Volume 77 / Number 28 - December 12 - 18, 2007
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

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HALSTEAD PROPERTY


A crowd of 3,000 people waited to get into the new Apple Store on W. 14th St. last Friday.

Police Blotter

Sentenced in extortion
Joseph Strillacci, 46, charged in July with forcing the landlord of a Union Square commercial building to lease him the property at half the going rate, was sentenced to four to eight years in prison on Thurs., Dec. 6, after a plea of guilty to grand larceny and attempted extortion.

Strillacci had told the owner of 857 Broadway on the east side of Union Square at 17th St. that he wanted to lease the property for 10 years at $22,000 per month for the first year with annual 3 percent increases. The estimated rate for comparable property was $45,000 per month. Strillacci was charged with threatening to hurt the landlord unless he signed a lease on those terms.

The landlord alerted the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and took part in the investigation that led to Strillacci’s arrest.


Car break-in
A Brooklyn man who parked his car on the south side of W. 16th St. just east of Eighth Ave. on Sat., Dec. 1, at 11:10 p.m. came back 10 minutes later and found the front passenger-side window broken and his global positioning system and his blazer gone, police said.


Find fake gun
A man walked into the Sixth Precinct police stationhouse in the Village at about 3 p.m. Wed., Nov. 28, and turned in a leather holster with an imitation black handgun that he said he found in the Chelsea Waterside Park at the northeast corner of 12th Ave. at W. 23rd St., police said.


Cell phone robbed
An unidentified thief came up behind a victim who was talking on his cell phone headset on the northeast corner of Bethune and Greenwich Sts. at about 8 p.m. Fri., Dec. 7, and demanded the phone, police said. The thief reached into the victim’s left coat pocket, removed his BlackBerry and fled south on Greenwich St.


Arrested in Georgia
A suspect in the Nov. 23 fatal stabbing of a hip-hop follower outside Duvet, the club at 45 W. 21st St. near Sixth Ave., was arrested in Atlanta, Ga., on Wed. Dec. 5, and was brought to New York on Dec. 6, according to a spokesperson for Robert Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney.

Anthony Taylor, 26, of Brooklyn, was charged with second-degree murder for stabbing Shamel McKinney, 25, to death outside the club. McKinney, who had an arrest record for robbery and drugs, was identified as a friend of the hip-hop performer Fabolous, whose real name is John Jackson. Police said Fabolus was in the club that evening. But a spokesperson for the rapper said he was not there at the time. Police found a bloody 7-inch knife in a nearby dumpster.

The dispute between Taylor and the victim began inside Duvet at about 3:30 a.m. and ended with McKinney bleeding from multiple stab wounds in front of the place, police said. The victim was declared dead an hour later at St. Vincent’s Hospital.

McKinney, the father of two young children, may have been involved in an attempt to steal gold chains that Taylor was wearing, according to reports.

Auto crimes
A woman who parked her car at the curb on the north side of W. 12th St. east of Greenwich St. at noon on Mon., Dec. 3, returned at 7:40 p.m. and found the driver’s-side window broken and various items stolen from the glove compartment, police said. A man who parked his car on Barrow St. near Seventh Ave. S. at about 9 p.m. Sat., Dec. 8, returned at 6:30 a.m. the following day and found it had been stolen.


Watch those bags
A woman put her wallet and cell phone next to her in the Market Place Café, 394 Sixth Ave., at 5:30 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 6, and discovered them gone when she looked for them a few minutes later. A woman patron of Shoe Mania at 30 E. 14th St. put her bag on a bench at 3 p.m. Wed., Dec. 5, when she went to a mirror to try on a pair of shoes and returned a few minutes later to find the bag was gone.

A woman patron of Tavalon tea bar and restaurant, 22 E. 14th St., put her bag on the counter at 4:40 p.m. Tues., Dec. 4, while she stepped away for a moment and returned to find it had been stolen; the theft was recorded on a surveillance camera, the manager told police.

A woman employee of Kate’s Paperie, 8 W. 13th St., put her bag in an unlocked locker at the store at 2 p.m. Mon., Dec. 3, and returned at 4:30 p.m. to discover the bag missing. She learned later that a $76 unauthorized charge had been made on one of her credit cards.

A New York University student left his backpack on his chair for a moment at 11 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2, at the Bobst Library and returned to find the bag unzipped and his wallet and credit cards gone.


Palladium slay acquittal
David Lemus, 38, was acquitted on Thurs., Dec. 6, in his second trial of the 1990 murder of a bouncer outside the Palladium on E. 14th St., for which he has spent more than 13 years in prison. In 2005, the convictions of Lemus and a co-defendant, Olmedo Hidalgo, of the murder of the bouncer Marcus Peterson, were thrown out after new evidence emerged. Hidalgo was freed and deported, but the Manhattan D.A. retried Lemus, who was found not guilty of second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder. The Palladium disco closed in 1998 and the site was redeveloped as a New York University residence hall.


Car stripping
Police arrested Juan Silva, 22, and Georibert Estevez-Francisco, 27, during the early hours of Sun., Dec. 2, and charged them with stripping a headlight from a 2007 Lexus parked at W. 10th and Greenwich Sts. at 3 a.m. and a short time later with prying the grille off a 2002 Nissan Maxima parked at W. 12th and Washington Sts. The two were charged with criminal mischief.


Washington Sq. DOA
The homeless woman whose lifeless body was found between two chess tables at the southwest corner of Washington Square Park at 1:47 a.m. Sun., Dec. 2, has been identified as Jameezah McCline, 37. There was no sign of trauma on the body. The Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the cause of death.


Avenue D assault
Police arrested Ramon Benitez, 52, at 11:45 a.m. Mon., Nov. 26, and charged him with assault for hitting a victim, 32, in the head and shoulder with a metal pipe at the can-and-bottle redemption center on Avenue D at E. Fifth St.


Voodoo vamoose
Maritza Tamayo, former principal of Unity Center for the Urban Technologies School at 121 Sixth Ave. on the edge of Soho, charged with illegal use of school funds and with sponsoring a Santeria ceremony purported to cleanse the school of evil energy last year, agreed last month to resign. Tamayo had acknowledged earlier to a Conflicts of Interest Board inquiry that she borrowed money from an assistant principal at Unity Center to pay for the Santeria ritual and had used school funds to pay a friend $350 to drive students to and from state Regents exams. No students were present at the ritual, which involved a sacrificed chicken and a white-robed celebrant.

In a Nov. 15 agreement, Tamayo agreed to be demoted from principal of the school to teacher and to resign as teacher in August 2008.


Fights with guard
A school safety agent at Chelsea Career and Technical High School, 131 Sixth Ave., stopped a girl, 16, at the door at 8:50 a.m. Wed., Dec. 5, at which point a boy, 16, intervened and both struggled with the guard. The two youths were charged with obstructing government administration.


Robs Village bank
A man wearing a full-length coat, a cap and dark glasses walked into the Washington Mutual branch at 340 Sixth Ave. at W. Fourth St. in the Village at 12:42 p.m. Tues., Dec. 4, passed a note to a teller demanding money and fled with an unspecified amount of cash.

Mother’s jewelry
Police arrested Mariela Astacio, 23, on Tues., Dec. 4, and charged her with grand larceny for stealing a box of jewelry from her mother’s apartment at 512 E. 12th St. near Avenue A at about 3 p.m. Oct. 8. Police said the mother told them she saw Astacio leaving the apartment with the jewelry box under her coat. The contents of the box, which included watches and earrings, were pawned before the suspect was arrested, according to the District Attorney’s Office.


Prostitution arrest
Gaefu Zheng, 53, and Goubing Liu, 50, were arrested at 6:20 p.m. Tues., Dec. 4, at 137 E. Broadway between Pike and Essex Sts. and charged with promoting prostitution, according to a district attorney spokeserpson. When an undercover officer entered the building, Zheng asked him if he had been there before and after the officer said, “Yes,” Zheng and Liu offered him two prostitutes for $35 each. On hearing the offer, the undercover called backup officers who were waiting outside.


Soho purse pick
Lynn Vaughn, 42, who was arrested Aug. 12, for stealing a wallet at 3 p.m. from the bag of a shopper at 104 Prince St. near Greene St., was arrested again on Dec. 3 when police discovered that she was suspected of stealing another wallet the same day 10 minutes earlier at Canal and Mercer Sts. She was being held this week in lieu of $10,000 bail on charges of grand larceny and possession of stolen property, according to a D.A. spokesperson.


Grand St. robbery
Police arrested two men, Ronald McCullogh, 17, and Otis Harris, 19, in the basement of 504 Grand St. in the Grand St. co-op on Tues., Dec. 4, and charged them with second-degree robbery for stealing $40 from a victim, 41, who was taken to the hospital after the 11:40 a.m. incident. A spokesperson for D.A. Morgenthau said the circumstances of the incident are still under investigation.


Big haul
Police arrested Shani Jordan-Goldman, 27, on Broadway at Bond St. on Mon., Dec. 3, and charged her with second-degree grand larceny after a man complained that she had managed to extract $319,000 from one of his Commerce Bank accounts by wire. According to a spokesperson for the district attorney, $130,000 of that money was deposited by wire in Jordan-Goldman’s Commerce Bank account. She was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail. Law enforcement sources did not say how the money was stolen.


Packed a wallop
An argument between two men at 11:45 a.m. Mon., Dec.3, on the southwest corner of Spring and Varick Sts. ended when one man hit the other in the face with a piece of packing-crate wood and fled, police said.

Albert Amateau


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