Volume 75, Number 27 | November 23 - 29, 2005

Police Blotter

Crowe flies free
Russell Crowe, 41, the Academy Award-winning actor charged with assault for throwing a telephone and hitting a desk clerk at The Mercer, a Soho hotel at 147 Mercer St., last June, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge on Fri. Nov. 18 in Criminal Court and received a conditional sentence of no jail time if he is not arrested for one year.

The plea, arranged with the district attorney’s office and accepted by State Supreme Court Justice Kathryn Freed, means the actor is not barred from working in the U.S. The felony assault originally charged against Crowe is punishable by up to seven years in prison and would have prevented Crowe, as a felon, from working in this country.

Crowe was staying at The Mercer last June when he threw the telephone at Nestor Estrada, the desk clerk, and cut him below the eye after an argument over the hotel’s inability to connect the actor with his wife in Australia. Crowe made a public apology to Estrada in August and settled a civil claim for a reported $100,000.

Dozens of shouting and pushing photographers were waiting on the sidewalk for Crowe’s arrival at the courthouse on Nov. 18, but the scene in the courtroom was quiet but crowded. Gerald Lefcourt, Crowe’s attorney, told reporters later that Crowe and his wife, Danielle Spencer, both flew back to their home in Australia immediately after the court proceeding.


Arrest for bank jobs
Police arrested a suspect in at least 16 bank robberies in the past four months on Fri. Nov. 18 shortly after he is alleged to have walked out of a Banco Popular branch on Second Ave at E. 25th St. with $2,000.

The suspect, Lewis McGraw, 46, was arrested buying clothes at a store on E. 100th St. in a neighborhood where police learned he had been seen after previous robberies.

The series of robberies involved demands for money but no weapons and was believed to have netted the suspect a total of $50,000, police said. Among the previous robberies was one on Nov. 14 from a bank branch on W. 27th St. and Seventh Ave. where the bank clerk passed money with a red dye pack that exploded, but the suspect discarded the exploded dye pack and money and walked away, police said.

Albert Amateau

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