Masters of the Universe Meddle In, Mess Up Investigation Into Thefts at 740 Park

The co-op board has taken matters into its own hands.

The co-op board has taken matters into its own hands, for better and quite possibly worse.

It can be hard to convince the extremely wealthy that they don’t know best. After all, they’ve managed to build/retain/spend a fortune and thereby know a lot of things that other people do not know. Things like who the best interior designers are, where to summer and how to catch a thief. Or at least, the blue-bloods of 740 Park Avenue think they know how to catch a thief, according to the New York Post. Police tell the tabloid that residents’ efforts to halt the wave of thefts which recently hit the building have been “sabotaging” the investigation.

When word of the thefts got out residents at the co-op—arguably the best of New York’s “good buildings”—may have been understandably peeved. Not least of all because of the embarrassing murkiness surrounding the value of stolen goods (the initial number reported by the Post was $100,000, then quickly shot up to $250,000) given that the buildings’ residents were so rich that it was initially unclear how many pricey watches and jewel-encrusted bibelots may have been snagged without their having realized it. (A similar fate befell real estate mogul Tamir Sapir, who failed to register that $200,000 worth of antique silver champagne buckets had been stolen from his Long Island mansion until Sotheby’s informed him that someone else was trying to sell them at auction.) Now the board of the billionaire-filled co-op has apparently decided to take matters into its own hands.

“They are firing these employees they think are doing these burglaries,” a source told the Post. “By the time detectives catch up with these workers, they’ve already lawyered up. You can’t make a case against them.”

If that’s true, we’re eagerly awaiting the wrongful termination lawsuits that are certain to be filed in the near future. The board has also allegedly hired its own private investigators, whose work sometimes interferes with the NYPD. So far, the board has remained mum on the subject, with building manager Brown Harris Stevens’ understated last word on the subject being that it was looking into the matter.

The Post reports that victims include June Dyson, David and Danielle Ganek, Carly and Israel Englander, and in a kind of karmic come-uppance, Lauren and Ezra Merkin—the last of whom is not unfamiliar with crime himself (of the white-collar variety, that is). Mr. Merkin, a former Madoff associate, agreed to a $405 million settlement with New York State for directing money to the financial fraudster’s fund.

Could the thief be a 21st century Robin Hood? Perhaps the Pink Panthers have infiltrated the esteemed building? In any event, we hope that the board’s efforts to keep things hush-hush don’t stop us from learning the identity of the jewel thief.