Crime Blotter

Not Born to Run:

Flaky Fugitive Turns Self In

If only New York’s bank robbers had such a sense of guilt and obligation! On July 11, a German gentleman walked into the 20th Precinct at 120 West 82nd Street and stated to Police Officer Carmencita Soto, “I want to turn myself in for serious crimes I committed in Germany.” He went on to explain that the crime to which he was referring was bank robbery.

The officer referred the young man to her desk sergeant, Yvette Camarena, who, along with Detective Jon Cobin, debriefed the alleged crook, Mathias Reisez, a 28-year-old native of Worms, Germany. Mr. Reisez explained, simply, that the time had come to turn himself in.

He added that he’d arrived from Germany recently and had been staying at a number of different places in the city, though he wasn’t able to recall any addresses. He had a valid German passport that revealed he’d arrived in the U.S. on July 1. He was also carrying a bag, though it contained only clothes, not Deutsche marks.

Detective Cobin notified the Joint Robbery Task Force, who in turn contacted the F.B.I. An immediate investigation was conducted and Mr. Reisez turned out indeed to be a bank robber, not just some drama queen.

The investigation revealed that he’d robbed the Sparkasse Bank in Worms on June 27, 2003-at gunpoint, no less. A bank employee later identified him as the culprit, which may have made the decision to turn himself in somewhat easier. The reason the employee was able to identify Mr. Reisez was that the perp was himself a former employee of the bank.

He was held at the 20th Precinct until arrangements for his transfer to federal authorities and his safe return to Germany could be made.

Afowl of the Law

There are the insane, there are the criminally insane, and then there are those people who feed pigeons in the park. Of the three, the last category may very well be the most dangerous, as a New York City Parks Department volunteer discovered on July 20 at Rupert Park, on 90th Street between First and Second avenues.

At about 11:30 a.m., the good Samaritan approached a woman-described as a 40-year-old female with long, straight blond hair-and asked her to stop feeding the pigeons. The park worker apparently didn’t realize that certain individuals consider pigeons their feathered friends (ranking in status somewhere just beneath in-laws). This lady most certainly seemed to regard them this way, and she responded to the volunteer’s request by tossing a handful of pigeon feed in her face, causing irritation to her eye.

The perp fled in an unknown direction, leaving behind a bunch of disappointed pigeons and the volunteer, who filed assault charges against her in absentia.

Problem Shopper

Perhaps New York is getting nuttier, but maybe it’s simply the annual summer mass exodus from the city that makes those folks who are not all there seem more prevalent than they really are.

On July 19, at 8:15 a.m., a man with shopping bags in his back pocket entered the Rite Aid at 1235 Lexington Avenue. The staff is apparently sufficiently accustomed to shoplifters that when customers arrive with their own empty shopping bags, they take note.

So the manager-perhaps employing pre-emptive psychology, or at least letting the suspect know (in a politically correct manner) that he was onto him-suggested he help himself to a basket to hold his purchases. Unfortunately, the ploy didn’t work.

The perp started to scream at the manager that if he was so interested in helping him shop, he should get the basket himself. When the manager refused, the perp proceeded to load six Kodak cameras and one package of Duracell batteries into the aforementioned plastic bags he’d brought along for the occasion. Then he fled the scene. The cops canvassed the area, but with negative results.

Card-Carrying Con Man

It’s amazing how much credibility the simple business card bestows upon its owner-just ask the folks at Nicole Miller, a boutique at 780 Madison Avenue. A man visited the store at 11:40 a.m. on July 25 posing as a worker for a lighting company. To back up his claim, he pulled out both his business card and a work order.

He then explained that he needed $100 in advance to commence the project. After a store worker gave him the money, the suspect-described as an approximately 48-year-old balding male with a blotchy complexion-excused himself to go to his car. He never returned. It was at that point that the boutique’s employees realized they’d been had and contacted the police. A canvass was conducted, with negative results.

-additional reporting

by Oliver Haydock

Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at

Crime Blotter