Police Blotter, July 18, 2013

Guilty in Soho House slay
A man accused of brutally murdering his girlfriend in their room at Soho House in the Meatpacking District in 2010 has been found guilty, and now faces the possibility of life in prison, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced on July 11.

A State Supreme Court jury voted to convict Nicholas Brooks, 27, of second-degree murder — the top and only charge brought against him by the D.A. — nearly three years after the death of his girlfriend, Sylvie Cachay, 33.

Shortly after midnight on Dec. 9, 2010, Brooks and Cachay checked into a room at Soho House, the hotel and private-members club at 29-35 Ninth Ave., according to court documents. After considering the evidence, the jury agreed that sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 2:15 a.m., Brooks strangled Cachay and then drowned her in the room’s bathtub, the D.A.’s office said.

The Soho House guest staying in the room beneath the couple told management around 2:10 a.m. that water was leaking through his ceiling. After hotel employees entered Brooks and Cachay’s room to investigate the leak, they discovered the woman’s half-clothed body submerged in the overflowing bathtub. Emergency medical personnel called to the scene pronounced her dead around 3:30 a.m.

The crime’s horrific nature compelled the D.A. to release a statement highlighting the ongoing danger of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence victims all too frequently become homicide victims,” Vance said. “Sylvie Cachay suffered a terrible death at the hands of a man who claimed to love her. In 2010, nearly 1,100 women were murdered nationwide by a husband or boyfriend — and every death was a complete and utter tragedy, forever felt by the victim’s family, friends and community. I would like to thank the members of the jury for their work in this harrowing case of domestic violence.”

Brooks is expected to be sentenced Aug. 26.

Attack at Westbeth
A resident of the renowned Westbeth Artists Housing complex was arrested for allegedly attacking another resident on the afternoon of July 12, police said.

The victim, 53, claimed that he was simply walking through the hallway just outside his apartment at 55 Bethune St., around 3:30 p.m., when Ari Satlin, 43, a neighboring resident, bashed him in the head. The unsuspecting man later told police that he wasn’t sure exactly what hit him — he thought it was either a large stick or a pipe of some kind — but he was left with a large cut on his head that required stitches after a trip to Bellevue Hospital. And while the weapon wasn’t clear, when the bleeding man called police after the incident, he said he was positive it was Satlin who inflicted the blow.

After a canvass of the building and surrounding area, police arrested Satlin and charged him with assault.

‘Con Ed’ con artist
The owner of a Meatpacking District pizza joint was shocked to find out that he had been swindled out of nearly $1,000 by a con artist posing as a Con Edison employee.

The victim, who runs Rocky’s Brick Oven Pizza, at 304 W. 14th St., told police that the incident began July 7, when an unknown man wearing a Con Ed uniform walked into his restaurant, saying he was there to charge the business owner for scheduled maintenance on the building’s electricity meters. Before shadily disappearing, the phony utility-company worker told the victim to call a Brooklyn phone number in order to pay the “maintenance fee,” police said.

Unfortunately for the pizzeria proprietor, he fell  for the scheme, and sent $949 to a bogus online account after calling the number the next day and following the imposter’s instructions. The victim told police he only realized his mistake when he later called the real Con Ed to request more information about the situation, and a representative told him there was no maintenence planned for his meter, and that he had been conned.

Unfortunately, when the pizzeria owner reported the crime to police, he couldn’t provide enough information for officers to track down the swindler. So, according to the Sixth Precinct, the case has been closed pending any further evidence.

Cocaine bust
Vigilant police officers on patrol were able to spot a weighty drug deal in progress near Washington Sqare Park on the evening of July 12, and stepped in at just the right moment in order to legally catch both the buyer and seller in the act.

The officers first observed Jason Bonk, 32, carrying a large plastic bag stuffed with alleged cocaine as he walked toward the corner of Waverly Place and Grove St. around 5:15 p.m., police said. But instead of arresting him then, the officers scoped out the location from a distance, waiting to see if any further action would occur.

Their patience was rewarded when Sean Christianson, 33, approached the location minutes later and, under the officers’ surveillance, paid Bonk cash in exchange for the sack of coke, police said. As soon as the transaction took place, the officers arrested Bonk and Christianson, charging them both with criminal sale of a controlled substance.

Stared down armed thug
A Soho woman was lucky to be alive after challenging an armed mugger’s manhood in Soho on Wed., July 3.

Anna Graham, 54, said she was smoking a cigarette in front of her residential building on Grand St. between Wooster and Greene Sts., at about 1:15 a.m. when she was approached by two men. The first man, wearing a black hoodie, pulled out a black firearm with a brown handle and told her to give him her wallet. According to police, she told the robber she didn’t have a wallet and that he “did not have the balls to shoot her.” She said the man then pointed the gun at her chest, while the other man, wearing a black jacket and white baseball cap, said, “shoot, shoot, shoot.” But the gunman did not fire.

The second man went over to two other women, Graham’s friends, who were loading their belongings into a car in preparation for a trip out to Long Island, and he began to take their property out of the vehicle. Police said one of these two women, 49, noticed what was happening and fought with the robber, who kicked her. He then threatened the third woman, 53, and told her to hand over her wallet, police said. She also told them she did not have a wallet and then called 911, causing the muggers to flee north on Greene St.

However, the muggers reportedly did make off with an iPad mini, a Samsung Galaxy cell phone and about $600 in cash taken from the car.

A woman in a do-rag was seen fleeing with the two robbers, according to police, who believe she may have been a lookout.

No injuries were reported.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, while praising Graham’s bravery, said each person must make his or her own decision in such cases.

“It may not have been the smartest thing to do, to say this to someone holding a gun to your head, but you have to admire her gumption and guts,” Kelly said, according to the Daily News.

Graham is married to renowned Russian-born sculptor Ernst Neizvestny.

–  Sam Spokony and Kaitlyn Meade

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