The recent arrival of the Dean and DeLuca store at 85th Street and Madison Avenue isn’t just great news for shoppers in search of fresh goose-liver paté or hand-dipped chocolates, but also for crooks eager to take advantage of the crowds who have descended on the upscale grocery store since it opened on Dec. 5.
On Dec. 30, a 66-year-old Woodmere, Long Island, resident was shopping at the store when her wallet, containing her Loehmann’s charge card as well as three gas cards and a veritable library of other credit cards, was swiped from her purse.
She apparently only discovered the theft when, waiting to see her doctor at his East 86th Street office shortly afterward, she received a cell-phone call from the HSBC bank, alerting her that someone was attempting to withdraw funds from her bank account, a transaction the bank denied. Even so, the perp did manage to charge approximately $600 to her Discover card.
For those foodies wondering whether Dean and DeLuca’s Upper East Side beachhead will take business away from Petak’s, a popular Carnegie Hill gourmet emporium several blocks to the north on Madison Avenue, the answer seems to be yes, if a recent incident is any indication.
A 32-year-old woman informed the police that she was having something to eat at Petak’s on Jan. 2 around 3 p.m. when she noticed that her wallet was missing. When she called her credit-card companies to cancel her cards, she was informed that they’d already been used at various locations within the 19th Precinct, including Dean and DeLuca-perhaps going to show that even pickpockets prefer to shop at D. and D., at least until the novelty wears off.
New Year’s Slasher Arrested
The new year got off to an unfortunate start for one 33-year-old woman who was robbed and slashed in the face with a knife as she was walking along Amsterdam Avenue with friends at 1:05 a.m. on Jan. 1.
“She’s walking with a couple of friends, but they’re all on their cell phones,” explained Capt. James Murtagh, the 20th Precinct’s commanding officer. “There are people in front of her and people behind her, but she’s sort of by herself when this guy comes up.”
The perpetrator, who was walking in the opposite direction, grabbed the victim’s handbag and, when she apparently resisted, slashed her with the knife he was carrying.
“He cut her pretty good down the face, almost from the ear down to the chin,” Captain Murtagh continued. “Her friends see it and think she got punched in the face because they see his arm go up. The last thing they suspected was a knife.”
A couple of the friends and a male bystander gave chase and cops responded to the scene shortly thereafter, making an arrest. The perp was described as a 35-year-old neighborhood resident with a criminal record, including at least one prior arrest for robbery, according to the captain. He was charged with both attempted robbery and assault.
His victim, an Upper East Side resident, was taken to the hospital. “She got a large number of stitches,” Captain Murtagh said. “Somebody told me it might be 100.”
Unknown thieves had their way at La Perla, the lingerie shop to the stars, when they visited the 777 Madison Avenue boutique on Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. and absconded with two bustiers, one valued at $687 and the other at $854.
The Crime Blotter paid a visit to La Perla’s Web site to learn more about the bras and what makes them cost almost as much as a laptop. Even though we have yet to discern the answer, a visit to the site is highly recommended: The home page includes half-naked lingerie models, heavy breathing and a sexy female Italian voice in an echo chamber intoning, ” Ancora ! Ancora ! Ancora !”
By the way, the perps left the security tags previously attached to the unmentionables on the floor of the store in the vicinity where the items were removed.
Crooks have been impersonating cops for quite some time now, and they’ve been known to be sticklers for detail, right down to the accouterments. But a couple of thieves carried the masquerade further than most when they robbed a 31-year-old York Avenue resident on Dec. 27.
The victim was walking eastbound on 80th Street shortly before midnight when a brown minivan stopped beside him and two males exited with silver police shields around their necks. After identifying themselves as police officers, they told the man that he fit the description of a robbery suspect and, apparently betraying no irony whatsoever, placed him against a car and frisked him, removing his wallet, cell phone and keys.
Then they hopped back in the van, which was occupied by two other men, and fled northbound on York Avenue. Both the 19th Precinct detective squad and an NYPD evidence-collection team responded to the scene, but came up negative on both the perps or their prints.
Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.