Robert Asch was arrested at the Saint Germain, at 33 W. 10th St., on Monday, accused of planning to rape, torture and kill women and babies. A doorman on duty there Tuesday said Monday was his day off, so he hadn’t been around to see all the action. He said he had known Asch as a tenant of the building “for many years,” but declined further comment. An older woman talking on the sidewalk outside with a friend about an upcoming street fair said it was the first she had heard of the story. “Oh! My God! I didn’t even know about it,” she exclaimed in shock, quickly adding, “Let’s stick with the street fair.” Andrey Malashenkov, 25, a doorman who lives around the corner, said he had noticed all the news media camped out in front of the building the day before but hadn’t known what it was for.
Photo by Lincoln Anderson
Booked in sick plot
A former librarian arrested by federal agents on Mon., April 15, is accused of planning with accomplices to kidnap, rape, torture and kill women and children.
Robert Asch, 61, who was a librarian at Stuyvesant High School, was arrested by the F.B.I. at his Greenwich Village apartment in the Saint Germain, at Greenwich Ave. and W. 10th St., following a six-month-long investigation that included numerous meetings between Asch and undercover agents.
According to F.B.I. documents released the day of the arrest, Asch and co-conspirator Richard Meltz, 65, spent at least two years plotting the attacks, while collecting weapons and supplies they planned to use, including a taser gun, hypodermic needles, chemical sedatives and specialized dental and medical equipment. Meltz is a police chief at a U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs medical center in Bedford, Mass.
The investigation of Asch and Meltz, who was arrested on April 14, originally stemmed from details relating to the prosecution of New York City Police Officer Gilberto Valle, the so-called “Cannibal Cop,” who was recently convicted of plotting to kidnap, kill and eat women. Specifically, agents learned that Asch and Meltz were in communication with Michael Vanhise, who was arrested in January for conspiring with Valle, according to F.B.I. documents.
The New York Times reported that Asch was also arrested in 2009 after being accused of inappropriately touching four male students during his tenure at Stuyvesant High School. Those charges were later dropped.
Asch will be charged in federal court with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and maximum fine of $250,000.
Gunman caught near Boston
Police said that on Tues., April 16, they arrested a suspect in an East Village shooting that occurred three days earlier. Brooklyn resident Jose Cintron, 44, was nabbed in Massachusetts, where he apparently fled and attempted to hide after the incident.
Around 1:49 p.m. on April 13, Cintron reportedly pulled a handgun on Bronx resident Arnold Cintron, 52 (who is not related to the defendant), during an argument between the two near the corner of E. Third St. and Avenue C. A police source said Jose Cintron is believed to have fired a single shot into the stomach of Arnold Cintron, who was later taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition, though reported not likely to die. The source added that an investigation showed the dispute between the two men had been brewing for at least a month.
Jose Cintron was tracked to Bedford, Mass., by the New York Police Department Regional Task Force, which works in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Service. He was arrested on the afternoon of April 16, police said.
Thunder Jackson’s action
Police officers from the Sixth Precinct had a busy couple of hours outside Thunder Jackson’s bar, at 169 Bleecker St., early on Fri., April 12, when they dealt back-to-back with two unconnected perpetrators who allegedly assaulted several officers and caused general havoc on the street.
First, cops responded to the bar shortly after 2 a.m. to remove Hector Gonzalez, 22, who employees said was creating a disturbance and refused to leave. When the officers instructed Gonzalez to vacate the premises, he did, but not before spitting at a bartender and an unknown patron, police said. When the officers then stepped forward to apprehend him outside the bar, Gonzalez reportedly grabbed one of them by the throat and was about to start throwing punches before other officers stopped him. Gonzalez continued to fight back while cops tried to cuff him, and caused minor injuries to one officer’s knee and thumb before he was subdued, police said.
Gonzalez was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Then, only minutes after they were through handling the first pugnacious perpetrator, the officers said they saw Rohan Rowe, 29, drinking a bottle of wine while sitting in the driver’s seat of his car — with the engine running — on the street outside Thunder Jackson’s. When they ordered Rowe to get out of the 2008 Infiniti, he refused, and when the officers attempted to pull him out, Rowe reportedly shifted the vehicle into drive and slammed on the gas, accelerating down the street while dragging an officer for several seconds and inflicting minor injuries, before hitting a parked car, police said.
Shortly after he was eventually cuffed, Rowe took a breathalyzer test and blew a .18 — more than twice the legal limit for operating a car. He was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment, assaulting a police officer, driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest.
A thieving duo allegedly pushed around a young woman while snatching her cell phone early on Sat., April 13, but cops were able to track them down.
The victim, 24, told police that the two men — later identified as Barry Campbell, 20, and Andrei Robinson, 22 — were acting together when one of them ripped the iPhone out of her hand as she was walking down Seventh Ave. South, past Sheridan Square, around 3:30 a.m. She also claimed that, when she tried to take the phone back, Campbell shoved her down, causing minor injuries, before the two men fled on foot.
During a canvass of the area over the next couple of hours, following the woman’s report, police said they were able to identify and apprehend the men close to where the alleged crime took place. Campbell and Robinson were both charged with robbery.
Free hugs…or else!
Police arrested a man who allegedly attacked a 20-year-old woman after she declined his offer of a “free hug” in Washington Square Park on the afternoon of Tues., April 9.
The victim told officers that Jermaine Himmelstein, 21, approached her and asked if she wanted a hug while she was passing by the park’s arch around 3 p.m. When she replied with a simple “No,” the woman said, Himmelstein threw a can of soda at her face — hard enough to leave a deep red mark on her cheek — and then dumped water on her.
A Sixth Precinct source said that Himmelstein is relatively well-known to the precinct, and was also recently stopped after chasing after a different woman who spurned his attempt to share some “free” love in the park, although she declined to press charges.
Himmelstein was charged with assault.