 a piece.

After the suspect deposited the goods in the shopping bag and left the store without paying, Officer Kantor introduced himself and arrested the man for petty larceny.

New Kind of Threat

Typically, perps threaten to kill their targets. But on Nov. 24, one creative crook came up with a possibly even more compelling scenario to whip a store clerk into line. It happened at the Big Drop clothing store at 1321 Third Avenue, shortly before 8 p.m.

Two suspects entered the shop and went directly to the checkout counter, where one of the robbers removed an envelope containing $2,890 from under the counter while the other pressed something hard-what their victim believed to be a gun-against the right side of his body.

Rather than saying “One false move and you die,” or anything so clichéd, the perp stated, “If you move, you’ll be paralyzed for the rest of your life.”

The novelty of the threat obviously worked, because the crooks got away with the money. The employee believes the villains may have had inside information, so familiar were they with the store layout and location of the hidden cash. He also described both of his assailants-one of whom was wearing Harley-Davidson sunglasses-as muscular. A canvass of the area yielded negative results, and the case remains under investigation by the 19th Precinct detective squad.

Fauchon Follies

Big business traditionally assigns security guards to terminated executives to make sure they don’t walk away with company secrets when they’re cleaning out their desks. Perhaps retailers should follow their lead to prevent disgruntled sales associates from sticking their hand in the till after they’ve been banished from the premises.

That, at least, may be what they’re thinking at Fauchon, the high-end French patisserie-or is it boulangerie? Or charcuterie? Or all of the above?-after a Nov. 22 incident.

A store manager visited the 1000 Madison Avenue location around 3:30 p.m., apparently to terminate one of their employees. However, before doing so she was distracted by a customer (Fauchon customers being rather needy, especially around the holidays). While she was thus engaged, the imperiled employee apparently became aware of her intentions.

Knowing that he was about to take a severe pay cut, the employee allegedly helped himself to $1,427 from the cash register. Then he gathered his belongings and left forever.

It was only at closing time that the theft became known-a discovery confirmed by the store’s video camera, which supposedly shows the perp helping himself to the almond-croissant (of which Fauchon sells the city’s most delicious) and fruit-glacé profits. As of Dec. 8, efforts to contact the terminated worker had been unsuccessful.

Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at rgard135@aol.com.