Perhaps nothing beats the garages of the Upper East Side as the quintessential metaphor for American wealth, bristling as they are with their monthly customers’ Mercedes, Porsches and Hummers. Walking past such an establishment, the experience is more akin to peeking inside a rich man’s safe-deposit box than getting a glance into a mere parking garage.
It would be hard not to feel a twinge of envy-especially if one is among the hoi polloi forced not only to drive, say, a pre-owned Hyundai, but also to park on the street.
In any case, one thing such facilities decidedly do not suggest is that any of the vehicles residing within are for sale. So it probably came as something of a surprise when two males drove a red 1991 Toyota Camry into an East 81st Street garage at 7:50 p.m. on Dec. 5 and inquired about price tags for the cars.
When the attendant informed them that there was a proud owner attached to each and every car, the visitors politely asked whether they might make a U-turn to leave. But that’s where their good manners ended. One of the perps jumped out of the Toyota brandishing a silver revolver. And in case that wasn’t enough to gain the garage worker’s cooperation, the gunman put the weapon to his victim’s head and asked him whether he wanted to die. The attendant, unsurprisingly, said no and invited them to take whatever they wanted, upon which the perps demanded the keys to the safe. The employee, however, said that he didn’t have them.
As so often happens in such cases-rather unfairly, it seems-the perps also forced the worker to empty his own pockets, removing his house keys, driver’s license, credit cards and $140 in cash. Then they told him to get in a corner and helped themselves to a 2002 red Porsche Boxster. With one of them in the Toyota and the other at the wheel of the Porsche, the suspects fled in an unknown direction. An NYPD evidence-collection team responded to the scene.
At around 1:05 a.m. on Dec. 10, police officers responded to the private East 92nd Street residence of Munir Akram, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.N. Upon their arrival, Mr. Akram, 57, informed the cops that his girlfriend, who was visiting from Belgium, had become rather aggressive after a few drinks.
In the course of attempting to restrain her, he added, she’d fallen to the floor, sustaining minor abrasions to both knees. The victim, 35, who was examined by E.M.S., confirmed the story but refused medical attention. The ambassador apparently offered to send her to a hotel, but-perhaps in a sign of rapprochement-she declined the offer and said she’d stay in the maid’s room instead. The cops checked and confirmed that the ambassador enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
While the paranoid imagination can conjure up an infinite number of things that could go wrong during surgery, one of the things you sort of take for granted is that nobody’s going to tamper with your saline solution.
Apparently, though, this is a false sense of security, if a Dec. 7 incident at the Hospital for Special Surgery is any indication.
The police responded to the hospital, at 535 East 70th Street, at 6:42 p.m., and were informed by the director of security that an anesthesiologist preparing for surgery in operating room No. 3 that morning had discovered that five 1,000-milliliter bags of something called “Lactated Ringer’s Injection” saline solution had been tampered with.
To be more precise, the bags had been punctured-possibly with a hypodermic needle-causing the sterilized solution to become contaminated. It wasn’t possible to determine whether any substance had been injected into the bags. However, they’d been stored inside an unlocked drawer in the O.R., and an unwrapped hypodermic needle was found alongside them. “The hospital’s security personnel could not explain why the drawer was unlocked,” the police said.
The cops took both the bags and the hypodermic into custody for a forensic exam to determine whether there was any foreign substance present. Also on the scene were the NYPD Emergency Service Unit, which secured the contaminated bags for transport to a laboratory; an evidence collection team from Patrol Borough Manhattan North; and detectives from the 19th Precinct detective squad, which is investigating the incident. Fortunately, none of the affected solution had been administered to the patient is the O.R.
There are those cynics who believe that all relationships boil down not to sex, but to money. Rarely has that theory been so brazenly proven correct as it was on Dec. 14: The victim, a resident of Toronto, Canada, reported that her pocket had been picked (though apparently not while it was attached to her person) by a 57-year-old man she had met through a personal ad.
The 44-year-old Canadian added that she was staying overnight at his 66th Street address when she discovered her property missing. It included $257 in American and $75 in Canadian dollars. Her boyfriend-though one uses the term advisedly-was the only person who had access to her wallet and her luggage, where her money was stashed, she said. Adding to her suspicions, he’d asked her for cash earlier, but she’d turned him down.
Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.