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Armed Robbers Hold Up

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Tony Madison Ave. Boutique

Madison Avenue’s upscale jewelry shops, their front windows bristling with million-dollar baubles, can be intimidating unless you’re a member of the House of Saud or armed with a handgun, as a trio of robbers who visited Michael Ashton Fine Jewelry at 933 Madison Avenue on July 16 happened to be.

The bandits entered the store at 11:52 a.m., broke a glass display case and fled with jewelry estimated to be worth between $700,000 and $1 million, according to the police.

The first perp gained access to the boutique when one of the two saleswomen present buzzed him in. As she did, two additional suspects rushed in behind him. If the store employed a security guard, he wasn’t on duty at the time, said a police official.

Once inside, the first perp approached one of the saleswomen, grabbed her wrists and “ordered her to keep her head down,” according to the police. The second employee fled through a side door and called 911-but not before the crooks managed to flee on foot eastbound on 74th Street. A police mobilization to catch them proved fruitless-nor do the chances of apprehending them at a later date look good.

“They were told to drop down,” said a police official who responded to the scene, referring to the Michael Aston employees. “They had a very bad description.”

The robbers “smashed the display cases,” added the cop, who described the thieves’ booty as “watches, I believe-a lot of watches.”

Gas-Station Stealth

Raising your windows and locking your doors while you’re pumping gas might sound paranoid-unless the service station you frequent happens to be in Manhattan. In which case, you’re simply being prudent, as one hayseed from the suburbs discovered on July 21.

The victim, a 39-year-old Scarsdale resident, was gassing up her 2002 gray Mercedes E-320 at the service station at the corner of 96th Street and First Avenue at 2:27 p.m., when a thief exited a light blue four-door sedan, possibly a Ford Escort, and swiped the woman’s purse from the front passenger seat. He did so either by reaching through the open window or by opening the car door. Then he departed north on First Avenue and west on 96th Street.

Those who might be tempted to steal some $2-plus-per-gallon gas-but don’t because they’re afraid they’ll be caught on their local service station’s security cameras-might be encouraged to know that the cameras at this station, while operating smoothly, couldn’t make out the license number of the suspect’s fleeing auto.

The woman’s pocketbook, a tan leather Longchamp model valued at $500, contained $1,000 in cash, a $4,000 Omega diamond watch (things are apparently good in Westchester) and the usual credit cards-Amex, Saks, etc.

(Summer) School for Crooks

Sylvan Learning Center offers a plethora of courses to help the K-through-12th-grader stay in school. But pickpocketing isn’t one of them-which is why it undoubtedly came as a shock to one of the educational emporium’s tutors when she spotted a Sylvan student on a Pathmark security camera on July 19, displaying advanced-placement skills in larceny while wielding her Bank One Visa card.

The victim, a 26-year-old Armonk, N.Y., woman who teaches at Sylvan’s 1156 Third Avenue Learning location, was apparently contacted by her credit-card company over the suspicious use of her plastic to make purchases at a Pathmark supermarket. When she visited the store and viewed their security tape, she spotted the aforementioned pupil. In addition to the supermarket purchases, the crook also stole a $70 MetroCard.

If the student returns to Sylvan for additional tutoring, he’ll not only get an “F” for citizenship-he’ll also be arrested for grand larceny.

Water Flow

Spring water is chic. Just how chic became apparent on July 16, when crooks stole a veritable Trevi Fountain’s worth of the stuff off the back of a truck. A Poland Spring route driver was making a delivery of the beverage at 11 a.m. to a building on 60th Street between Park and Madison avenues. When he returned to his vehicle, he noticed that his truck was unlocked and 20 cases of Maine’s best H2O were missing. The water was valued at $200.

Ralph Gardner can be reached at

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