Crime Blotter

This Rambunctious Reveler

While characteristically rowdy, this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration-or at least the after-hours part of it, much of which unfolds in the bars along First and Second avenues-was rather subdued. The cops attributed the abundance of good behavior less to the war and terrorism jitters (which might, understandably, cast a somber pall over the festivities) than the fact that the holiday fell on a Monday.

“People had to go to work the next day,” one cop explained logically.

Another possible reason for the air of relative civility that reigned was that Deputy Inspector James Rodgers, the 19th Precinct’s commanding officer, recently invited the Upper East Side’s bar owners to a summit conference, where he tried to enlist their cooperation in persuading patrons to remain inside their establishments while they raised a glass to the Irish, rather than spill out into the street and create a public nuisance. The appeal seems to have worked.

“The bars hired extra security and bouncers,” explained Detective Stephen Petrillo, the 19th Precinct’s community-affairs officer.

One of the few incidents that did mar the standing of this year’s festivities occurred when a man in his early 20’s tossed a bottle at an NYPD field command post, a sort of mobile office, located between 83rd and 84th streets on Second Avenue. But even in that case, the projectile wasn’t a beer bottle but a bottle of Sprite-though the perp had apparently been drinking previously.

“He said he’d walked out of a bar and had an argument with his girlfriend,” Detective Petrillo said. “In frustration, he threw his bottle at the field command post. He was immediately detained.”

Since the New York penal code doesn’t list stupidity as a punishable offense, the suspect was issued a summons for disorderly conduct.

Very Temporary Job

On March 4, the owner of a York Avenue Chinese restaurant, Gourmet Wok, visited the 19th Precinct to report that one of her deliverymen-who had worked for her all of one day-had made a delivery the previous evening and never returned. She seemed less worried about his welfare than the fact that he had vanished with $40.45-the amount for the food that he had delivered around 7:30 p.m. to an 80 East End Avenue address.

What makes this crime noteworthy isn’t merely that it transpired, but that it isn’t much more commonplace. After all, the job of Chinese-restaurant delivery man isn’t the most lucrative; nor is it probably very high in the pantheon of professions when it comes to career satisfaction. The owner added that when she attempted to contact the employee on his cell phone, she kept getting his voice mail. He also (perhaps predictably) didn’t show up for work the next day.

If the cops were interested in tracking him down, the lady added, she thought they might start at the Lower East Side Chinese-American employment agency through which she’d hired him in the first place.

No Syntax? No Problem

A lack of proper syntax has never stood in the way of a bank robber who’s intent on making a score, as a March 3 incident indicated. The bandit visited the Chase Manhattan Bank at 35 East 72nd Street around 3:15 p.m. and passed the teller a note that suggested our educational system should perhaps be held to higher standards.

The note read: “In $100 bills or the lady at the desk will be shot dead.” He was apparently referring to a customer-service representative. “I have .38. Will it you stall they die (10 seconds what you have.)” Though no weapon was displayed and the perp should’ve been ashamed of his grammar, the note did the trick. The teller handed over $5,372, and the suspect fled westbound on 72nd Street. The police canvassed the area, with negative results.

Double Whammy

You know it’s not your day when you get arrested simultaneously for two separate robberies. That’s what happened to a couple of crooks on Feb. 28. Their first victim, a 27-year-old Hispanic gentleman, told the police, who responded to the East 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue subway station shortly after midnight, that he’d just been assaulted by two perps, one of whom simulated a gun. The man reported that they had told him to hand over his property, then proceeded to rifle through his jacket pockets.

The cops called for back-up, canvassed the station, spotted the perps and placed them under arrest without incident. As they did, they were approached by a second person, a 24-year-old Hispanic man, who told them that he, too, had been mugged by the same individuals employing the same M.O. Nothing was taken from either man, and no weapon was found on the thieves, though the arrest wasn’t a total bust: The cops did recover two small bags of marijuana from one of the perps incidental to their arrest for robbery.

Teller ID’s Empty Suit

Sometimes, the breaks go against the cops-especially lately when it comes to bank robberies, of which the city has seen its fair share. But sometimes they do catch a piece of luck.

Good fortune was working in the cops’ favor on March 8, when a male-described as 30 years old, six feet tall and weighing 160 pounds-robbed the GreenPoint Bank at 1432 Second Avenue shortly after 3 p.m.

The suspect, who was sporting large black glasses, entered the bank and handed a teller a note. All she can remember are the words, “I have … “, but one can assume that what came next was some claim of a lethal weapon-especially since the note persuaded her to fork over $1,200. The perp fled the scene, hailed a cab at 79th Street and First Avenue, and told the driver to take him downtown.

You may wonder how the cops came across this tender morsel of information concerning the perp’s destination, particularly since he wasn’t apprehended. It was a case of unlikely coincidence: After the cabby delivered his passenger (who he noted had trouble walking and may have suffered some sort of injury to his right knee) to 20th Street and Second Avenue, he then picked up another fare, who told him to take her to almost the precise location where he’d picked up his previous passenger.

Or, as one cop put it succinctly, “The coincidence was the lady [unknowingly] wanted to go to the scene of the crime.”

In the cab, the unidentified female passenger found a pile of discarded clothes and informed her driver. When they arrived back on the Upper East Side, the cabbie saw all the police activity around the bank, apparently put two and two together, and informed the cops.

They brought the teller over to the cab, where she positively identified the clothes as those the bank robber was wearing. Furthermore, the perp had paid his fare with a $100 bill. The teller also identified the bank note as part of the money she’d handed over to him.

Despite the serendipitous discoveries, the perp was not immediately apprehended. The case remains under investigation.

Pointers from Perps

Who better to give advice on protecting home or business from thieves than the crooks themselves? That’s what happened on March 5, when a couple of ladies-described as approximately 20 years old-visited the Searle boutique at 1296 Third Avenue. The suspects entered the store at around 3:35 p.m.; one of them selected an unidentified garment from a display shelf and took it into the dressing room.

Moments later, when she emerged and headed towards the exit, a salesperson spotted the article concealed under her arm and brought that fact to the young shopper’s attention. It was at this point that the perp offered her accusers a free inventory-loss-prevention consultation, yelling: “Thanks for the clothes! And you shouldn’t leave both shoes on display, because someone could steal them!”

With that, goods apparently in hand, the thieves fled northbound on Third Avenue and then westbound on 75th Street.

Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at Crime Blotter