Police Blotter, Week of August 16, 2012

Cornelia rape reported
On Wed., Aug. 15, at about 3 a.m., a woman was reportedly raped by an unknown male on Cornelia St. The victim told police she was walking back toward her residence and was approached by the perpetrator and was later attacked and forcefully raped. The assailant currently remains at large.

The Sixth Precinct, in conjunction with the Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, responded immediately to the incident. Officers canvassed the neighborhood for the perpetrator and searched the scene for evidence. The investigation remains in its early stages.

The suspect is described as a 5-foot-8-inch-tall Asian male. However, no sketch is available, since the victim was unable to provide additional details. Police will be reviewing surveillance camera footage on the block and adjacent streets.

Choke burglar convicted
Lance Stewartson, 41, was convicted last week of a violent attack and theft he committed in the West Village in 2009.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced on Fri., Aug. 10, that Stewartson was found guilty of felony charges of burglary, robbery and five counts of criminal possession of stolen property. The charges all stemmed from an incident in which Stewartson gained access to a woman’s Christopher St. apartment and choked her into unconsciousness before running out with stolen goods. Stewartson had tricked the woman into letting him into the building by claiming he lived there and that he had lost his keys, according to the D.A.’s report.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5.

Pit bull takes a bullet
Police shot an unleashed pit bull in the head in the East Village on Mon., Aug. 13, after its owner suffered a seizure that caused a commotion on the street.

The dog began barking aggressively when three officers surrounded his owner, a homeless man identified only as Polak, who had gone into a violent seizure while panhandling on the corner of E. 14th St. and Second Ave., according to witnesses cited in the New York Post.

Although the bullet wound left him bleeding heavily from the head, the pit bull, named Star, has survived the incident and is being treated at an East Harlem animal shelter. Both Polak and the officer who shot Star were taken to Bellevue Hospital with minor injuries.

Shoplifting spree ends
A young serial shoplifter got a rude awakening on Fri., Aug. 10, when her $4,800 spree ended in an arrest for grand larceny.

Demina Demina, 16, hit three high-end clothing stores in the West Village and Meatpacking District that afternoon, starting around 1 p.m. in Otte, at 121 Greenwich Ave. Using the shop’s dressing room as a hiding spot, Demina cut the security tags off her items of choice — a $280 crew-neck sweater, a $1,150 leather jacket and a $125 ring — before stuffing the merchandise in her shopping bag and sauntering out the door.

She then walked north to Yigal Azrouel, at 408 W. 14th St., where she followed the same process in stealing a $370 shirt, a $1,395 dress and two pairs of shoes taken from the store’s sample rack. Finally, she turned west and ended up at Scoop, at 861 Washington St., where she swiped a $425 skirt and a $1,100 dress.

But while Demina’s afternoon escapade was still taking place, employees from the first two stores had already gotten wise to her actions and called the police to give her description and whereabouts. So when she walked out of Scoop, Demina got an unexpected surprise to go along with all of that free merchandise — a couple of officers, waiting to slap the cuffs on her.

Candid-camera catch
Three days after he made headlines by being caught on a hidden camera while burglarizing an East Village apartment, Piotr Pasciak, 24, was arrested on Thurs., Aug. 9.

Pasciak, who lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, was caught after someone who knows him saw the widely publicized video — which showed him stealing an iPad, watch and wallet from an apartment at 516 E. 11th St. — and called the police. He is also being charged with breaking into the same apartment on June 12 and stealing video game consoles and other electronics, according to the New York Times.

Pasciak has a history of break-ins, and went to prison from 2009 to 2011 after pleading guilty to charges stemming from three home-invasion burglaries in Upstate New York’s Otsego County, the Times article said.

Subway sneak attack
Police arrested three men for robbery in the West Village on Thurs., Aug. 9, after they clubbed another man in the back of the head and swiped his wallet. The victim, 44, was walking down the stairs at the Christopher St.-Sheridan Square subway station at around 1:30 a.m. when Kyle Copeland, 20, Jaquan Ford, 20, and Justin Gaskins, 18, attacked him from behind.

While the victim was on the ground, the three perpetrators fished the wallet out of his back pocket. But when the robbers turned to flee, they were confronted by an officer who had witnessed the whole scene from down the block, and who arrived just in time to apprehend them.

The attack left the man with cuts on his head and a black eye.

‘Drop the f—- phone’
A woman, 36, told police she was sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park on Fri., Aug. 10, around 7:30 p.m. when a strange man approached and began staring directly at her face. Fearing for her safety, she got up and began walking away, but the man gave chase, saying, “Drop the f—— phone, bitch.” The woman quickly complied, leaving her cell phone on the ground for him to pick up.

The threatening thief snatched up the phone — but unfortunately for him, a courageous male bystander noticed the incident, stepped in, forcibly took the phone back, and restored it to its rightful owner. The woman then found a police officer near the park and led him to the perpetrator, later identified as Jacob Ide, 29, who was promptly arrested for robbery.

Robber punches woman
Police are on the hunt for a man who pummeled and robbed a woman in the East Village on Sat., Aug. 11, at around 11:45 p.m.

The perpetrator, who was spotted on a surveillance video, followed the 28-year-old victim into the stairwell of her apartment building at 116 Avenue C, near E. Eighth St. Once inside, he repeatedly punched her in the face and grabbed her purse before fleeing the scene, according to the Post. The wanted man was described as being approximately 5 feet, 7 inches tall and in his late 20s.

Antigay assault
A middle-aged man is wanted for assault after allegedly committing a homophobic hate crime in the East Village on Mon., Aug. 6.

At around 10:45 that night, the suspect was driving his luxury sedan down St. Mark’s Place near First Ave., when he stopped the car, got out and accosted a man who was walking down the street. He proceeded to call the pedestrian a “faggot” and hit him on the side of the face, before jumping back into the vehicle and speeding away.

Witnesses described the assailant as white, about 40 to 45 years old, 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 200 to 215 pounds.

–  Sam Spokony

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2 Responses to Police Blotter, Week of August 16, 2012

  1. Witnesses also reported police kicked "Polak," the homeless man having a seizure, and pepper sprayed Star, the Pit Bull, before she charged at one officer. We can only wonder if a trained service dog would've behaved any differently in a similar situation.

  2. Your comments are false. Any officer's first requirement in encountering an apparently unconscious man is to assess his condition. If one of the cop's indeed 'kicked' Polak, it was for this reason only.
    The dog, protecting his owner, was preventing this process. The officer who shot his dog was over 10 ft away from Polak when his dog suddently charged (with clear intent to bite/attack the cop). At the instant the cop shot the dog – in utterly justifiable self-defense – his partner attempted to mace the dog, from a clearly ineffective distance.
    All this is crystal clear in the video posted everywhere (gothamist, nydailynews, nypost, etc).
    Service dogs are breed based, no pit bull would ever be selected as one.
    Almost the entire video is full of witnesses screaming and cursing at the cops, calling them 'f–king pigs', as if they had any other choice of action.

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