Volume 78 - Number 40 / March 11 -17, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Villager photo by J.B. Nicholas

Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler leaving City Hall last Wednesday after talking to reporters about how he wrestled down a robbery suspect.

Soho’s Skyler, deputy mayor, tackles teen BlackBerry bandit

By J.B. Nicholas

As Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler, 35, who lives in Soho, was on his way to dinner in Midtown around 8 p.m. Tues., March 3, he heard a woman scream for help near the corner of the Sixth Ave. and 48th St. The woman, Victoria Kress, 41, of West Orange, N.J., had been typing an e-mail on her BlackBerry, when a teenaged mugger had snatched it out of her hands.

Skyler saw the robber running in his direction down the middle of the street. The deputy mayor, who stands 6 feet 4 inches tall, charged into the street, tackling the thief and pinning him to the ground.

“I was just telling him, ‘You know, you’re staying here, the police are going to come,’” Skyler said later in a press conference.

However, three of the young thief’s friends appeared and demanded their friend be let go. There was pushing and shoving, Kress recalled, between Skyler and the four.

“The kid kind of wrestled free,” Kress was quoted as saying in news reports. Skyler pursued the group briefly before looking over his shoulder and, seeing the woman alone, deciding to go back and make sure she was O.K. Neither Skyler nor Kress was hurt.

As for the BlackBerry, Skyler was able to retrieve it before the youth slipped away, and returned it to Kress. When police arrived, Skyler did not right away say he was a deputy mayor. After Skyler gave his name, which no one immediately recognized, a police officer asked for his address. Skyler, according to Kress, asked if the officer wanted his residential or work address. When the officer said either was fine, Skyler gave City Hall’s address.

The next day, Skyler meet with reporters in City Hall’s rotunda. When a reporter asked if he would do it again, he replied, “I am comfortable with what I did, and I would do it again.”

As of press time no arrests had been made.

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