The Crime Blotter

Shopper’s Bed Test Proves

Not So Comfy After All

There’s something about the sight of a bed that makes us want to take the load off our feet and lower our guard. That’s fine if the urge hits at home. But when it happens in a store, as was the case with one 755 Park Avenue resident at the Gracious Home store at 1201 Third Avenue on Feb. 1, the results can be less than relaxing.

The victim, a 57-year-old woman, was road-testing one of the upscale home-décor store’s bedroom sets at 1:15 p.m. and had placed her pocketbook on the bed beside her. The next time she looked, her purse was open and her wallet was missing. At the same time, both she and the sales associate waiting on her noticed a woman-described as 5-foot-11 and between 170 and 185 pounds-hovering suspiciously in the area. When confronted, however, the woman said she was just waiting her turn to test the mattress’ support.

The victim continued to stare at the suspect, who spontaneously blurted out, “I saw your wallet on the floor.” There was no reason why this fellow shopper should’ve known the wallet was missing-unless, of course, she was the one who had stolen it, and had just inadvertently admitted her guilt.

The victim did find her wallet on the floor, and picked it up to examine its contents. Noticing that her Citibank MasterCard missing, she pointed at the perp and yelled, “She has my credit card!”

Realizing that she had pretty much worn out her welcome, the suspect bolted, jumping into a tan Lincoln double-parked in front of the store. The vehicle fled northbound on Third Avenue. Gracious Home stated they have a video of the incident available for viewing.

Handle With Care

Given the recent anthrax and ricin scares and the jittery state of the planet in general, it’s no surprise that staff at the Park Avenue Synagogue were concerned when they received an envelope containing a “dark, powdery substance” on Jan. 26, according to the police.

Sent to the temple’s 87th Street and Madison Avenue address, the envelope was described by police as also containing a letter listing “possible grievances of a deranged individual with an absence of threats or quantifiable prejudice.” The letter writer was allegedly a female, and the envelope carried a Dayton, Ohio, return address-which seems to indicate that the sender was indeed more likely a sick individual than a professional terrorist.

An NYPD Emergency Service Unit arrived at approximately 1:20 p.m. and, after subjecting the letter to radiological and biological analysis, determined that the powder was harmless. Nonetheless, the NYPD’s anti-terrorism unit and the 19th Precinct detective squad were notified, and the incident remains under investigation.

Family Misfortune

One of the crucial elements of financial planning-especially if your ailing parents have dough-entails removing valuables from their home before the help do, as a 70-year-old-man discovered too late, according to the police. Upon entering his late mother’s East 72nd Street apartment on the afternoon of Jan. 12 and taking an inventory of her possessions, he discovered that part of his inheritance was missing. The vanished items included a $45,000 sterling-silver gold-plated vegetable dish, a $2,500 gold-plated cutlery set, a $3,000 gold and diamond bracelet, and $25,000 in cash.

The victim told the police that he would be pleased to supply them with the names and phone numbers of the four caretakers who had access to the apartment.

Daylight Robbery

There’s more than one way to rob a bank, as a resourceful female suspect showed on Feb. 2. Rather than walk in, pull a gun and announce a stick-up the old-fashioned way, the perp politely slipped the teller at the East 86th Street branch of Chase Bank a withdrawal slip for $2,500.

The teller, in turn, gave her the money, and the suspect departed. Shortly thereafter, however, the bank employee somehow realized that the customer wasn’t the same person as the holder of the account and, living up to the name of her institution, gave chase.

She caught the perp at 87th Street and Second Avenue, and an altercation ensued. During the course of the struggle, the crook bit the teller on her right hand, causing a laceration and swelling. The teller did manage to recover the money, however, and her assailant was arrested for robbery and assault.

Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at The Crime Blotter