Crime Blotter

Missing Minks Make Upper East Side Dames Mad as Heck

We may be seeing the effects of global warming this balmy winter. But that doesn’t mean that mink is any less popular than it used to be, as a couple of recent incidents seem to suggest. On Feb. 28, an East 76th Street resident filed a grand-larceny report against her former roommate. She told the police that before moving out, the 38-year-old perp helped herself to some CD’s and several items of clothing, including an $8,000 mink swing coat. The victim is eager to prosecute.

In another fur caper, Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and Vassar College graduate, is also missing her mink. It vanished from her Park Avenue apartment somewhere around Feb. 26.

Ms. McCaughey informed the police that the garment-a $7,000, full-length black mink coat-was removed from her bedroom closet. She said that one of her maids had entered her apartment on Feb. 28 and discovered the back service door open. However, there were no signs of forced entry. The police searched the area, performing a “vertical”-meaning they visited the apartments above and below Ms. McCaughey’s home in search of information or a possible time of the crime’s occurrence-but with negative results.

Parking Problems

There are all sorts of ways to express your displeasure with parking tickets beside simply checking the “not guilty” box on the back of the summons and showing up in court. Methods of protest include ripping up the ticket in front of the traffic-enforcement officer who had the temerity to issue it, taking a swing at him or her (in these incidents, psychopathic motorists display precious little chivalry), spitting, or simply hitting the gas and driving off.

But on the afternoon of March 1, a fellow who’d been issued a summons for double-parking his black Lincoln on 79th Street at Third Avenue decided to punish the ticket-issuing cop by destroying the fruits of his labor for the entire day. Rather than simply telling the officer what he could do with the ticket he’d just written up, the agitated perp walked over to the cop, pushed him and snatched 34 summonses out of his left hand.

He promptly returned to his car and fled northbound on Third Avenue, but not before the officer managed to get his assailant’s license-plate number. The car was registered to a gentleman (in the loosest sense of the term) from Tappan, N.Y.

An hour or so later, somebody (could it have been the remorseful suspect?) dropped off the stolen summonses at the 34th Precinct in Washington Heights. The man who made the delivery stated that he’d found them, and then he left the station house before anyone could ID him.

Time Warp

There are at least two things that distinguish the native New Yorker from the arriviste . One of them is having a sixth sense when it comes to avoiding dog doo on the sidewalks. The other, unsociable though it might seem, is knowing never to tell the time to strangers on the street when they ask-especially if you suspect them of packing a concealed weapon.

Unfortunately, on March 2, one man didn’t appreciate the risk involved in answering such a seemingly innocent request. At 10:40 p.m., a teenager approached him at 80th Street and Lexington Avenue and asked him the time as he was getting out of his car. The victim, a 43-year-old Valley Stream, N.Y., resident, responded with the information-and the next thing he knew, he was being attacked by three perpetrators. They hit him in the head, knocking him to the ground, and one displayed a small silver handgun.

When the victim was on the ground, his assailants kept kicking and punching him, causing a laceration to the back of his head and to his lip. The man told the cops that when he got up, he found that his keys, a wallet containing $600 and his $350 Samsung cell phone had been taken (though not, apparently, his watch)-and he also saw his car, a 1997 Ford Expedition, speeding away northbound on Third Avenue.

One of the perps, a 15-year-old resident of 2070 Third Avenue, was apprehended in the vehicle at 117th Street and Second Avenue and charged with robbery.

Bus Chase

Pickpockets are usually so smooth that by the time you realize your wallet is missing, it’s too late to do anything about it except cancel your credit cards. Not so for a 38-year-old Brooklyn woman on the westbound M66 cross-town bus on Feb. 15.

She’d just gotten off the bus at Lexington Avenue and 66th Street at 10:20 p.m. when she realized that her black leather wallet, containing $24 and a couple of credit cards, was missing. Thinking quickly, she hailed a cab and caught up with the bus at Madison Avenue and 67th Street.

The bus driver informed the woman that a man had found the wallet on the floor and said he’d return it to her. Just then, the victim spotted the alleged good Samaritan across the street and yelled out to him. The driver yelled as well. But the suspect-surprisingly speedy given that he was described as weighing 300 pounds, and not nearly as civic-minded as he’d led the driver to believe-ran westbound on 68th Street towards parts unknown. The cops canvassed the area, with negative results.

Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at Crime Blotter