Volume 74, Number 41 | February 16 - 22, 2005

Police Blotter

Kid bank robber
The Appellate Division last week reversed a Manhattan Family Court ruling that the mother who sent her 12-year-old son to rob a bank on Avenue A in 2003 was guilty of neglect but not abuse.
The Appellate Court agreed with the city Law Department on Feb. 6 that an abuse finding was more than amply supported by the same facts that had led the Family Court to find the mother guilty of neglect.
“The important distinction is that an abuse finding could eventually lead to termination of parental rights, if warranted,” said Marta Ross, the city’s chief lawyer in the case. “We are gratified with the court’s decision because it could impact future cases where a parent will use his or her child in the furtherance of criminal behavior — for example as sometimes happens in drug sales,” Ross said.
The case involved Tamara Rivers, who on Aug. 28, 2003, sent her son, 12, into the Citibank branch at 50 Avenue A at E. Fourth St. with a note that said, “Give me $30,000 or I will shoot you.” The boy passed the note to a teller, took the money and fled.
The mother and a bank teller, Monique Grey, who conspired to stage the robbery, were both arrested. Charges against the boy were dropped. Rivers pleaded guilty and the boy is currently in the custody of a family member.


DuFresne-related plea
A boy identified only as “Kashawn B.” pleaded guilty in Manhattan Family Court Mon., Feb.14, to second-degree assault, in connection with an attempted robbery of a victim on the Lower East Side during the early hours of Jan. 27 shortly before Nicole duFresne was shot to death during a robbery at Rivington and Clinton Sts.
The boy and three others pulled a gun on Adam Chavez, 20, and hit him as they attempted to steal his leather jacket, law enforcement officials said. The accomplices then took part in the duFresne robbery-murder but Kashawn was not charged in that crime.
Judge Mary Bednar remanded the boy to juvenile detention pending sentencing on Feb. 24.


Rap mogul charged
Irving Lorenzo, also known as Irv Gotti, a rap recording executive whose Soho studio, Crack House Studio, is located at 79 Mercer St. between Broome and Spring Sts., was charged on Jan. 26 with laundering more than $1 million in drug money, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A WPIX television reporter, Jackie Hyland, who was setting up outside the studio at 10 p.m. that day for a news broadcast about the indictment, was drenched when someone tossed a bucketful of water on her from a window in the four-story building, according to a Daily News report. Hyland filed a complaint about the incident with the First Precinct.
Paparazzi panic
A group of paparazzi who hang out at the corner of W. 11th and W. Fourth St. to photograph the actress Liv Tyler as she comes and goes from her home on W. 11th St., were so obstreperous on Tuesday afternoon Feb. 15 that annoyed one neighbor so much that he came up to one of them and said, “How would you like it if someone stuck a camera in your face?” and proceeded to stick his own camera in the photographer’s face. The photographer then grabbed the neighbor’s camera and threw it on the ground and broke it. Sixth Police precinct officers responded and left with one of the photographers in handcuffs and the others departed the scene — for the moment.
George Held, a W. 11th St. neighbor, said the freelance photographers are a constant problem at the West Village intersection. “They’re always here, five or six at a time standing on the sidewalks or sitting on our stoops. People call the precinct when it gets too bad.”
Sexual-abuse suspect
Police are looking for a man who sexually abused two 14-year-old Asian girls on the Lower East Side on the afternoon and evening of Feb. 3. The suspect, described as a white or Hispanic man between the ages of 35-45, 6 ft. tall and weighing 250 pounds, accosted the first victim at 3:30 p.m. in the stairwell of her building on Montgomery St. and grabbed her buttocks, police said. But the man fled when a resident of the building came out of his apartment. At 6:30 p.m. the suspect approached the second victim from behind in her Pike St. building and took her to the basement where he sexually abused her and fled when he was startled by a noise. Police issued a sketch of the suspect on Feb. 11 and are asking neighbors to phone Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS with any information.
Evacuate Village buildings
Smoking manholes on Charles St. near Bleecker St. on Tuesday night Feb. 8 forced residents from five buildings and left two buildings without power for more than three hours, according to Con Edison. Firefighters who responded to the manhole fire at about 10:25 p.m. found high readings of carbon monoxide and ordered the evacuation of 91, 95, 97, 99 and 101 Charles St. Residents began returning at 12:40 a.m. and all were home by 1:30 a.m., according to Joy Haber, a Con Edison spokesperson. Two of the buildings were without power until 4:30 a.m. Cause of the fire is under investigation.


Arrest hit-run driver
Police arrested a hit-and-run driver who struck and killed a woman, 79, at 10:30 a.m. Fri., Feb. 10, on E. 20th St. at the Stuyvesant Town loop. The victim was crossing the street when the driver backed out of a parking space, struck her and drove off, police said. The woman was taken to Bellevue Hospital where she died, police said. A witness gave a license plate number to a 911 operator. At 2:45 a.m. the following morning. detectives arrested Petrush Piekpalaj, 35, at his home at 81 Woodland Dr., in Carmel, N.Y., and charged him with leaving the scene of an accident.


Zongo homicide trial
The reckless manslaughter trial of Police Officer Bryan Conroy, who shot and killed an unarmed West African immigrant during an undercover police raid on a counterfeit CD operation in a Chelsea warehouse nearly two years ago, began on Mon., Feb. 14. The victim Ousmane Zongo, 43, made his living repairing African artifacts that vendors stored in Chelsea Mini-Storage on 12th Ave. at W. 27th St. Conroy, 25 at the time, justified the shooting, telling a grand jury that Zongo, who was not involved in the counterfeit ring, had advanced on him and lunged for his gun after he shouted that he was a police officer.
In his opening statement Monday, prosecutor Armand Durastani attacked Conroy’s version of the May 22, 2003, incident in which five shots were fired at close range, four hitting the unarmed victim. Conroy’s lawyer, Stuart London, told the jury that police officers are “allowed to pursue a felon,” and said that Conroy fired because Zongo had tried to take his gun. London also told jurors that Zongo, from Burkina Faso, was in the U.S. without proper immigration paper. The trial is expected to last a week.


Foil jewelry burglary
A neighbor of Little King, a jewelry store on the ground floor of 319 E. Ninth St., woke up at about 3:30 a.m. on Tues., Feb. 15, to hear someone breaking through the triple gates in front of shop and challenged him. The burglar told the neighbor to mind his own business and then fled, according to Michael Regan, owner of the shop. “He broke through two of the three gates and was one away from getting into the store,” said Regan, who has owned Little King for the past four years. Although the neighborhood is safer today, Regan said he actually preferred the “bad old days.” “I’ve been running around this neighborhood since 1968,” he said, “I liked it better then.” But he noted that he wasn’t a storeowner 36 years ago. “I was a long-haired kid running to the Fillmore East and the Electric Circus.”


Bomb hoax
A fake explosive device discovered on a pile of trash in front of an apartment building at 96 Fifth Ave. at 3:45 p.m. Fri., Feb. 10, resulted in police blocking Fifth Ave. between 14th and 16th Sts. and 15th St. between Union Sq. and Sixth Ave. The Bomb Squad determined the metal cylinder with wires protruding from one end to be a hoax and the streets were reopened an hour later.


Bag taken
A woman patron of Soho 323, a lounge at 323 W. Broadway, lost her handbag with credit cards and $20 in cash to an unknown thief at about 2 a.m. Sat., Feb. 12, police said.


Camera snatch
A man walking in Soho on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 12, felt someone bump him at about 3 p.m. on Broadway and Spring St. and discovered his jacket pocket was opened and his camera was missing, police said.

Albert Amateau

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