Volume 76, Number 44 | March 28 - April 3, 2007

Villager photo by Esther Martin

Saddle up, pardnuh!

An officer from Mounted Unit Troop B took his horse out of the troop’s new stable at Pier 76 at W. 35th St., which also houses a Police Department auto two pound. The troop, which mainly patrols in Times Square, recently relocated from Pier 63 at W. 23rd St. so that the Chelsea pier can be redeveloped as part of the Hudson River Park.

Police Blotter

Jane St. burglaries
Three apartments at 61 Jane St., all with terraces, were the targets of burglars during the March 18-24 week, according to residents. In two March 26 letters to residents, the management confirmed the three burglaries and said access to the apartments was from terrace windows, apparently reached by a sidewalk shed in front of the building. Sixth Precinct police are investigating the burglaries.

Hostage sentence
Steven Johnson, 39, convicted of holding 15 people hostage at gunpoint in an East Village bar nearly five years ago and shooting and injuring three of the victims, was sentenced Wed., March 21, to a total of 240 years in prison by State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley.

Johnson was convicted of holding patrons of Bar Veloce, 175 Second Ave. near W. 12th St., at gunpoint on a June day in 2002, dousing several of them with kerosene during the rampage, shooting and severely injuring a man on the sidewalk and shooting him again inside Bar Veloce, shooting another man in the hand who was standing on the sidewalk when Johnson fired from inside the bar, and shooting a woman in the leg who, with another patron, jumped him and subdued him.

Johnson, who has AIDS and whose wife had died of AIDS just before the crime, had sought a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. There was a mistrial in the case in 2004.

Pier 40 rescue
A marine rescue firefighter pulled a man trapped beneath Pier 40 at W. Houston St. to safety on Wednesday night March 21. Alerted by Hudson River Park employees, a Fire Department Marine Unit 1 boat pulled up to the pier at 11:40 p.m. and Firefighter John Rizzo went into the water in a dry suit with a tether line, according to a Daily News article.

Despite the darkness, Rizzo found the victim, Messaud Boutamime, 23, who apparently had fallen into the river and gotten swept under the pier. Firefighters on the rescue boat pulled them both to safety. There was only about a foot of air space between the water and the bottom of the pier, according to reports.

Scores hearing
The State Liquor Authority is holding a March 28 hearing on its liquor license suspension of Scores West, the West Chelsea strip club at 536 W. 28th St.

The agency summarily revoked the license on Feb. 21 after police arrested four strippers and two male managers on prostitution charges on Jan. 25. The defendants pleaded not guilty in Criminal Court and are free pending court appearances next month.

Scores is still selling alcohol pending an S.L.A. decision following the authority’s administrative law hearing at 10 a.m. today at the State Office Building in Harlem. The three-member authority is expected to decide on the issue within the next few weeks.

Guns and drugs
Law enforcement officials secured indictments on March 21 of three men charged with drug and gun trafficking over the course of a year in Brooklyn and on the grounds of the Al Smith Houses on South St.

The defendants, one still being sought and identified only by the nicknames of “Big Man” and “Rock,” were the subject of a yearlong investigation that included undercover police making buys of guns, crack cocaine and heroin, according to Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Peguy Desir, 27, known as “Pete,” and Joshua Pierre, 30, known as “Honda,” and the defendant identified as “Rock” are charged with selling a total of 83 guns to undercover agents.

The trafficking involved buying drugs in New York, selling them at a profit in Virginia and buying the guns in Virginia for sale at a profit in New York, according to Morgenthau. In December 2006, the defendants began selling guns and drugs in front of 182 South St. in the Smith Houses grounds just north of the Brooklyn Bridge, according to the indictments. The defendants were arraigned March 26 and are being held pending an April 16 court appearance or posting of $1 million bail each or bond of $500,000 each.

Purse-snatch bust
Police arrested a homeless man who tried to snatch the purse of a woman on Sixth Ave. at W. 12th St. at about 10 p.m. Wed., March 21. The victim held onto the bag and the suspect tried to hit her with a concrete block but missed. He was arrested on W. 14th St. near Seventh Ave.

A.T.M. robbery
A visitor from France was robbed at knifepoint by a man who followed him into a Bank of America A.T.M. on Broadway near W. Houston St. at 9 a.m. Wed., March 14, police said. The victim, 24, lost $100 in cash and credit cards. He later discovered that $200 in unauthorized charges had been made on a credit card.

King St. burglary
A resident of King St. between Sixth Ave. and Varick St. discovered that her front door was unlocked when she returned from work on Thurs., March 8, and found her dog locked in the bathroom, police said. Her dresser drawers were open and jewelry valued at between $7,000 and $10,000 was stolen. Police said there was no sign of forced entry.

Cleaned out
A motorist who brought his car to a carwash at 124 Sixth Ave. near Broome St. at 8 a.m. Mon., March 19, discovered that his wallet, which he had placed in the glove compartment, was gone when he went to pay for the wash, police said.

Off-duty D.W.I.
An off-duty Sixth Precinct police officer was charged with driving while intoxicated after he crashed his car into a parked vehicle at 6 a.m. Tues., March 20, at Delancey and Suffolk Sts., police said. Only the driver, Michael Matlack, 24, was injured. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.

Chairs are for sitting
Police charged Edwin Ortiz, 45, with assault on an acquaintance in his apartment in the Robert Fulton complex in Chelsea on Tues., March 20. Police said Ortiz went on a rampage and broke a wooden chair over the resident’s head, smashed a mirror, a fish tank and other pieces of furniture and menaced the victim with a knife.

D.W.I. bust
Police charged Jerry White, 46, with driving while intoxicated after they stopped him making an illegal turn onto W. 14th St. from Ninth Ave. at 12:20 a.m. Mon., March 19, and found he had trouble standing when he got out of his car. White told police he had three beers but refused to take an alcohol test, police said.

Manhole fire
A short circuit in a Con Edison electric cable beneath Broadway between Grand and Broome Sts. caused a fire at about 9:45 p.m. Sat., March 24, and forced residents to evacuate 475 Broadway, a Con Edison spokesperson said. The residents were allowed back home after an hour and there was no interruption in service, the spokesperson said.

Albert Amateau

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