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Fruity Get-Up Puts Perp

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In the Mood for Crime If an NYPD precinct commander was asked to conjure up his worst nightmare, it would probably look something like the guy the cops apprehended early on the morning of May 16. The perp, whom the police were on the look-out for after he donned a ski mask and groped a young woman in the lobby of her East 83rd Street apartment building on May 9, was caught after trying to pull the same act on a different victim one week later.

The 19th Precinct anti-crime unit was hunting for the perp, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound white male, around 1 a.m. when they spotted a suspect who fit his general description on 79th Street between York and East End avenues.

“They follow this guy a good part of an hour,” said Deputy Inspector James Rodgers, the 19th Precinct’s commanding officer. “They see him looking at some females, following them. He sees a girl on the phone, a pay phone. She gets off the phone and walks towards her home.

“As she does,” the inspector continued, “this person we believed to be the perp puts on some gloves and pulls up his turtleneck over his face. He goes in and we collar him.”

In the May 9 incident, the suspect followed his victim, a 24-year-old East 83rd Street resident, into the lobby of her apartment building and grabbed her breast and crotch. He fled when she started to scream.

The police said the perp, a 34-year-old East 89th Street resident, who confessed to both incidents, had no criminal record. One of the more bizarre aspects of the case is what the cops discovered him wearing under his street clothes when they frisked him. “He’s got a hot pink G-string on,” said a police official, “white tights and a white miniskirt.”

The clothes, the perp allegedly told his captors, along with his proximity to his female victims, “put him in the mood of being a woman,” the official reported.

Inspector Rodgers was relieved to have the guy, who was charged with sexual abuse, behind bars. If the suspect hadn’t been caught as quickly as he was (by police officers Robert Tate and Brian O’Connell of the anti-crime team), and if his behavior had escalated, “the amount of attention I’d have had to give this would have been phenomenal,” Inspector Rodgers said, emphasizing the seriousness with which the department takes crimes of this nature. “He’s not all there,” the inspector concluded. “But he’s ‘all there’ enough to go away.”

Shoes That Walk

Crocodile shoes aren’t for everyone. However, for those who think they can pull it off but lack a sufficient line of credit, the allure must prove irresistible-especially if the footwear is sitting in the front window of Church’s English Shoes, at 689 Madison Avenue, as it was on May 8.

The store told the police that a $1,250 pair of black crocodile shoes vanished at some point between 1:30 and 6 p.m., when the store closed. This is actually the second such incident; approximately three weeks prior, another pair of shoes (apparently also crocs) walked out of the store without permission.

Church’s has a surveillance camera, but it won’t do much good in helping to catch the thief: It points toward the sides of the store, rather than the front door and window.

Essence of Youth

If you’re the beleaguered parent of an adolescent, it’s well known that havoc may ensue if you leave town for the weekend and neglect to take your teenager along, thus giving him or her the opportunity to turn your apartment into a crash pad for appreciative classmates and sundry hangers-on.

However, you’d think your priceless family heirlooms would be safe if you stayed in town-if you stayed in the next room, no less. Think again: A resident of East 65th Street between Madison and Park avenues reported to the police that on April 17, her daughter had approximately 15 friends between the ages of 16 and 19 over to their apartment.

To her credit, the daughter confessed to her mom that she didn’t know all her guests. But it seems safe to say that this admission was made a bit too late-most likely the following morning, when the girl’s mother (who had gone to bed early, leaving the teenagers unsupervised) discovered some of her favorite things missing.

Her prized possessions included a silver Tiffany box valued at $3,000; three silver Tiffany and Christofle ashtrays worth a total of $5,000; a $2,000 gold Dunhill cigarette lighter; and, most unfortunately, a nine-inch-high Hellenistic-period terra cotta statuette, dating from the fourth to third century B.C. and worth between $10,000 and $15,000.

The statuette was described in an appraisal as in excellent condition and, perhaps appropriately, as a votive object to “the essence” of youth and beauty.

Pretty Please

A thief is a thief is a thief-but perhaps he deserves some leniency in sentencing if he exhibits good manners while mugging you.

Good manners were about the only good thing that happened to one 75-year-old woman as she waited on line at the U.S. Post Office at 1617 Third Avenue on April 19.

Just behind her stood a young man who spotted a $20 bill in her hand. According to the victim, he “stated politely, ‘Can I have that?'”

She turned him down, so he asked again. When she refused the second time, the perp-apparently recognizing that etiquette isn’t all it’s cracked up to be-simply snatched the currency from her hand and fled eastbound on 91st Street.

Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at

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