Bank St. muggings
Police are investigating a pattern of three muggings that victimized Village women during the week of April 2-7 on Bank St. near W. Fourth St. The robber approached the victims from behind, knocked them to the ground and fled with their handbags, police said. The suspect may have had an accomplice following behind on a bicycle, according to police.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly last week announced the creation of a scholarship fund in honor of the two auxiliary police officers, Nicholas Pekearo and Eugene Marshalik, who were shot to death by a crazed gunman on the night of March 14 on Sullivan St. after they pursued him. The Auxiliary Police Scholarship Fund will provide money for education for auxiliary police officers. Donations to the fund may be made to the Police Foundation. Call 212-751-8170 for more information.
Missing from home
Theodore Smalls, about 50 years old and in poor mental condition, has been missing from his home at 127 E. 30th St. since 11:45 a.m. Wed., April 25, police said. The missing man was described as a black man, 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing about 265 pounds and last seen wearing a black winter coat and blue jeans with an ID card around his neck.
The first witness on April 30 in the trial of Peter Braunstein charged with arson, impersonating a firefighter and sexually abusing and imprisoning a woman in her Chelsea apartment on Halloween 2005 was the victim, who told the jury of her harrowing ordeal.
A former writer at Womens Wear Daily who knew Braunstein only by sight in the office, the victim, 35, whose name was not revealed, told of being chloroformed, tied to a bed naked, sexually abused and videotaped while her mouth and eyes were taped during an imprisonment that lasted for nearly 13 hours.
The trial is expected to last until June.
Braunstein is charged with gaining access to his victims W. 24th St. apartment by setting off smoke bombs in the hallway and convincing her to open her door because he was dressed as a firefighter.
A fugitive for six weeks, Braunstein was the subject of a multi-state police alert before he was captured in Memphis, where he slashed his own neck as police closed in. Braunstein has indicated he would seek acquittal by reason of insanity.
A teacher at P.S. 11, at 320 W. 21st St., anxious about a frequently absent student who had come to class with a partly bald haircut and dirty clothes, called the childs stepmother in for a meeting on Tuesday morning April 24. According to the police, the teacher was threatened by the woman, who responded to questions with an obscene expletive and the statement Ill get you. The case is under investigation.
Judge Celia Gordon on Mon., April 30, upheld the arrest and conviction of Geoffrey Blank, who was charged in 2003 and 2004 with using an electrically amplified megaphone without a license to make speeches in Union Square Park. Blank, who represented himself in the trial, argued that the ordinance requiring a license to use an amplified megaphone violated his constitutional right to free speech. Gordon ruled that the license was not an abridgment of free speech, but she did not sentence Blank to any jail time. The trial attracted more than two dozen supporters of Blank, including Lynne Stewart, the radical lawyer found guilty in 2005 of transmitting a message from a convicted-terrorist client to his supporters.
Sunburn and heartburn
Security guards at the Rite Aid at 188 Ninth Ave. near 21st St. stopped John Stafford, 56, on Monday afternoon April 23 and charged him with trying to walk out with three packages of sunblock valued at $27, police said.
Right Aid security guards at 282 Eighth Ave. at 24th St. stopped Leonard Vaughn, 45, at 7 p.m. the same day and charged him with trying to walk out with 33 boxes of Prilosec, an over-the-counter heartburn remedy, police said.
Police charged two students, both 16, at Humanities High School, at 351 W. 18th St., with vandalism. One student was arrested Fri. April 13, for putting his BREADZ tag on school property, and the other student was arrested a week later on April 20 for spraying his STYLES tag on school property.