The Revolution Begins— On the Upper East Side!

Chalk one up for the evildoers: A man told the police that he was walking past 203 East 89th Street at 7:50 p.m. on Jan. 1 when he spotted a political protest in progress. A male, described as approximately 18 years old, 5-foot-8, 120 pounds and with short black hair, was scrawling “Bush sucks cock” on the sidewalk and on a nearby trap door.

Perhaps the suspect felt free to slur the President because he was in a solidly Democratic (or at least moderately Republican) stronghold. Or perhaps because the medium he used to air his grievances against the government was easily removed with soap and water: Instead of employing magic markers or a can of spray paint, he used shaving cream to challenge the commander in chief’s authority to wage war and tap American citizens. He fled westbound on 89th Street.

The Starbucks Insider

Most of us have probably balked at the price of Starbucks coffee at one time or another—but rarely as emphatically as the customer who visited the chain’s 400 East 90th Street location on Dec. 26.

The suspect, described as a 45-year-old male, entered the café at 6:45 a.m. and ordered a grande vanilla latte. When it came time to pay and the barista told him the cost of the concoction—$4.28—he responded, “I have no money right now. My friend is coming from the car to pay for my drink.”

After a few more minutes, during which the perp was presumably consuming his caffeine, he announced a stickup, stating, “This is a robbery twice.” It was hard to deduce from the police report what his precise meaning was; however, he may have been suggesting that the price that Starbucks charges for a grande vanilla latte qualified as the first crime of the morning, while the firearm he was removing from his right front pants pocket constituted the second.

“I promise that nothing will happen to you if you follow the procedures,” he went on in that respectful way common to Starbucks staff and customers alike. “If you don’t follow them, someone is going to come in and it will be a problem.”

His female server and victim, a 21-year Avenue D resident, placed $100 on the counter, and the suspect fled on foot southbound on First Avenue after putting his gun back in his pants pocket. There’s some thought that the robber may be either a former Starbucks employee or at least a frequent customer, because he used the word “tills” to describe the cash registers. “Till” is the word Starbucks insiders use to refer to the machines.

Cheeseburger in Purgatory

In another assault on a beloved local institution, the Soupburg at 1095 Lexington Avenue was robbed on Dec. 28. The incident occurred after two males entered the location, famous for its tasty, moist, unfussy burgers, at 1 p.m. While one of the suspects distracted the counterman by asking for change for a dollar, his accomplice removed $240 from the cash register. However, they didn’t fool the manager, who got into a fight with the thieves outside the restaurant, suffering a swollen leg and back pain as a result.

Nonetheless, his heroism didn’t go unrewarded: He managed to detain the crooks—one 52, the other 54—until the cops arrived, arrested them for robbery and recovered the stolen money.

Agnes Free

Is it just my imagination, or does the average age of criminals seem to be going up? Crime is presumed to be a young man’s (or young woman’s) game, and probably for good reason—they’re more likely to be able to outrun their victims, to say nothing of the police.

But might the forces causing the elderly to return to work—depleted pensions and the high cost of prescription drugs among them—also be persuading crooks to punch in long after they should be enjoying retirement? A Jan. 2 incident exposed the pitfalls when the middle-aged pursue a life of crime.

At 3 p.m. a 60-year-old man entered Agnes b., the simple but chic French clothing shop at 1063 Madison Avenue—the Gap on Gauloise, as it were—and looked around. Which is a perfectly logical thing to do, because the store’s aesthetic is so minimal that it takes a moment or two to understand what the fuss is all about.

However, this customer wasn’t trying to decide whether his favorite pullover looked better in tomato or olive; he was casing the joint. As a sales clerk approached and offered her assistance, he explained that he was just looking around, then helped himself to four sweaters valued at $1,870 (minimalism doesn’t come cheap) and fled in an eastbound direction.

But, as I said, sixtysomethings tend to forget that they’re no longer in their 20’s, and the perp was apprehended by two Good Samaritans at the corner of 82nd Street and Lexington Avenue. The Agnes b. employee who had assisted him was brought to the location and positively identified him as the thief.

Despite the perp’s advanced age (or perhaps because of it), he wasn’t unfamiliar to the cops. “The guy is a menace,” stated Inspector James Rogers, the 19th Precinct’s commanding officer. “He’s a career criminal.”