Volume 75, Number 23 | Oct. 26 - Nov. 01, 2005

Police Blotter

Soho truck break-ins
The driver of van for Urban Express, a delivery service, parked in front of 441 Broadway between Howard and Grand Streets shortly after 1 p.m. Tues. Oct. 18 and returned at 1:30 p.m. to find that burglars had entered the van and made off with four garment bags of clothes, police said.

A short time later, the driver of a FedEx truck who parked at the northwest corner of Broome and Wooster Streets to make a delivery, returned at 1:45 p.m. to find that thieves broke a lock on the truck door and took several packages, police said.

Village subway fire
A fire that started at about 8 a.m. Fri. Oct. 21 in the electrical wiring of a room near the north end of the A, C and E platform at the West Fourth Street subway station halted train service, including D, B, F and V lines, at the height of rush hour, according to Fire Department and Transit officials.

There were no reported injuries to passengers, who were evacuated from the crowded smoke-filled platforms, but about 12 firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation. Firefighters were hampered because it took a half-hour before third-rail power could be shut off without stranding trains. The three-alarm fire, which brought 138 firefighters to the station on Sixth Avenue, was brought under control at 11:16 a.m. and full train service was restored at 12:15 p.m.

Con Ed smokes
Overheated wires in a Con Edison transformer under West 21st Street just west of Seventh Avenue, at 9:13 a.m. Fri. Oct. 21 produced heavy, acrid smoke conditions that overcame a 10th Precinct police officer, Sandy Sandoval, who was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital for treatment, according to fire, police and Con Edison officials. A Con Edison crew repaired the wires at about 10:30 a.m. and the last of the 30 firefighters who responded to the alarm left at 11:20 a.m.

Elsewhere, in the East Village, a smoking Con Edison service box on Avenue B between 12th and 13th Streets, on Mon. Oct. 24 was repaired by a Con Edison crew at 10:52 p.m., but no power outages were reported. Neighbors, however, said phone service was out, although neither Verizon nor Con Edison had any explanation for the phone interruption.

Negligent homicide
Police Officer Bryan Conroy, 27, was found guilty of negligent homicide in a nonjury trial on Fri. Oct. 21 in connection with the May 2003 shooting death of Ousmane Zongo, 43, an unarmed West African immigrant in a corridor of Chelsea Mini Storage on West 27th and West Streets.

Conroy’s second-degree manslaughter trial earlier this year ended with a jury deadlocked at 10-2 for conviction. In the nonjury trial requested by Conroy’s lawyer, Stuart London, Judge Robert H. Straus dismissed the more serious manslaughter charge and found Conroy guilty of the lesser negligent homicide, punishable by up to four years in prison. Sentencing was set for Dec. 2. Police officials said Conroy, who had been suspended since the shooting, would be dismissed from the department.

At the time of the shooting, Conroy was a member of a plainclothes squad conducting a raid on a counterfeit DVD operation in the warehouse. Zongo, who worked at repairing African artifacts stored in the warehouse, was not involved in the counterfeit ring. Conroy said that five shots, four of which hit Zongo, were fired in a struggle when the victim tried to take his gun after he said he was a police officer.

Sanford Rubenstein, attorney for Zongo’s family, said the conviction would clear the way for a $150 million civil action against the city filed in federal court.

Elevator shaft death
Raul Perez, 34, superintendent of an office building at 110 Lafayette Street south of Canal Street, fell to his death down an elevator shaft on Fri. Oct. 21, police said. Perez, a Valley Stream, L.I., resident, was apparently investigating a broken elevator when he fell through an open elevator door on one of the higher floors of the 10-story building.

Fatal Village overdose
A resident at 42 Grove Street found her boyfriend, Joseph Paone, of 70 Amsterdam Avenue dead in her bathroom of a heroin overdose on Friday evening Oct. 21, police said. A hypodermic needle and syringe were found at the victim’s feet.

Beaten for bag
A gang of four or five men stopped a pedestrian on West 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues at 3:50 p.m. Sat. Oct. 28 and demanded his bag, police said. The victim ran west and ducked into a deli at 131 West 28th Street but the robbers followed and began beating him after he threw the bag behind a counter. When the deli employee said he was calling police, the gang fled without taking anything, police said.

Surrender in stabbing
Vincent Rogers, 54, gave himself up to police at the 13th Precinct at about 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon Oct. 21 in connection with the stabbing of his neighbor at 145 East 23rd Street during an argument. The victim was taken to Bellevue hospital with stab wounds in the chest and hand. Rogers was charged with first-degree assault.

Freed after 14 years
David Lemas, imprisoned 14 years ago for the murder of a bouncer at the former Palladium nightclub on East 14th Street, was freed Wed. Oct 19 after State Supreme Court Justice Roger S. Hayes vacated the conviction on the grounds that new evidence and new witnesses have turned up that cast doubt on Lemas’s guilt.

But the Manhattan district attorney’s office said last week that prosecutors intend to retry Lemas for the murder of Marcus Peterson on Nov. 23, 1990. Lemas, however, remains free on $100,000 bond. Olmado Hidalgo, convicted with Lemas for the Peterson murder, was freed by Justice Hayes in July and was deported to the Dominican Republic because of an unrelated gun charge.

Another man, Joey Pillot, told police in 1994 that he and a friend, Thomas Marales, had killed Peterson. Attorneys for Lemas and Hidalgo say the two men convicted for the murder were not even at the Palladium (now the site of a New York University residence hall) on the night of the murder.

Albert Amateau

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