Volume 80, Number 29 | December 16- 22, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Stuy Town suspect caught
John Martinez, 39, who was arrested last week in New Jersey for a New York parole violation, was charged with a series of muggings in Stuyvesant Town over the past two months. On Thurs., Dec. 2, he followed a woman victim into an elevator at 525 E. 14th St. and robbed her while threatening her with an ice pick, according to charges filed with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. About 10 minutes later Martinez held up another woman at 17 Stuyvesant Oval, according to court papers. He is also charged with victimizing a woman, 63, nearby in a building in the Peter Cooper Village complex on Nov. 22. Earlier last month, the same suspect robbed three victims in The Bronx’s Co-op City complex, according to a New York Post item.
Death at SoHo House
Police arrested Nicholas Brooks, 24, of 60 Second Ave., on Fri., Dec. 10, and charged him with attempted murder and second-degree strangulation in connection with the death of the successful 33-year-old swimwear designer Sylvie Cachay. The victim was found dead in her underwear with bruises on her neck in an overflowing bathtub in SoHo House, an exclusive club hotel at 29 Ninth Ave. at W. 13th St. in the Meatpacking District. Brooks is the son of Joseph Brooks, 72, a Hollywood songwriter and director facing charges that he forced himself on 11 women he lured to his house in 2009 by promising them movie roles.
Brooks, who has lived for about a year in the East Village apartment with three roommates, was questioned for an entire day at Greenwich Village’s Sixth Precinct before he was charged with attempted murder because Cachay’s cause of death has not been determined. His picture on his Facebook page shows him puffing on a pipe commonly used in smoking marijuana. The victim lived on W. 10th St. near Hudson St. She went to SoHo House with Brooks after a small fire in her loft, according to reports. Cachay had recently told Brooks she was ending their relationship, according to articles in the daily press. A grand jury was scheduled to hear Brooks’s case on Thursday.
Photo by J.B. Nicholas
On Sat., Dec. 11, Medical Examiner’s Office personnel removed Mark Madoff’s body from 158 Mercer St., the New Museum Building, where he lived in Soho.
Madoff son suicide
Mark Madoff, 46, the son of Bernard Madoff — who is serving a 150-year prison sentence for swindling billions of dollars from countless victims — hanged himself with a dog leash on Friday night Dec. 10. Police found his body on Saturday morning in his apartment at 158 Mercer St. between West Houston and Prince Sts. The victim’s 2-year-old son was sleeping in a bedroom of the apartment and was not hurt. The victim’s dog, a Labradoodle named Grouper, whose leash Madoff used to hang himself, was also unharmed in the apartment.
No note was found on his body, clad in khaki pants, a blue pullover shirt and white sox. But he had sent e-mails to his wife, Stephanie — who was at Disney World in Orlando with her 4-year-old daughter and her mother — telling her he loved her and asking her to “send someone to take care of Nick,” their son.
Mark and his brother Andrew were the first to tell officials about their father’s scheme and insisted they told officials about the situation as soon as they learned about it. Nevertheless, Mark and his family have remained under federal investigation for more than two years and they are the target of several lawsuits. Police were seeking a subpoena for Mark Madoff’s computer and cell phone, according to a New York Post article.
$2 swipe and hit
Two women were patronizing a sidewalk food vendor in the Village around 2:50 a.m. Thurs., Dec. 12, when one of them accidentally dropped two dollar bills. A stranger picked up the money and when one of the women demanded its return, he punched her in the face and fled. Police stopped the suspect, Abdul Flynn, 46, of The Bronx, at the southeast corner of W. Fourth St. and Seventh Ave. South and charged him with robbery.
Clear teen in slay
A Manhattan jury on Tues. Dec. 14, cleared Victor Fong of the November 2009 stabbing death of Nelson Pena, 18, during a melee in front of 100 Hester St. where the Chinatown YMCA shares the building with I.S. 131 and Pace High School. Fong had admitted stabbing another victim who survived, Vincent Rivera, 17, in self-defense but insisted he was not near Pena during the melee. A video at the scene showed that Fong was across the street from the school when Pena was stabbed. Fong’s lawyer, Robert Brown, also noted that the video showed Rivera beating Fong with a pole just before Pena was stabbed to death.
Webster Hall rape
Police arrested Salim Muhammad, 20, at about 2:45 a.m. Sat., Dec. 11, and charged him with committing first degree-rape at Webster Hall, on E. 11th St. between Third and Fourth Aves. The suspect was charged with dragging a 20-year-old woman into a private bathroom at the club at 1:45 a.m., where he slapped and raped her, according to reports.
She offers bribe
A woman who was arrested at 11:30 a.m. Tues., Dec. 7, for stealing a wallet from a victim at the corner of Grand St. and Bowery and picking the pocket of another victim a few minutes later at Hester and Elizabeth Sts., was also charged with offering a $1,000 bribe to the officer who arrested her a few minutes later, according to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office. The suspect, Ha Vasko, told the arresting officer, “I’ll give you all the money in my wallet, which is over $1,000, or I can write you a check if you let me go,” according to the charges. Vasko was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending a Jan. 11 court appearance.
Two men with fake police shields around their necks burst into a store at 67 Eldridge St. at Hester St. at 3:45 p.m. Mon., Dec. 6, ran behind a counter and grabbed about $1,000 from the cash box and fled, police said. Police soon arrested David Oquendo, one of the suspects, but his accomplice was not apprehended,
Better to try a wall
Police arrested Melissa Justice, 39, around 5 a.m. Thurs., Dec. 9, on W. 10th St. near Sixth Ave. and charged her with criminal mischief after a witness reported that she spray-painted, “Jesus is a pussy,” on the hood of a car parked at the curb. The suspect was in possession of the black aerosol spray can when she was arrested, police said.
Michael Mele, of Wallkill, N.Y. was charged in Orange County last week with the Dec. 3, 2008, murder of a woman with whom he last had been seen leaving Marquee, the club at 289 10th Ave. Mele, who was on probation for a sex offense at the time, is charged with murdering Laura Garza at his Wallkill home. Although he was a subject of police interest because he and Garza were on a surveillance tape at Marquee, the case went cold because there was no trace of the victim until her skeleton was found in Pennsylvania this April. Mele was arrested shortly before being released from prison for a parole violation. Garza, 25, originally from Texas, was a dancer who had moved to Brooklyn shortly before her disappearance. A Daily News item quotes investigators as saying Mele dumped Garza’s body and also disposed of a carpet from his home and a mat from his car in order to destroy evidence of the killing.
Bad second date
A resident of 250 W. 16th St. told police on Sat., Dec. 11, that two weeks earlier he invited a man he met on the Adam on Adam Web site to his apartment for a night. The resident said he ignored the guest’s e-mail request for another date but found him in his living room two weeks later as he was coming out of the shower. The uninvited guest fled with the victim’s watch and two rings with a total value of $2,500. The victim, 54, did not know the suspect’s name.
Trapped in train gap
A 41-year-old actor was crushed and pinned between a No. 4 train and a movable platform extender at the Union Square subway station at 10 p.m. Fri., Dec. 10. Michael Dion had fallen in the gap between the train and the extender and was trapped at his waist and screaming for about a half hour before transit workers were able to release the hydraulic system and rescue him. Firefighters removed the victim from the station and an Emergency Medical Services team rushed him to Bellevue Hospital. He underwent surgery the following day and his condition was described as serious.