Volume 79, Number 37 | February 17 - 23, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Police Blotter

By Al Amateau

Greenwich Ave. fire
A two-alarm fire raged through the Village Paper Party Store at Greenwich Ave. at W. 10th St. at 7:16 a.m. Tues., Feb. 9, destroying the interior of the one-story building, where the owner, Sun Wong, has been doing business for 20 years. About 100 firefighters, hampered by the snowstorm, responded to the blaze. Two firefighters sustained minor injuries after part of the ceiling collapsed, but no other injuries were reported. A children’s toy store next door was also damaged. The Village Paper building was previously occupied by Sutter’s Bakery. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Transformer blast
A fireball rose higher than seven stories, scorching the facade and blowing out windows of a 108-year-old building at 641 Sixth Ave. in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District in Chelsea around 11:30 a.m. Thurs., Feb. 11, after a Con Edison electrical transformer exploded in a vault beneath the sidewalk.

No one was injured in the building, located between 19th and 20th Sts. The blast brought more than 100 firefighters to the scene. Sixth Ave. between 14th and 20th Sts. was closed to traffic for a few hours, but office workers in the former Simpson Building were allowed to return after firefighters went through the building and knocked out remaining glass in damaged windows.

For more than an hour before the blast, smoke rose from a manhole in front of the building, and the odor of burning prompted employees to call 911, summoning several fire trucks, which had left the scene before the blast occurred. A Con Ed spokesman said the explosion was under investigation.

Brutal sex attack
Police arrested Christopher Konneker, 30, on Mon., Feb. 8, and charged him with brutally sexually assaulting a woman, 32, in his apartment at 175 Mulberry St. at 3 a.m. on Jan. 31. The suspect, who met the victim in a Brooklyn club, brought her to his apartment, penetrated her anus with his finger and choked her until she passed out, according to the complaint filed by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. When she regained consciousness she was bleeding and covered in blood from the waist down, and had lacerations of the anus, two black eyes and a swollen neck and head from the strangulation, the complaint said. Konneker is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail pending a court appearance on two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and two counts of second-degree assault.

Bank robbery busts
Police arrested Robert Krieg, 42, and John Gregg, 32, and charged them with a series of bank robberies ranging from Midtown to Chelsea and the Village. In two of the robberies, Krieg waited outside and hailed a cab while Gregg went in, passed a demand note and took the money, after which both fled in the cabs, according to the complaint filed by District Attorney Vance.

Tellers in some of the banks refused to comply with the notes, some of which said, “I have a gun and I’ll shoot you,” the complaint says.

Krieg was arrested Feb. 13 when a dye pack exploded after a robbery at the Chase branch at 158 W. 14th St., and Gregg was arrested the following day.

Their other holdups were at a Capital One branch at 101 W. 14th St.; a Banco Popular at 441 Second Ave. at 25th St.; a Valley National branch at 159 Eighth Ave. at W. 18th St.; a Bank of Smithtown branch at 127 Seventh Ave. at W. 18th St.; an Emigrant Savings branch at 371 Seventh Ave. at W. 31st St.; and a Capital One branch at Sixth Ave. and 42nd St.

DOA investigate
Police responded to a 911 call at 1:30 a.m. Tues., Feb. 16, to the Medical Arts building at 314 W. 14th St. and found a white man, 51, unconscious. An Emergency Medical Service team responded but the victim was declared dead at the scene 10 minutes later. No criminality was suspected but the case is still being investigated.

6th Ave. stabbing
A Manhasset, L.I., man got into an argument on the northeast corner of Sixth Ave. and W. Fourth St. at 11:50 a.m. Fri., Feb. 12, with a stranger who stabbed him in the left thigh and fled in a late-model VW Jetta, police said. The license plate number was traced to Javier Herreria, 37, of the Bronx, who was charged with felony assault.

Craigslist con
Police arrested Gerald Degeralomo, 65, on Tues., Feb. 9, and charged him with stealing two rings, with a total value of $90,000, from a woman who had offered them on Craigslist. The defendant met the victim at a restaurant on Greenwich Ave. on Oct. 22, and received the rings, which the seller had put in a bag. At the restaurant, Degeralomo left his own bag, which was supposed to have the money, but it was empty, police said.

Stormy attempt
A resident of 471 W. Broadway near W. Houston St. was snug indoors at 6:45 p.m. Wed., Feb. 10, at the end of the snowstorm, but he heard a noise coming from his bedroom and went to check it out, police said. A man dressed all in black had broken a widow lock and was trying to enter but fled when the resident appeared.

Teen mugging team
Three teenagers came behind a man on the northeast corner of Sixth Ave. and Broome St. as he was leaving work at 9 p.m. Sun., Feb. 7, and grabbed his hands, police said. One of the muggers said, “Give me what you have,” and they all fled after taking $20 and the victim’s cell phone. The victim said the muggers looked like they were 14 or 15 years old.

Struck with stein
An Upper West Side resident, 21, told police he got into an argument with a woman patron around 3 a.m. Sun., Feb. 7, in Greenhouse, the club at 150 Varick St., and she hit him on the left side of his face with a beer stein and fled. The victim was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital and required four stitches to close the 3-inch gash on his face.

Art burglar
The owner of a gallery at 64 MacDougal St. just south of Houston St. told police on Tuesday afternoon Feb. 2 that someone took an abstract painting valued at $5,000 from a storefront display window. There was no sign of forced entry.

Steal-uccino
A woman, 28, who was talking to a friend at Starbucks at Varick and Spring Sts., around 2 p.m. Wed., Feb 10, turned to find that her bag, which she had put on the table next to her 20 minutes earlier, was stolen, police said. Gone with the bag were her Canadian driver’s license, iPod and cell phone.

Albert Amateau

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