Volume 75, Number 30 | December 14 - 20, 2005

Police Blotter

Fatal Canal St. accident
One man died and another was injured at 8:06 p.m. Sat. Dec. 10 when a car coming off the Manhattan Bridge skidded on an ice patch, plowed into a cab and then struck two pedestrians at the notoriously dangerous intersection of Bowery and Canal St.

Police said Wad Lin Ya, 42, was crossing the street when the car ran him over. He was declared dead at Bellevue Hospital and another Asian man, 52, not otherwise identified by police, was taken to Bellevue in stable condition.

The incident was deemed an accident and the driver, Brian Leaver, of Saugerties, N.Y., was not charged.

A Transportation Alternatives study of pedestrian-auto accidents during the three-year period of 1999-2001 showed two deaths and 14 injury accidents during the study period at the Canal St./Bowery ramp at the Manhattan Bridge.

Warehouse slay sentence
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Straus on Fri. Dec. 9 sentenced former Police Officer Bryan Conroy to five years probation and 500 hours of community service in connection with the May 2003 shooting death of an unarmed African immigrant during a police raid in a storage warehouse on 27th and West Sts. in Chelsea.

Straus had found Conroy guilty of criminally negligent homicide but not guilty of manslaughter in a nonjury trial in October after a jury last year failed to come to a verdict.

Conroy shot Ousmane Zongo, from Burkina Faso, who worked repairing African artifacts stored in the warehouse, during a raid by police in plainclothes on a counterfeit CD operation. Zongo was not involved in the counterfeit scheme but he encountered Conroy in a warehouse corridor while the officer was guarding seized goods while the other officers had gone to look for suspects in other parts of the building.

During the sentencing last week, Justice Straus sharply criticized the Police Department for inadequate training and for poor leadership of the raid.

Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said later that the N.Y.P.D. has already made changes in the way such raids are conducted and is investigating whether there were lapses in supervision in the May 2003 raid.

Stuart Landon, Conroy’s lawyer, said he was glad there was no jail sentence but said he would appeal the conviction. Sanford Rubenstein, the lawyer for Zongo’s family, has filed a wrongful death suit against the city.

Chelsea DOA’s
Police found the body of John Ostrosky, 61, in his apartment at 370 Eighth Ave., near W. 28th St. at 2:40 p.m. Sun. Dec. 11. There was no sign of trauma and the medical examiner’s office is investigating the cause of death.

Police found the body of Barbara Silkes, 63, at 9:45 p.m. Fri. Dec. 9 on the floor of her apartment at 455 W. 34th St. at Tenth Ave. Police said Silkes had a history of medical problems and the medical examiner’s office is investigating the cause of death.

Village drug death
The resident of an apartment at 30 W. 11th St. called police at 9:30 a.m. Fri. Dec. 9 when he found his girlfriend, Eileen Napoli, 27, dead. Police said the man told them the victim had taken the prescription drug Xanax after the couple had snorted heroin after dinner the previous night. There was no arrest.

Soho holdup
The owner of a candy store at 16 Thompson St. between Canal and Grand Sts. was standing outside the shop on Friday morning Dec. 9 when a man dressed all in black and wearing a black face mask walked up to him at 9:45 a.m. wielding a silver handgun with a red barrel and said, “Get in the store and open the register before I shoot you,” according to police. The robber fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

N.Y.U. bomb hoax
A freshman at New York University’s film school was arrested on Tuesday night Dec. 6 after placing a fake bomb on a friend’s dormitory door causing the building to be evacuated for about an hour, according to police.

Robert Lockhart, 19, of Teaneck, N.J., acknowledged to university security officials and then to police that he had placed the realistic device with a note on the doorknob of his friend’s first-floor room at 1 E. Second St. around 6 p.m.

The device, made of two bricks of black clay with a timer, wires and a circuit board, was intended as a prank, said Lockhart, who thought his friend would recognize the handwriting on the attached note that said, “Enjoy your present,” according to a New York Post article.

It took police more than half an hour to determine the device, which Lockhart had made as part of a film project, was a fake.

“Since 9/11, it’s hard to imagine a dumber or more tasteless joke — It’s exceptionally unfunny,” said John Beckman, an N.Y.U. spokesperson. Lockhart was arraigned on Dec. 7 on charges of planting a false bomb. He is to appear again in court on March 28.

In a similar fake-bomb-related incident two years ago, in December 2002, a School of Visual Arts student planted 38 black boxes in the Union Square subway station with the word “FEAR” written on them as part of an art project, causing the station to be shut down for five hours.

Albert Amateau

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