Crime Waves: Burglary as Comedy and Tragedy

There are lots of potential punchlines in the Post‘s Staten Island cat burglar story. The burglar is deemed “ninjalike;” the burglar stops to snack on muffins. Says Juan Martinez, one of the burgled parties: “He must have been incredibly quiet.”

But if the Post would paint Staten Islanders as snoozy Elmer Fudds outfoxed by a wily adversary, its narrative for a series of West Village burglaries is much less cohesive. Saturday’s story on a recent “surge” in West Village robberies reported that many “appeared to be the handiwork of a single thug.” A thug! Scary. But today the paper presents the story of Juan Gonzalez, a “baby-faced” and “Oliver Twist-like” fifteen-year-old who’s suspected of robbing around 25 apartments, “mostly in the West Village.” Is this your thug, Post? Stories about thugs don’t often quote sad grandmas.

It’s apparently a more welcoming environment for aspiring criminals in the Bronx, where, if nothing else, court delays will prevent justice from being served too swiftly. According to the Daily News, the borough has become a “model of inefficiency” following the 2004 merger of the Criminal Court and Supreme Court. Bronx homicides now take an average of 105 days longer than the the citywide average (628) to be resolved.

In Brooklyn, a lucky criminal might get paid municipal dollars: the enterprising crack dealers of the East 21st Street Crew have made $500,000 in settlements for civil rights suits against the city. This has both the Post and the Daily News pretty steamed.

And finally, from the Times, in a story about the return of a Cuban fugitive from the 60s: “[The indictment] was signed by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Robert M. Morgenthau, who was 49 at the time.”

  Crime Waves: Burglary as Comedy and Tragedy