Crime Blotter

Blaming Bad Lot in Life,

Man Helps Self to DVD’s

Stores are getting shrewder when it comes to combating shoplifters. But then again, shoplifters seem to be getting a bit shrewder themselves. On July 23, an employee of the Blockbuster at 1251 Lexington Avenue approached a man after spotting him pocketing numerous DVD’s.

Rather than fleeing or pleading innocent, the suspect took a stab at appealing to the employee’s mercy. He explained that life hadn’t turned out quite as he intended, that he hadn’t gotten the breaks some others had and, ergo, he needed to take the DVD’s. Indeed, the rapport between the two men had all appearances of appearing amiable. The Blockbuster worker, perhaps softened up by the crook’s tale of woe, made a gesture to let him off easy-after, of course, he returned all the stolen DVD’s.

As it turned out, the crook was but a decoy: As he and the Blockbuster worker were engaged in conversation, the store’s front-door security sensors mysteriously went off. After the shoplifter departed, the confounded employee took inventory and discovered that 23 DVD’s were missing. Blockbuster now believes there was a second crook working in tandem with perp No. 1, and that while he was distracting the worker, his buddy was filling his pockets with Spider-Man and Monsters, Inc. DVD’s. The stolen merchandise was valued at $345.

Yoga Pains

If there is one safe place left in this crazy world, you’d think it would be your friendly neighborhood yoga center. Think again. On July 26 at 2:25 p.m., an unknown female signed into New York Yoga, at 86th Street and York Avenue, and explained that she was waiting for a friend who was on her way and who was going to pay for both their classes.

However, the friend didn’t show up, the class was about to begin, and the female was instructed that she would have to leave. She asked whether she could use the bathroom in the locker room on the way out.

After she departed, another yoga enthusiast-a 31-year-old West 145th Street woman-discovered $80 missing from her wallet. She recalled seeing the suspect walking away from the center with money in her hand. In hindsight, she believes the bills in question were her own.

Sitting Ducks

Don’t kids have curfews anymore? If the teenagers walking along Third Avenue at 90th Street at 2:27 a.m. on July 23 had been at home in bed where they belonged, they wouldn’t have been rolled by a guy behind the wheel of a Cadillac.

The teens told the cops that they were walking along the street at that murky hour when the driver of a dark-colored vehicle slowed down to look at them (in much the same way an eagle might eyeball a field mouse), apparently liked what he saw and then disembarked.

He grabbed one of the victims by the nape of his neck and demanded, “Where’s the money?!” The teenager, an East 80th Street resident, handed over an empty red-and-black wallet, his T-Mobile cell phone and a Quest watch.

Nothing was taken from his 14-year-old buddy, who lives on East 93rd Street. The perp, described as wearing sunglasses-never a good sign at that hour-fled southbound on Second Avenue in the Caddie.

Rock Walks

A 515 Park Avenue resident reported to the police on July 24 that his engagement ring had been stolen. It wasn’t one of those modest $5,000 tokens of commitment, either; this bauble was valued at $85,000.

According to the victim, he’d had some work done on his apartment the previous day and suspects the thief may have been among the workers, a list of whom he was planning to supply the cops at a later date. The ring was taken from a drawer in the bathroom.

A reporter wondered aloud whether men were now wearing engagement rings-specifically, engagement rings worth as much as a Mercedes. “I don’t know if you watch the news, but gay people are getting married now,” a police officer opined. “Think about it that way.”

The police were dispatching an evidence-collection team to the address, and the 19th Precinct detective squad had also been notified.

Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at

Crime Blotter