Crime Blotter

Lady Larcenists Take

Women’s Lib to the Bank

As if cabbies didn’t have enough on their minds these days, what with the threatened strike over stagnant fares, lousy tippers who want to be taken to Montauk and intoxicated passengers who can’t hold their liquor, you can now add bank robbers (of which we’ve had more than a few lately) carrying exploding dye packs to that list.

Such was the case on Oct. 8, when a trio of female bandits fleeing the Commerce Bank at 85th Street and Third Avenue made a real mess of the inside of a yellow cab.

The incident began around 7 p.m., when the suspects entered the bank-which is open late-and passed a note to a teller. It stated, “If you know what’s good for you, listen carefully. Hand me all the money and no one will get hurt.”

To that one of the ladies added, “Don’t touch anything-I’m armed.”

The teller forked over $4,225, some of it contained in the dye pack. The suspects then entered a waiting cab. But the cabby apparently wasn’t in on the scheme, as evidenced by his reaction when the dye pack-intended to make the identification of crooks easier for cops by covering them in red dust-detonated as the cab pulled away from the curb, causing him to stop.

“He’s extremely upset and irate and angry,” explained Deputy Inspector James K. Rogers, the 19th Precinct’s commanding officer. “I don’t know if he knew what happened, but he definitely knew his cab was now full of red, smoky dye dust.”

As luck would have it, the commotion was noticed by a member of the Patrol Borough Manhattan North scooter task force, who was across the street handling a vehicle accident. At about the same time, the bank robbery came over the cop’s police radio, and he put two and two together. As the officer approached the cab, one of the suspects fled on foot, while the other two-a 22-year-old and a 44-year-old-were apprehended.

Both had prior arrest records, though none of their crimes included bank robbery. Inspector Rogers noted that female bank robbers are a relatively recent phenomenon, and mentioned another holdup that was committed by a perp of the fairer sex in the 32nd Precinct in Upper Manhattan on Oct. 14.

The inspector had a simple theory for why the ladies may be getting into the bank robbery game: “I guess they felt left out,” he said.

Sleeper Car

Some people are heavier sleepers than others. But few could achieve the near-comatose state experienced by the 23-year-old gentleman who was riding the No. 4 train at an unknown time of day (due to his condition, the fellow couldn’t be quite sure of the time-or much of anything else) on Oct. 11. Among the few things he does remember is that he’d previously visited a nightclub somewhere in Manhattan, where he’d apparently enjoyed himself thoroughly and contributed to the establishment’s bottom line by drinking there steadily for several hours before he caught the subway.

Once he boarded the car, he descended into a sound sleep-so sound, in fact, that while he has a vague recollection of the train stopping at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue (where he disembarked), he remained unaware that, en route, someone had cut off his right front jeans pocket with an unknown object and stolen his wallet.

There were no injuries or witnesses, and the victim didn’t report the crime until 11 a.m. the next morning. Among the contents of his wallet were $100 in cash, a Citibank A.T.M. card, a New York State identification card, a pocket knife, a photocopy of his Social Security card and what the cops described as a “Poland green card.”

This Ain’t Belgium

It may be that in Antwerp, world capital of the diamond trade, bling-bling is so commonplace that people can walk around wearing their baubles without watching their backs. But not in New York. This cultural difference may explain why one Antwerp resident visiting our fair city proved easy pickings for a bicycle thief on Oct. 9. The bicycle thief to whom we refer was not the sort who’s in the business of stealing bikes; rather, he rides them to make a quick getaway after preying on the hapless ladies who lunch, which was apparently the case here.

The 54-year-old victim was standing at the northeast corner of 63rd Street and Madison Avenue at 1:55 p.m. when the perp rode up behind her and expertly swiped the diamond pendant that she was wearing around her neck. Then he fled eastbound on 62nd Street.

A canvass by the cops turned up negative results, and the lady declined the invitation to visit the 19th Precinct station house and have a go at their mug shots. The square-shaped pendant was valued at $10,000.

Ending on a Sad Note

You’d think if there was one place a violin would be sacrosanct, it would be the Juilliard School of Music. Think again. On Oct. 16, a 19-year-old female Juilliard student visited the 20th Precinct station house to report her $32,000 Nicholaus violin missing.

She told the cops that she’d left the instrument in a practice room at the music school, located at 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, and departed for her dorm. When she returned about 20 minutes later, the violin was gone. Though she was unable to provide the cops with any leads as to who may have thrown this roadblock in the way of her brilliant career, the case remains under investigation by the 20th Precinct detective squad.

Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at

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