Peculiar Perps: Dog Days Deliver Deranged Delinquents

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“Well, the Fourth of July is over!
The people are all gone
and I am tired out.”

                  –Charlotte Perkins Gilman,
                  “The Yellow Wallpaper”


The manager of the meat section at D’Agostino market on Greenwich Street in the West Village suffered a human bite to his arm sometime after 2 p.m. on Monday, July 26, when he witnessed 27-year-old Zachary Davis-Kelly filling his backpack with eight packages of Similac and Enfamil baby formula, worth $131.92, and tried to detain the shoplifter until police arrived.

“They took him into the ambulance, and he had to go to the hospital to get a shot,” assistant manager Jose Luyando, who was stocking a nearby aisle at the time and overheard the exchange, said of his bitten colleague, who was away on deserved vacation this week. “The guy was giving us a hard time. He didn’t want to give up the stuff.” Mr. Luyando said it was the first time he had ever seen anything of the sort. Meanwhile, if there is anything to be learned from a recent Mad Men episode regarding Sugarberry ham, sales of Similac and Enfamil baby formula should mount as a result.

It was a strange incident that commenced a week of other, stranger incidents in the West Village and Tribeca as the city crawled into the month of August, when New Yorkers become susceptible to the tired buzz of air conditioners, empty workdays and feelings of betrayal at having been abandoned by their more fortunate vacationing friends. People become impatient, short-tempered and a bit frenzied waiting for the order of fall to return.

Two days after the rabid thief struck D’Agostino, a 48-year-old man named Raymond Romano, who an officer from the 6th Precinct said was not the actor, got out of his black Mercedes at the intersection of 14th Street and Sixth Avenue and repeatedly punched another driver in the face, loosening a tooth and causing swelling to his left eye. During the late-afternoon rush hour on Wednesday, Mr. Romano apparently became enraged at the victim’s horn, which he employed in objection to Mr. Romano’s aggressive driving.

Then, on Friday, July 30, around 7 p.m., a routine grand larceny escalated into a drug bust when three men in their 20s attempted to purchase clothing with a fraudulent credit card at the True Religion denim store on Prince Street.

“We probably get one fraudulent card a day in the store, so we know how to pick them out,” the store manager, who asked to have her name withheld, told the Transom. In fact, there were several other attempted robberies in the store last week, she said. “We see an increase when spring hits. A lot of people want outfits for parties and stuff and these guys were definitely-well, it was a Friday night! And it was definitely for them. It wasn’t like they were getting things to resell later.” 

When police arrived, the men attempted to escape in a yellow taxicab. One of them, 24-year-old Jason Green, resisted arrest, flailing his arms and body in order to discard 24 envelopes of heroin packed into a rubber glove and stuffed into the pocket of his jeans. 

Police officers got in the way again the next day on the corner of Canal and Greene streets, when a man named Buddha was caught selling nine fake Rolex watches. Buddha swung his arms, kicked and caused two officers to fall on the ground, where he continued to wrestle them.

And on Monday, Aug. 2, a 20-year-old student of Baruch College fell victim to an unkind thief when he bent down to tie his shoelaces on Vandam Street in the early afternoon and a man walked by, knocked him over and took his wallet.

Such a week ended as it began, setting the tone for what we can expect for the manic weeks leading up to Labor Day, when, one hopes, our crimes, days and mental states become routine again. Last Wednesday, police responded to a call from the Kirna Zabete boutique on Greene Street in Tribeca, where, minutes before their arrival, a store clerk confronted a man dressed as a woman, yanked up his skirt and pulled a $2,695 olive Balenciaga motorcycle jacket out of the thief’s underwear. The brazen employee told police the man had fled in a blue getaway vehicle traveling northbound on Greene Street, driven by a female accomplice.

“I guess he tried to get creative,” said Officer Liropoulos in community affairs at the 1st Precinct. “It’s the first I’ve seen of something like that in this location, but nothing surprises me in the city anymore.”

Peculiar Perps: Dog Days Deliver Deranged Delinquents