Volume 79, Number 45 | April 14 - 20, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Police Blotter

Hate assault arrests
The parents of three teenagers — two girls, age 15 and 12, and a boy, 15 — turned them over on Friday evening April 9 to police, who charged them with hate-crime assaults on five elderly Asian women on the Lower East Side between March 31 and April 5.

The victims, between the ages of 50 and 71, were attacked in or near housing projects and sustained cuts and bruises.

One victim, 50, was assaulted at 1:20 a.m. Wed., March 31, in the lobby of 90 Pitt St. in the Gompers Houses. A 60-year-old victim was assaulted at 9:20 p.m. the same day at 577 F.D.R. Drive in the Baruch Houses; a surveillance tape from that night shows two girls and a boy entering a building while two boys waited outside.

On Sat., April 3, the suspects assaulted a woman, 71, opposite 120 Baruch Drive in the Baruch Houses at about 6:40 p.m. At 12:30 p.m. on Sun., April 4, a victim, 66, was assaulted in the lobby of 95 Baruch Drive in the Baruch Houses. At 11 p.m. Mon., April 5, a victim, 68, was assaulted on the sidewalk in front of 247 East Broadway at Montgomery St.

Names of the suspects were not disclosed because of their ages. Elected officials, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilmembers Margaret Chin, Rosie Mendez and Peter Koo, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, state Senator Daniel Squadron and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, told a news conference on Friday that violence and intolerance would not be tolerated. Quinn said she was especially saddened because the day before she was in Staten Island protesting an April 5 hate assault and robbery against a man from Mexico. Quinn said she believed that racial slurs were used in the Lower East Side attacks.

Fatal on Delancey St.
A Lower East Side man was struck and killed by a car while crossing Delancey St. at Essex St. at 4:55 a.m. Mon., April 12, police said. The 2003 Mazda was traveling west on Delancey when it hit the victim, Hector Vera, 45, of 312 Delancey St. He was pronounced dead at the scene by E.M.S. The car’s driver remained at the scene, and police do not suspect any criminality. Residents of the neighborhood said they were offended that the body remained at the scene under a sheet as late as 7:30 a.m. and the car also remained with evidence of blood and its windshield smashed.

Villager photo by John Penley

Joel Pakela, a.k.a. L.E.S. Jewels

Jewels in jail
Joel Pakela, 40, of 18 Bleecker St., who pleaded guilty on April 2 to assaulting a man in his apartment on April 1, is being held pending a June 1 sentencing date, said a spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.

The victim met Pakela, a.k.a. L.E.S. Jewels, at The Urge, a gay bar on Second Ave. near E. Second St., and invited him to his Mercer St. apartment, police said. When Pakela began punching the victim in the face, others in the apartment called police, who arrested the defendant after a struggle, according to court papers. The victim sustained a broken orbital bone and was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital.

Pakela, who calls himself a “gutter pirate,” is known to hang around Tompkins Square Park and Avenue A where he goes by the street name L.E.S. Jewels.

He previously served eight months in jail during 2007 and 2008 for an aggressive-panhandling incident on Avenue A when he choked a man and raised his cane at him in what police said was a threatening manner.

Caddy A.T.M. theft
Police are looking for two men who hitched their Cadillac with a chain to an automatic teller machine at 125 Sullivan St. near Prince St. around 1:50 a.m. Wed., March 31, pulled the door off and fled with an undetermined sum. Their four-door black Cadillac Brougham, model between 1987 and 1991, had oversized chrome rims added. The suspects were described as black males, one about 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds, in a black coat, hooded sweatshirt, pants and boots, and the other about 5 feet 10 inches, 250 pounds, in a black leather coat, black pants and shoes, dark hooded sweatshirt and wearing a baseball cap.

Anyone with information is asked to phone Crime Stoppers, 800-577-TIPS (8477) or log on to www.crimestoppers.com or text 273637 (crimes) and enter TIPS577.

East Village burglaries
Police are looking for a man wanted in a series of nine burglaries in the East Village between March 10 and April 3. The suspect entered two apartments at 410 E. 13th St. on March 1, entering a sixth-floor apartment through a window at 7:30 a.m. and a third-floor apartment at 6:30 p.m. through the roof and a sliding door. On March 12, he entered an apartment at 416 E. 11th St. at 4 p.m. through a rear door. He burglarized two apartments on March 14 when he entered a fourth-floor apartment through a window at 316 E. 11th St. at 6 p.m., and at 8 p.m. entered an apartment at 121 St. Mark’s Place through a window. He hit two apartments on March 17, one at 7 p.m. at 339 E. Ninth St. through a window, and the other at 11 p.m. at 343 E. Ninth St., entering from the roof. On March 20 he entered an apartment at 207 Avenue B through a window at 1:49 a.m., and on April 3 at 10:10 p.m., he entered an apartment at 153 Avenue C through a window. Police said the suspect fled with assorted personal property from all nine locations.

Pleads in N.Y.U. murder
Michael Cordero, 26, pleaded guilty on Wed., April 7, to manslaughter in the strangling death of his girlfriend, Boitumelo (Tumi) McCallum, 20, in her mother’s Washington Square Village apartment in August 2007. Prosecutors said they agreed to a plea bargain after consulting with the victim’s mother, Teboho Moja, a professor at the N.Y.U. Steinhardt School of Education, and her father, Robert McCallum, an adjunct art professor. The killing occurred during an argument in the apartment where the victim, a Mills College student, was staying while her mother was traveling. The victim’s body was discovered three days later. The plea bargain calls for Cordero to be sentenced on April 28 to 25 years in prison.

Driver assaulted
A man driving in front of 140 W. 13th St., just west of Sixth Ave., around 10 a.m. Thurs., April 8, was stopped by a stranger who opened the car door and punched him in the nose, police said. Joshua Barrow, 40, was charged with third-degree assault.

Village rage
A suspect started yelling at a 24-year-old man on the southeast corner of Seventh Ave. and W. 11th St. at 9:15 p.m. Sun., April 11, punched him in the face and then kicked another man, 42, in the small of the back, police said. Edgar Hernandez, 20, was charged with third-degree assault.

Construction damage
Excavation at a site of a planned eight-story residential project at 265 East Houston St. near Suffolk St. on Thurs., April 1, caused a crack in the four-story building next door at 255 East Houston St. where a daycare center, Action for Progress, is located. No one was in the center when cracks in the facade compromised the building’s structural integrity, according to the Department of Buildings. Contractors for the 265 East Houston St. project told D.O.B. that the cracks appeared as they were excavating holes for foundation supports for the residential project.

The city issued a stop-work order at 265 East Houston but ordered the contractor to stabilize the structure of 255 East Houston St., which was closed pending completion of the work. On Tues., April 13, the shoring was complete, but the building was being monitored until Wednesday for movement. If the building proves stable, the department will allow the daycare center to reopen if it passes an inspection. The partial stop-work order at No. 265 will remain until the contractor analyzes the cause of the cracks in the adjacent building and files a plan to ensure the safety of 255 East Houston St., a D.O.B. spokesperson said.

Albert Amateau

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