West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 13 | Aug. 29- Sep.04, 2007

Police Blotter

Villager photo by Lorcan Otway

Smoke gets in your eyes
On Monday afternoon, a paper fire in Chinatown at 283 Grand St. briefly flared and caused irritating smoke. Several fire companies responded and put out the blaze before much damage was done to the building. The fire was in the ground-floor front unit, so a number of people were forced to stay inside until the fire was put out, sitting on the fire escape or hanging out windows for fresh air. There were no injuries.

Killed by drunk driver
One of five men unloading produce from a van parked at a restaurant on Seventh Ave. S. at Grove St. was killed at 7:20 a.m. Sat., Aug. 25, when a speeding S.U.V. driven by a man later charged with drunk driving crashed into the back of the van.

Antonio Barranco, 36, pinned between the van and the S.U.V., was declared dead at the scene, and a co-worker, Luis Romero, 25, also pinned between the two vehicles, was seriously injured. Augusto Bravo, and his nephew Eric Bravo, 11, were also working on the van at the time. Augusto sustained facial cuts and Eric sustained minor injuries. Romero was said to be in serious but stable condition at St. Vincent’s Hospital. The driver of the delivery van, Victor Bravo, father of the boy, was just coming out of the restaurant, Mercadito Grove, when the crash occurred.

The van, from Rivera Produce of Englewood, N.J., was delivering produce to various Village restaurants.

The driver of the S.U.V., Christian Robinson, 35, of East Orange, N.J., came out of his car, a white Lincoln Aviator, and wandered around until police arrested him and charged him with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, driving while intoxicated and a related charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Witnesses said the S.U.V. was speeding south on Seventh Ave. S., apparently trying to make the light at the intersection of Grove and Christopher Sts. Robinson swerved to avoid a cab and hit the brakes just before the crash, witnesses said. He was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail pending an Aug. 30 court appearance.


Fake plumbers
Police are looking for two suspects who pose as plumbers to gain entrance to the apartments of elderly women. One of them asks to look at bathroom or kitchen plumbing while the other enters another room and steals whatever cash is to be found.

On Mon., Aug. 20, at noon, the pair convinced a woman, 81, to let them into her Stuyvesant Town apartment at 435 E. 14th St. and stole $400 from her bedroom.

An hour later, they entered the apartment of a woman, 91, at 105 W. 72nd St., and made off with $1,500.

Both suspects were described as white or Hispanic, between 40 and 45 years old, and with mustaches and wearing baseball caps. One was said to be about 5 feet 6 inches, weighing between 170 and 200 pounds and wearing glasses. The other was described as 5 feet 9 inches and weighing about 220 pounds.


Flagrant foul
Rafer Alston, 31, a Houston Rockets guard, was arrested on Tues., Aug. 28, and charged with second-degree assault for slashing the neck of a fellow patron of Stereo, the club at 512 W. 29th St., during an early-morning brawl Mon., Aug. 27, police said. According to a Daily News article, a bouncer at the club said, “No one was stabbed,” but acknowledged that he had led Alston and his brother out of the club after the dispute. The victim, Wilbert Ashman, 41, picked Alston out of a lineup at the 10th Precinct. Alston was released on his own recognizance pending a Jan. 3, 2008, court appearance. He was arrested Aug. 5 in Houston and charged with spitting in the face of a parking attendant during an argument.


Hit by Bobcat
A member of the Hamilton-Madison Senior Center was slightly injured at 9:09 a.m. Tues., Aug. 28, when a New York City Housing Authority Bobcat hit her in front of the Hamilton-Madison center at 50 Madison St., police said. The Bobcat was moving garbage dumpsters in the Alfred E. Smith Houses where the settlement house is located. The victim, Chieu King Lai, 73, was treated at Bellevue Hospital and released later that day, according to a Hamilton-Madison House spokesperson.


Not brightest bulb
Akeem Woodson, 20, a former Con Edison security guard, was arrested on Fri., Aug. 24, and charged with robbery and possession of stolen property in connection with a holdup at the Con Edison plant at 801 E. 14th St. at 10 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 23, police said. Woodson is charged with holding two of his former fellow security guards at gunpoint and making off with two surveillance cameras, according to the office of District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. He is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail pending an Aug. 30 court appearance.


Burglary arrest
Police arrested Stephen Morgan, 66, at 7:20 p.m. Fri., Aug. 17, for breaking into the office of Tudor Realty Service, 256 W. 15th St., via a fire escape window. The suspect was apprehended inside the office and nothing was reported stolen, police said.


Village mugging arrest
Police arrested Daniel Neal, 20, of the Bronx, on Fri., Aug. 24, and charged him with beating and robbing a woman at 7 a.m. Wed., Aug. 22, while she was waiting for a bus at Christopher and W. 10th Sts. Police said Neal and an accomplice not apprehended punched the victim, Bernadeta Berman, 57, knocked her down, and ran off with her bag. Neal was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail pending an Aug. 30 court appearance.


Right-arm slasher
Police are seeking a suspect in three slashing assaults on women, two on the Lower East Side and one in the Flatiron District. On Aug. 17 at 1:24 p.m., the suspect, a tall, slim black man between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 11 inches, slashed a woman, 35, on the right arm as she was walking south on Chrystie St. south of Delancey St. and fled. On July 16 at 12:30 p.m., a man with the same description slashed a woman, 46, on the right arm as she was walking west on Grand St. toward Chrystie St. The same day about an hour later, he slashed the right arm of a woman, 32, walking west on W. 32nd St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves.


School mischief
A school safety agency was charged with criminal mischief and suspended from duty for deliberately scratching a car parked at the curb at 293 E. Broadway near P.S. 134 at 7:30 p.m. Tues., Aug. 21. The owner of the car said she saw the suspect, Lemuel Whiteside, 55, scratching the car and that he ran into the school when he noticed her watching him.


Charged in stabbing
Donald Michel, 20, was arrested on Aug. 13 after his fingerprints were found to match the prints on the van belonging to a man who was stabbed during a fracas in Chelsea on July 20, according to the office of District Attorney Morgenthau.

The D.A. said the July 20 incident began when Michel and two accomplices not apprehended challenged a group of men on Christopher St. at 1:30 a.m. The victims fled in their van to a gas station on W. 14th St. at 10th Ave., followed by Michel, who stabbed one of the men, age 30, and chased him onto the West Side Highway where a car hit him. Michel then chased another victim, 47, to W. 16th St., and stabbed him several times. The two victims were treated for injuries that were not life threatening. Michel is being held on first-degree assault charges in lieu of $30,000 bail pending a Sept. 26 court appearance.


Brawl and chain
Police arrested Thomas Conni, 41, in Tompkins Square Park on Saturday evening, Aug. 18, and charged him with robbing one man at knifepoint and beating another man who came to the robbery victim’s aid.

Conti put a knife to the face of Sherman Sichler, 21, at 5:20 p.m. in the park at Avenue A and E. Ninth St. and took $70 from him. When John Pierson, 34, tried to retrieve the money, Conni took a chain out of his backpack and beat Pierson on the back and neck, according to the office of D.A. Morgenthau.

Conni is being held in lieu of $17,000 bail pending an Aug. 30 court date.


Three muggers charged
Police arrested three men on Wed., Aug. 22, and charged them with assault and robbery for punching and kicking a victim, 44, on Catherine Slip at the F.D.R. Drive at 1:50 p.m. and running off with the victim’s gold chain. Robert Tinsley, 31, Enrique Trinidad, 39, and Neftali Trinidad, 40, were being held this week in lieu of $10,000 bail pending grand jury action.

Albert Amateau


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