Volume 74, Number 42 | February 23 - March 01, 2005

Police Blotter

Chelsea station killing
A man was shot to death on Saturday morning Feb. 19 on the Downtown platform of the 1/9 subway station at 18th St. and Seventh Ave. in Chelsea where police and emergency medical service agents said they were delayed in reaching the victim because clerks had been removed for the weekend from the booth on that side of the station.

The victim, German Cabrera, 36, of Hamilton Heights, Manhattan, was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital where he died at 9:50 a.m., police said. Cabrera, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, was escorting his girlfriend to her job in a store in Chelsea when a gunman confronted him and fired one shot that hit him in the chest.

The victim’s father, Dionisio Cabrera, was quoted in a New York Times article as saying a man he identified as the father of the girlfriend’s children had threatened the victim last year. Police, however, did not say if any suspects or new information had emerged in the case.

The Transit Authority said on Feb. 21 that unattended booths did not constitute a risk for subway travelers. The agency said it would follow plans to shut about 150 more subway booths this year.

Officers from the 10th and 13th Precincts who responded to the shooting said they used MetroCards offered by passengers to gain access to the victim on the platform. But a T.A. spokesperson said the officers had shouted across the platform to a token booth agent on the other side who buzzed them through a gate. The officers apparently misunderstood and tried but failed to go through the high-wheel turnstile.


No transfer for Rakowitz
Daniel Rakowitz, being held in the high-security Kirby Psychiatric Center on Wards Island for the 1989 killing and dismembering of Monika Beerle, who lived with him on the Lower East Side, was denied a petition to be transferred to a less-secure facility. Rakowitz had boiled pieces of his victim’s body and served the resulting soup to homeless denizens of Tompkins Sq. Park.

Supreme Court Justice Donna Mills decided on Feb. 15 that Rakowitz was still unrepentant, obsessed with death and mutilation and was an abuser of drugs. Mills denied the transfer despite an advisory jury’s finding last July that Rakowitz was no longer a danger


Bike messenger dies
One of more than 100 bicycle messengers, who had attended a Sat., Feb 19, event on Pier 63 Maritime on the Chelsea waterfront, was found dead in the water the following morning near the decommissioned lightship Frying Pan, police said. No criminality was suspected. But it was believed that the victim, 36, whose name was withheld pending family notification, had fallen into the water with his heavy bicycle chain wrapped around his waist sometime after 9 p.m. when leaving a party on the Frying Pan. The party was the culmination of an all-day event that included a bike messenger race through the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan The victim, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, was subject to seizures as a result of a gunshot wound to the head in 1990 and may have had a seizure when he fell into the water, according to a Daily News report.


Guilty in paintings thefts
Jack Wright, 50, who operates art galleries in Chelsea and the Village, pleaded guilty on Feb. 15 to second-degree grand larceny in connection with the theft of paintings, most by the late Milton Avery, from various owners.

Wright, whose galleries are at 131 Perry St. and at 529 W. 20th St. as well as in Southampton and Palm Beach, Fla., was charged with stealing consignments of paintings from five people between October 1998 and May 2004. He was also charged with stealing paintings from the Avery estate valued at more than $115,000 during the same period.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 5.


Paparazzo arraigned
Mitchell Gerber, 38, of Clifton, N.J., a paparazzo arrested Feb. 15 after a confrontation with a Village resident while hanging out near the W. 11th St. home of actress Liv Tyler entered a not-guilty plea at his arraignment the following day to third-degree criminal mischief.

Police said Gerber was confronted by a Villager who said, “How would you like it if someone stuck a camera in your face?” and then stuck his own camera in the defendant’s face and took a picture. Police said Gerber grabbed the other man’s camera, put it in his bag, and then took it out and threw it on the ground after several witnesses shouted at him. He was arrested for third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal mischief, but the larceny charge was dropped, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. Gerber was freed on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in court May 19. Criminal mischief is an “E” felony punishable by up to a year in jail.


Child sexual abuse
Eric Maldonado, 26, an auxiliary police officer in the Ninth Precinct, was arrested on Mon., Feb. 15, and charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. The victim was a 13-year-old girl acquaintance of Maldonado, police said.


Homicide arrest
Detectives from the 13th Precinct arrested Antoine Gumbs, 20, of 12 W. 119th St., and charged him with murder in the Jan. 5 shooting death of Ali Nasser al-Din, 48, a Lebanese immigrant, in a second-floor shop of 15 W. 27th St., a discount apparel center crowded with shoppers.

The killing was the outcome of a dispute that had been raging between Gumbs and al-Din, who was employed at the shop, police said. Ten shots were fired in the crowded center, one of them grazing the back of a fellow employee of al-Din’s. The victim was hit in the head, neck, torso and leg.


Stabbing sentence
Isaias Umali, 32, convicted in November of first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of Dana “Shazam” Blake, 32, a bouncer at Guernica, a lounge on Avenue B at E. Second St. on April 13, 2003, was sentenced on Feb. 16 to 17 years in prison. Umali stabbed Blake as he was ejecting his friend for smoking.


Reopen murder case
State Supreme Court Justice Roger S. Hayes last week ordered hearings for two men convicted in the 1990 shooting that ended in the death of a bouncer and the wounding of another man at the Palladium, a former E. 14th St. disco that has since been demolished and redeveloped as a New York University residence hall. Lawyers for David Lemus, 36, and Olmado Hidalgo, 39, contend that prosecutors at the time withheld evidence that could have exonerated them.

The lawyers also contend that a federal investigation into a Bronx gang in 2000 found testimony that someone else had shot and killed Marcus Peterson, the bouncer. The investigators also allege that a 2002 New York Police Department report also names the other suspect.

Prosecutors, however, said they did not withhold any evidence that the defense was entitled to and challenged the assertion that there was any new evidence in the case.

Justice Hayes, however, ordered hearings to begin April 18 to determine the facts in the case.


Union Sq. station assault
A couple walking down the stairs of the Union Sq. subway station on Friday night Feb. 18 ran into a group of young men and women who stopped them and severely beat them after an argument started, police said.

Eric Gadson, 21, of 419 E. 95th St., and Ebony Gardner, 16, 1299 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, were arrested and charged with gang assault. Gadson was also charged with possessing a weapon and marijuana.

The victims, Liton Ward, 28, of the Bronx and Petagay Ansell, 27, of Brooklyn were on their way home at 8 p.m. when the argument broke out. Ward told the New York Post that several members of the group rained blows on him while he was fighting with one of them. He was taken to Beth Israel Hospital where stitches were taken to close cuts on his head. Ansell was taken to Bellevue Hospital with a fractured bone in her face.

A statement by Paul J. Browne, deputy police commissioner for public information, said there are on average 10 crimes a day in the subway and that subway crime is near its 10-year low. The statement went on to say that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has directed the police Transit Bureau to review all strategies to make sure all is being done to suppress crime even further.


Grand larceny arrest
Christopher Cassagnol, an employee at T-Mobile Buys Sales at 665 Broadway opposite Bond St., was arrested at work on Wednesday afternoon Feb. 16 and charged with grand larceny. The suspect, an auxiliary police officer in the Bronx, was charged with stealing cell phones, which the company marketed, by shipping them to an accomplice who sold them on the street. The accomplice has not been arrested.

Albert Amateau

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