Botched at Barneys Card Scam: Crooks Sign Away $3,000 in Loot

If you’re going to use a stolen credit card to pay for your purchases, as did a couple of suspects at Barneys recently, you should at least put a little effort into the ruse. That doesn’t mean you have to know your victim’s maiden name or alma mater, but you should at least be able to sign his or her correct name on the dotted line.

That lack of homework seems to be the reason the thieves got caught when they visited the high-end department store at around 7:30 p.m. on April 18 and helped themselves to approximately $3,000 worth of clothes on the fourth floor.

They then proceeded to a cashier, to whom they presented the purloined plastic. But instead of signing the name on the credit card, one of the suspects signed a different name, apparently attracting the attention not only of the cashier but also of a store detective.

The crook who signed the credit-card receipt handed off the shopping bag full of goodies to his colleague, and then both perps proceeded to the main floor with their boodle-sweaters in a variety of different styles and fabrics-with the gumshoe in tow. There they split up, perhaps thinking the maneuver would help them confound the heat, or at least allow one of them to make a clean getaway. What they apparently failed to consider is that Barneys has more than one security person on its payroll.

When the perp with the shopping bag tried to flee through the 60th Street exit, he was apprehended by the store detective who’d been following them. Meanwhile, the crook’s accomplice was captured by other security personnel as he attempted to depart through the 61st Street exit. Both men-one 25, the other 28-were charged with grand larceny.

Up for Grabs

Honesty isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, especially when your reverence for the truth may result in jail time, as was the case for one thief on April 17. Around 9 p.m. that evening, her victim, an East 74th Street resident, had just returned home from shopping. After putting her packages down in front of her apartment door, she returned to the lobby to pick up her mail. However, when she returned to her apartment, the packages were gone, and the woman heard suspicious footsteps descending the stairs.

“Who took my packages?” she yelled.

Rather than make a run for it, the thief, a 47-year-old female, actually came back up the stairs with an explanation-more or less. “You shouldn’t leave things in the hallway,” she scolded. The woman tried to persuade her victim that she’d merely been taking the property for safekeeping. However, the victim wasn’t buying it. She reported the suspect to the police, who charged the perp with petty larceny.

Team Eli

If you’re wondering what Eli Zabar does with the profits from his $12-a-pound coffee and $55-a-pound smoked salmon, it’s not going straight into his pockets-at least not all of it. Instead, he’s plowing a portion of the proceeds back into his business, specifically into high-performance bicycles to spirit his deliverymen to their varied destinations.

At least that seems to be the conclusion one could draw after a bike was stolen from outside the foodie haven at 1411 Third Avenue on April 23. One of Eli’s messengers left his bike parked on the sidewalk; when he went to retrieve it at 8:30 p.m., it was gone.

The bike-apparently not one of these fenderless wonders with bent handlebars and a plastic bag protecting the seat, but rather a vehicle of which even Lance Armstrong might be proud-was valued at a whopping $900 (which, come to think of it, isn’t all that unusual if your frame of reference is $20-a-pound Parmesan). Its make and model were not provided.

Sneaker Perps

Gangs, it turns out, don’t just do stickups, spray graffiti and tangle with rival gangs. They also go shopping-or rather shoplifting-together. On April 24, one such team of tumblers visited the Modell’s at 1535 Third Avenue. New sneakers for the whole gang-six males in their 30′s-seemed to be on the agenda. However, as they left the sporting-goods store, they were caught with several bags of stolen footwear by a security guard.

When the guard confronted them, one of the perps punched him in the face while another pulled a knife and slashed his shirt. It was apparently at this point that they also identified themselves as members of the Folk Gang, who are known to attach themselves to their favorite sports teams and certain clothing lines-in this case, New Balance sneakers. After tangling with the intrepid Modell’s employee, they managed to flee with seven pairs of sneakers valued at $50 a pair, and one pair worth $40.