New Yorkers are a creative bunch, perhaps never more so than in the impromptu genius they display at turning familiar objects—car antennas, beer bottles, etc.—into lethal weapons. Nonetheless, the suspect who showed up at St. Monica’s Church, at 413 East 79th Street, on Nov. 11 was more talented than most.
The perp broke the hand off a statue of St. Jude at 4:15 p.m. as numerous witnesses watched, then stole the wooden staff out of the saint’s hand and repeatedly hit the statue with it. While St. Jude was known for traveling far and wide on his missionary work, he was also beaten to death with a club, so perhaps there was some iconographic significance to the attack. “Let’s say I’ve been trying to get pregnant for years, or if the doctor tells me I’m terminal—you pray to St. Jude,” a Catholic police officer explained. In any case, after the suspect damaged the saint, he fled the scene swinging the staff over his head at witnesses and pedestrians alike.
Anti-crime officers from the 19th Precinct soon arrived on the scene, and the perp—wearing a gray sweatshirt and still lingering in front of the church—was pointed out by numerous witnesses to the police. When the cops tried to place him under arrest, the suspect, 46, tried to fend them off with his purloined staff before being eventually subdued. Unsurprisingly, a police officer described him as a “psycho”—and not just because he’d attacked a statue. “With all the expensive stuff they have in the church, why he would take that is beyond me,” the cop said, referring to the wooden staff, which was valued at $300.
The suspect was charged with grand larceny of a religious article, criminal possession of a religious article, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, criminal possession of a weapon (the staff) and menacing.
As everybody knows, you fall asleep on the New York City subway at your own peril—not just because you may miss your stop and wake up somewhere you’ve never been before, but also because your pockets may have been picked clean by the time you arrive. Nonetheless, you’d think you’d be safe from opportunistic predators if you were traveling with a companion. Not so, apparently, if he can’t stay awake either.
On Nov. 12, a 28-year-old West 74th Street resident told the police that she and her boyfriend boarded the uptown No. 6 train at Spring Street at 2 a.m. They both nodded off and, when they awoke, discovered themselves pulling into the 138th Street subway station.
The only problem was that they’d meant to get off at 86th Street. When they eventually made their way back home, the female noticed that a whole bunch of their stuff was missing from her pocketbook, including two MetroCards, her work ID, a Motorola cell phone, a $50 Brookstone gift card, an L.L. Bean MasterCard, three other MasterCards, an Equinox gym card, an Aetna insurance card, and Gap and Banana Republic credit cards. Not surprisingly, the couple was unable to provide the police with a description of their assailants or the direction of their flight.
Hunter College, like any other reputable institution of higher learning, is eager to share its resources, but only with those who have matriculated and paid their tuition. The suspect who was spotted lurking in the halls of the school at 1 p.m. on Nov. 9 had done neither.
A couple of cleaning people saw him inside a private office at the 904 Lexington Avenue campus and called security. Three Hunter College peace officers responded to the scene and conferred with the cleaners, and couldn’t help but notice that the suspect was carrying a large pile of books.
When they confronted him and asked him what he was doing, the suspect didn’t try to fool them by asserting, for example, that he was auditing introductory Sanskrit. Rather, he explained that he was there “to sell the books.”
This explanation hardly seemed satisfactory, especially after the English professor in whose office the perp had been spotted identified the volumes as coming from two boxes that belonged to him. The suspect, a 47-year-old man, was charged with burglary. The books were valued at $1,747.
Middle East Conflict
Although everybody would like to see peace flourish in the Middle East, that sentiment may not extend as far as sending a check to a hospital in Jerusalem, only to have it cashed at a bank in Jordan. That’s what happened to one White Plains resident who wrote a $650 check to an Israeli hospital on Oct. 3 for what was described as a pediatric trolley. (Whether this was a charitable contribution or he was purchasing the trolley was left unclear in the police report.)
But when someone from the hospital called around Nov. 10 to tell him that they had never received the money, the fellow examined his bank statement and noticed that the check had indeed been cashed—by the Jordan Investment and Finance Bank in Amman. When he informed the hospital of this, he was told that the hospital had no idea what the Jordan Investment and Finance Bank was and certainly had no relationship with it. Citibank, where the victim has his checking account, is currently investigating the matter.