Rapist claims insanity
Robert Gottlieb, attorney for Peter Braunstein, the freelance writer charged with the rape and imprisonment of a woman in her Chelsea apartment on Halloween of last year, said in court on March 23 that Braunstein would claim insanity in his trial later this year.
Braunstein, 41, is charged with gaining access to his victims W. 24th St. apartment dressed as a fireman after setting fires in the hall. The defendant is alleged to have raped and held the victim for 12 hours in her apartment before fleeing. He was arrested in December in Memphis, Tenn., where he slashed his neck as police closed in on him.
He is due to appear in court again on April 27.
Charged in Falls murder
Darryl Littlejohn, bouncer at The Falls, at 215 Lafayette St. where Imette St. Guillen was last seen alive on Feb. 25 before her brutalized and bound body was found in a Brooklyn wetland, was charged with her murder on March 23.
Littlejohn, 41, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Brooklyn, at which the mother, sister and a close friend of the victim, a John Jay College graduate student, attended the proceedings.
Littlejohn, who was on parole for a criminal conviction, was working illegally as a bar bouncer at the time of the murder. A witness said he saw Littlejohn leave The Falls with the victim, and others told police they saw a van similar to Littlejohns making a U-turn near where St. Guillens body was found. Blood on binding ties found with the body were said to match the defendants. Fibers found with the body also matched clothes and a rug found in Littlejohns Queens apartment not far from where the body was found, according to police.
A State Liquor Authority spokesperson said earlier this month that the agency has temporarily suspended an investigation into whether Littlejohns employment at The Falls would warrant denial of a liquor license renewal. Daniel Dorrian, of the Dorrian bar-owning family, owns The Falls.
He didnt tell police the full details of Littlejohns interaction with St. Guillen on the night of her disappearance until a week after the crime.
Police arrested Elliot Osher, 45, a co-owner of Scores, the strip club at 536 W. 28th St., shortly after midnight on Thurs. March 23 for first-degree assault in connection with the stabbing of a former Scores employee on 27th St. and 10th Ave. near the rear door of the West Chelsea club.
The victim, Bekir Balaban, 36, told police that he got into a cab when the suspect and several associates came at him after a shouting match. Balaban said an Osher associate grabbed him by the leg, pulled him from the cab and held him while Osher slashed his arm and shoulder and stabbed him in the back, piercing his lung. With the help of friends, Balaban managed to get into a car and be driven to St. Vincents Hospital where he received 30 stitches to close his wounds, according to daily newspaper reports.
Osher pleaded not guilty and was freed on $15,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear again in court June 14.
Last month, other Scores executives, including Oshers brother, Harvey, and Richard Goldring, were indicted for falsifying tax records in order to avoid taxes on income of $3.1 million. Elliots daughter, Cheryl Osher, 28, a Scores bookkeeper, was also charged in the tax case. The defendants in the tax case have all pleaded not guilty.
Tax scam arrest
Police from the Manhattan district attorneys squad and the Midtown South Precinct arrested two Manhattan men on March 22 for defrauding tax preparers by providing forged tax forms in connection with a tax refund scam.
Myles Rappaport, 63, an Upper West Side resident, was charged with defrauding H & R Block and other tax preparers in Chelsea, the Village, the Lower East Side and other locations of $28,459 and attempting to take another $45,772 in the scam.
Reginald Oliver, 45, of 18 Bleecker St., was charged with taking part in the fraud and was arrested March 22 as he attempted to defraud an H & R Block office on E. 43rd St. of $9,500, according to the charges.
Rappaport is charged with providing 16 clients, including Oliver, with fake W2 forms and W2G (gambling winnings) forms that the clients presented to the tax preparers, who gave them checks for loans in anticipation of tax refunds. Rappaport would allow the clients to keep $500 and gave $500 to an unapprehended conspirator who recruited the clients and kept the rest of the money for himself, according to the charges.
The tax preparers, who were not aware they were being defrauded, included H & R Block offices at 144 W. 14th St. and 170 W. 23rd St., Popular Tax at 287 E. Houston St. and Federal Tax Service at 171 W. 29th St.
Rappaport and Oliver are subject to prison terms of four years if convicted. Others involved are still being sought.
A California woman stole a flatbed truck from a storage area on Allen St. near the Manhattan Bridge at about 2:30 a.m. Wed. March 21 and took it on a wild ride Downtown, careening down Water St., hitting several vehicles, including three police cars, and ending on State and Bridge Sts. where she hit a fire hydrant, police said. Erin T. Packham, 38, who gave police a Rancho Mirage, Cal., address, was charged with grand larceny auto, driving while intoxicated, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest. She sustained a head injury and was taken to Bellevue Hospital where she underwent surgery last week. She reportedly had been arrested 10 times since 1990 in California and Oregon on traffic charges.
Teen in trouble
A teenager who was drinking from an open beer container at the corner of Greene and Spring Sts. at 12:30 a.m. Tues. March 21 fled when an officer approached, and when he was apprehended swung his arms wildly and hit the arresting officer, police said. The suspect, 15, was in possession of a forged New York State identity card and was charged as a juvenile, police said.
Got the picture
A resident of Greene St. between Broome and Spring Sts. became suspicious of a man sitting in a car parked across the street from his apartment at 11:30 p.m. March 15, so he took a photo of the car, police said. The resident then went up to the car and asked the man what he was doing there. I going to break that f-ing camera, replied the man, who got out of the car and punched the resident several times in the face. By the time the resident returned to the scene with police, the suspect and the car were gone, police said. The resident managed to get a photo of the cars license plate.
Five boys between the ages of 14 and 16 were arrested on Tuesday afternoon March 21 at the southeast corner of Mercer and Grand Sts. for attacking a 17-year-old male, punching him, breaking his glasses and stealing his hat, police said. Anticrime officers from the First Precinct made the arrests.
First Precinct anticrime officers arrested a man for trying to steal a car from a driver at 7:15 p.m. Wed. March 22 on Prince St. just east of Thompson St. The suspect, Daniel MacMasters, 43, punched the driver, dragged him from behind the wheel of the car a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria and got into the drivers seat, but the victim managed to fight him off, police said. The suspect fled into the arms of the plainclothes officers.
An argument between two employees at Atwater America Graphics, at 350 Hudson St. between King and Charlton Sts., at 3 p.m. on March 17 turned violent when one of them picked up a tool, hit the victim in the face and punctured an eardrum, police said. The assailant fled.