Crime Blotter

Mary Jane Comes A-Callin’,

But East Side Squares Turn Her In

These days, a call to the bomb squad isn’t an unusual reaction upon a citizen’s receiving an unexpected package. However, an East 85th Street couple, throwing caution to the wind, decided to open the unanticipated parcel they received via U.P.S. on Jan. 15 without donning HazMat suits first.

What they found inside wasn’t exactly toxic. Indeed, among certain people (certain people even known personally to this reporter), the gift would have been considered a literal jack-pot and cause for several days-even weeks-of celebration.

The victims, a husband and wife, opened the cardboard box to find a smaller box swaddled in packing material inside. When they opened that box, lo and behold, they discovered what the police described as two large “bricks” of marijuana.

While their actual weight remained a matter of conjecture, since neither the package’s recipients nor the police were equipped with a scale, the contraband was guesstimated to weigh approximately five pounds.

The couple-whom one might assume are either preternaturally honest or don’t smoke the sassafras themselves-informed the cops that when they returned to their apartment at around 3 p.m., their doorman handed them the package. They didn’t recognize the return address-which, in any case, didn’t bear a name-but decided to open it anyway.

Once they realized what it was, rather than, say, splitting it into nickel bags for resale or folding it into brownie mix, they responsibly called the police, who removed the cannabis to the 19th Precinct station house for processing and later transfer to a police lab. “Other people,” opined a friend of the Crime Blotter’s, “might have seen it as proof of Divine Providence.”

While the police didn’t assign a value to the contents (which, as every kid knows, turns on its quality), Crime Blotter’s friend-who is something of an expert on the subject-estimated that five pounds of marijuana could have a street value of anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000. Furthermore, what he described as “doctor-and-lawyer weed”- meaning the primo, quality stuff-can retail for as much as $700 an ounce.

To research the Crime Blotter’s query, the friend had attempted to consult High Times , a magazine that once charted marijuana prices as assiduously as The Wall Street Journal charts the going rate of pork bellies and corn. But he was disappointed to discover that the counterculture publication, which has been revamped in recent years, no longer does.

“It’s like a new magazine now,” he lamented. “It’s like The Utne Reader. “

(Upon further research, however, the Crime Blotter unearthed good news for stoners: The magazine’s new little-sister publication, Grow America , continues the time-honored practice. A recent issue reports an ounce of Chronic selling for $425 in the New England area, an ounce of Hydro for $350 on Long Island, and an ounce of the apparently high-caliber AK-47 retailing for a hefty $800 in Texas.)

A police description of the contraband recovered on East 85th Street didn’t identify its variety.

Annoying Distractions

It’s just a hunch, but one suspects that the unknown perps who visited the Jean Paul Gautier boutique at 759 Madison Avenue on Jan. 19 wouldn’t have summoned the cops had they received the cadeau mentioned in the previous item.

When the two males entered the boutique at around 3:30 p.m., a female employee who was standing by the cash register approached to assist them. But then the phone rang, momentarily distracting her. It turned out to be an expensive distraction: After the two men left, the employee noticed that a sable coat valued at $50,000 was missing from a store display. The perps fled in an unknown direction.

Frozen Zone

It’s never too cold for ice cream, as the thieves who plundered the freezer at the City Cinemas at 210 East 86th Street proved on Jan. 21. The crooks made off with 42 Klondike ice-cream bars valued at $147 before fleeing in an unknown direction.

Low-Budget Bandit

Large bills, such as the $50’s that cash machines routinely dole out these days, can be a nuisance-especially if you get mugged and your assailant asks you for less money. Such was the case on Jan. 24, when a man approached a 19-year-old woman at the northeast corner of 84th Street and Lexington Avenue at 7:24 a.m. after following her up the street.

He pulled out a knife with a 5-inch blade and stated, “Give me a $20.” Unfortunately, the victim only had a $50, and the perp wasn’t about to give change. He grabbed the money and fled westbound on 84th Street towards Park Avenue. The police canvassed the area with the woman in their patrol car, but with negative results.

Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at Crime Blotter