Belt saves officer
One of two police officers who traded gunshots with a suspect in the Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side during the early hours of Mon., Feb. 27, escaped with his life when his gun belt deflected a bullet headed for his belly, police said.
The suspect, Luis Martinez, 25, was shot in the leg and fled into his building at 64 Baruch Drive where he was arrested.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the lucky officer, Thomas Richards, 36, would have been hit by the 9-millimeter round if it hadn’t been deflected by the spare ammunition magazine on his gun belt.
Richards and his partner, Thomas Dunne, were in a police van parked on Columbia St. around 1:30 a.m. when they saw Martinez acting suspiciously in the street. They approached him but he fled a block east to Baruch Drive where he turned and fired at the officers, police said.
When the bullet struck Richards’s belt, the bullets in the magazine spilled into the street, police said.
The two officers returned fire, hitting Martinez in the leg but he fled into his building. Martinez was arrested in his apartment and taken to Bellevue Medical Center in stable condition. Richards, uninjured, was also taken to the hospital, examined and released.
A 9-millimeter Taurus handgun was recovered from the building’s trash compactor and a bag of marijuana was found nearby, police said.
Charges of attempted murder of a police officer and weapons possession were expected to be filed against Martinez.
Suffolk St. burglary
A burglar who made his way into a Suffolk St. apartment on Friday afternoon Feb. 10 while the residents were out made off with jewelry and electronic appliances, police said.
East Village bar patrol
Residents of the East Village, where bars and clubs dominate the after-midnight hours, welcomed the announcement last week that the Ninth Precinct plans to add new officers to patrol the club beat in the precinct, which covers the area between Broadway and the East River from 14th St. to Houston St.
Captain John Cappelman, the new commanding officer, told the Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting on Tues., Feb. 21, that he would deploy eight to 10 extra officers to the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift to handle crime and quality-of-life issues related to bars and clubs.
Cappelman said he was aware of the issues in the area but cautioned, “It’s not something you can fix over night.”
Collar five suspects
Police arrested five suspects for robbing a man, 21, on the northbound platform of the Sixth Ave. station at 14th St. at 3:02 a.m. Thurs., Feb. 23. They put the victim in a chokehold, grabbed his bag with a laptop computer, iPod, CDs and personal papers and fled from the station. The suspects, Thomas Kamal, 17; Amenra Robinson, 17; Jamal Farson, 20; Jacquese Henney, 17; and Devon Griffith, 17, were identified by the victim and charged with robbery.
Lower East Side fires
A fire that erupted around 7:30 a.m. on Thurs., Feb. 23, in an eighth-floor apartment in 388 Pearl St. in the Alfred E. Smith Houses injured six people including two firefighters, a Fire Department spokesperson said. The injured were taken to New York Downtown Hospital where they were treated and released.
Firefighters rescued five people from apartment 8B, two of them via an aerial ladder. The two-alarm fire, which brought 20 fire companies and about 80 firefighters to the scene near the Brooklyn Bridge, was under control by 8:15 a.m.
In a separate incident, a fire that broke out around 1 a.m. Fri., Feb. 24, in a first-floor apartment at 475 F.D.R. Drive south of Delancey St. was brought under control a half hour later, according to a Fire Department spokesperson. A resident sustained minor injuries but was not hospitalized.
In addition, a fire in a fifth-floor apartment at 39 Eldridge St. at 3:40 a.m. Thurs., Feb. 16, resulted in minor injuries to 10 firefighters, a department spokesperson said.
Seek East Village muggers
Police are looking for two suspects wanted in connection with a robbery at 1:30 a.m. Wed., Feb. 23, on E. Third St. near Avenue B. The suspects approached the victim, 19, as she was walking past 185 E. Third St. One of them wielded a black handgun and grabbed her iPhone while the other grabbed her handbag. Both suspects fled west toward Avenue A. The pair were described as black between the ages of 20 and 25. One of them was 6 feet tall, with a thin build, wearing a green hooded jacket, blue jeans and tan sneakers. The other was 5 feet 5 inches tall, medium build, wearing a surgical mask over his face and carrying a handgun. Tips can be reported by phone to Crime Stoppers, 800-577 TIPS (8477), or online at www.crimestoppers.com or text to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.
Police arrested Pedro Aguilar, 75, on Mon., Feb. 13, and charged him with stealing three cases of wine on at least two occasions from One Mile House at 10 Delancey St. at Bowery. Police said the suspect got into the bar’s wine cellar between 8 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. the previous week. He was identified on a surveillance tape.
Michael Ice, 22, of Rye, N.Y., was killed at 5:49 a.m. Sat., Feb. 25, when a No. 6 train struck him on the southbound track at the Spring St. subway station, police said. According to reports, Ice may have been looking for his cell phone, believing he had dropped it on the track. Ice’s father was a former Rye School Board member.
A suspect punched a victim, 26, in the face and demanded money at 4:16 a.m. Tues., Feb. 21, in front of 208 Sullivan St. But a police officer who witnessed the crime came onto the scene and arrested Justin Vasquez, 22, for attempted robbery.
Graffiti woman and friend
Police arrested Rosie Williams, 19, after witnessing her marking graffiti on the wall at the W. Ninth St. PATH station on Sixth Ave. around 5:15 a.m. Sun., Feb 26. Williams’s friend Brienna Hayes, 18, followed the officers, shouted at them and was finally arrested after she spit in one officer’s face.
A suspect who hailed a cab parked at the curb at Ninth Ave. at W. 14th St. in the Meatpacking District around 4:15 a.m. Sun., Feb. 26, became enraged when the driver told him the cab was out of service. The suspect, Alexei Pavlovitch, 36, punched the driver in the face but was arrested a short time later and charged with assault.
‘Don’t scream or I’ll shoot’
A man walked up to a woman, 21, at the corner of Grove and Hudson Sts. around 12:30 a.m. Wed., Feb. 15, simulated a gun in his pocket, demanded money and said, “Don’t scream or I’ll shoot.” The victim fled and alerted police, who arrested Larin Conyers, 41, on a charge of robbery.
West Village burglar
The custodian of a Horatio St. apartment building near Washington St. stopped a stranger carrying a bag into the basement of the building at 2:30 p.m. Mon., Feb. 20. The custodian grabbed the bag and called police, who arrested Anthony Molloy, 46, for burglary and possession of burglary tools. The bag contained a drill, a screwdriver, an electric razor and a pair of jeans.