Volume 76, Number 53 | May 30 - June 5, 2007

Police Blotter

Sketch of taxi robbery suspect

Cab heist pattern
The seventh armed robbery of cab drivers in the Lower East Side, the East Village and Chelsea over the past two weeks took place on Delancey and Ludlow Sts. at about 8:20 p.m. Fri., May 25, police said.

The robber hailed the cab, got in the front seat next to the driver, pulled a black handgun and forced the driver to give up an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect, described as a black man between 30 and 40 years old, 6 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 3 inches tall and with a heavy muscular build, fled on foot north on Ludlow St., police said.

Police are investigating whether the same suspect held up two different cab drivers at W. 16th St. just east of Sixth Ave. on Tues., May 22, one at 12:25 a.m. and another shortly before 1 a.m. On Mon., May 21, the same man is believed to have held up a cab at Elizabeth and Bleecker Sts. at about 4:10 p.m. On Sun., May 20, at about 8:10 p.m. the robber held up a cab driver at Broome and Chrystie Sts., and on Sat., May 19, at 1:05 a.m., the same man is suspected of holding up a driver on W. 15th St. west of Fifth Ave. The first robbery attributed to the pattern was on 13th St. just west of Fifth Ave. at about 12:20 a.m. Thurs., May 17, police said.

Police are asking anyone with information to phone Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

Braunstein guilty
A Manhattan Criminal Court jury found Peter Braunstein, 43, guilty on Wed., May 23, of sexually abusing and imprisoning a woman in her Chelsea apartment for 13 hours on Halloween 2005, rejecting his defense that he was not responsible because of a brain condition.

The trial began three weeks ago after a long jury selection and took less than four hours to reach a guilty verdict on kidnaping, sex abuse, robbery and burglary. Also charged with gaining entry to the victim’s apartment by setting off smoke bombs in the hall, Braunstein was found not guilty of arson.

Sentencing will be on June 18. Braunstein faces a prison term of 25 years to life.

Braunstein is a former Women’s Wear Daily writer and his victim, 34, was a former colleague with whom he was only casually acquainted. During the trial, Braunstein’s diary was put into evidence showing his hatred and desire for revenge on a former girlfriend, also a fashion writer, and his hatred of fashion celebrities, like Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue.

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. He was also charged with robbing a man in Cleveland while a fugitive.

Teen girl robbers
Two teenage girls knocked down and severely beat a woman in an attempt to rob her in the I.N.D. Canal St. subway station on Sixth Ave. on Wednesday afternoon, May 23, police said. A witness told police that the girls, described as about 14 years old, one black and the other Hispanic, punched the victim, a Brooklyn resident, 24, about the head and face while she was on the floor while repeatedly demanding money. The suspects fled without taking anything, police said.

Pocket picked
A man on a crowded I.N.D. train at 5:10 p.m. Tues., May 22, grabbed a hand that was moving toward his front left pants pocket where he kept his wallet, police said. The pickpocket whose hand it was said, “I didn’t do anything” and fled the train at the I.N.D. Canal St. station on Sixth Ave., police said. The victim, 57, from New Hyde Park, Long Island, later discovered his credit cards were gone and that unauthorized charges had been made on them.

Gang threw it
A Staten Island man, 23, told police that someone in a gang of about 10 people threw an unknown object that struck the left side of his face while he was at the corner of Thompson and W. Houston Sts. at about 1:20 a.m. Sat., May 19. The whole gang then ran east on Houston St. to Greene St. and then south down Greene St., police said.

Booked for assault
A 12-year-old student at the second opportunity school at 555 Broome St. threw a book that hit the teacher in the right eye during a class at 10:45 a.m. Mon., May 7, police said. The teacher, 37, was treated at St. Vincent’s Hospital and the student, a Manhattan resident, was charged as a juvenile with second-degree assault. The second-opportunity school, which leases a floor in the building from The Door — a nonprofit youth services program — is run by the city’s Department of Education. It is also known as a “suspension school.”

Resisting drug bust
A narcotics squad officer making an arrest of a marijuana suspect in front of 305 W. Broadway between Canal and Grand Sts. at 12:45 p.m. Wed, May 16, sustained an injury to his left elbow and left shoulder when the suspect resisted, police said. Patrick Rance, 24, who gave a Chicago address, was charged with resisting arrest and marijuana possession.

Bag stolen
A woman patron of the Cipriani restaurant at 376 W. Broadway between Broome and Spring Sts. told police she had left her bag for a moment on a bench in the restaurant at about 1:30 a.m. Wed., May 23, and found it missing when she returned a few minutes later. The victim, 22, a Manhattan resident, recalled that an unidentified woman came and sat next to her on the bench while she was talking to a friend. The woman was gone when the victim returned to find the bag gone with her cell phone, credit and ID cards and $830 in cash.

Claims watch gone
A guest from San Francisco at the Soho Grand Hotel, 310 W. Broadway, told hotel management that he left a watch valued at $5,688 on a night table in his room at about 5 a.m. Sun., May 20, and discovered at 8:30 a.m. that it was gone, police said. The visitor, 26, claimed a room service waiter had delivered a food order and left it on the table at 5:30 a.m. while he was watching television. The hotel sent a staff member to the room to help search for the watch and the waiter was interviewed but no watch was recovered, police said.

Tough 9th Ave. trio
Police arrested three men for assaulting two men and a woman at the northeast corner of Ninth Ave. and 17th St. during the early hours of Sun., May 20. Charged with assault were Kenneth Huff, 21; Samuel Huff, 17; and David Vasquez, 19, who was also charged with possession of a weapon, a gravity knife.

Singing the blues
A fight among patrons in Mott Karaoke, a club on Mott St. near Pell St., at about 3 a.m. Sun., May 27, left a 31-year-old man with stab wounds, police said.

Albert Amateau

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