Volume 80, Number 31 | December 30, 2010 - January 5, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Police Blotter

Meaty Pop Art heist
Burglars who broke into the third-floor loft apartment of Robert Romanoff, 39, president of Nebraska Meat Corp., at 55 Gansevoort St., sometime between Nov. 23 and Nov. 28 made off with artwork by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein valued at $750,000.
The thieves, who broke through a hallway wall into the Meatpacking District apartment, also stole watches and other jewelry and took the video recorder from the apartment’s surveillance cameras while Romanoff was away on vacation, police said.

The residence is in a five-story building served by an elevator that requires a key to operate and opens directly onto the sidewalk, according to a Daily News article. A cafe is on the ground floor, a restaurant is on the second floor and a club is located in the basement. A stairway connects the club, cafe and the restaurant but does not go as far as the third-floor location of the burglary, according to a New York Post item.

Police said the stolen works, two of which are 4 feet long, include “Thinking Nude” and “Moonscape” by Lichtenstein and “Camouflage,” a set of eight signed prints, plus “The Truck” and “Superman” by Warhol, along with an oil painting, “Live Cat,” by Carl Fudge.

Rolex, Patek Philippe and Cartier watches were among the stolen jewelry items, according to reports. The Romanoff family owns considerable property in the Meat Market district, but the family wholesale meat businesses today are located in the Bronx and New Jersey.

Police are asking the public for information about the burglary and the location of the stolen artwork. Tips should be phoned to Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477) or reported to www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text-messaged to CRIMES (274637) and entering TIP577.

Scary Soho suspect
William Woodruff, 20, was arrested on Dec. 22 and charged with three robberies in Soho and Tribeca.

The suspect was charged with trying to rob the Citibank branch at 127 Hudson St. near Beach St. on Dec. 20. He approached a teller’s window around 4:15 p.m. and said, “This is a robbery. Give me all of your large bills. Don’t do anything stupid,” according to the complaint filed with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. When the teller refused to comply, the suspect repeatedthe demand but the teller refused again and the suspect fled.

Woodruff and another defendant, Charles Smith, are charged with robbing the Choice Forex Currency Exchange, 401 West Broadway at Spring St., around 3:55 p.m. Dec. 7, the District Attorney’s Office said. Smith stood watch at the door while Woodruff went to a teller’s window, sprayed a flammable liquid in a teller’s face, pulled out a lighter and threatened to blow up the building unless he was given money. He took $1,000 and fled with Smith, running north on West Broadway, police said.

On Dec. 4 Woodruff and another unidentified accomplice stopped a pedestrian on Sullivan and Spring Sts. around 12:45 a.m. when Woodruff pulled a handgun, grabbed the victim’s jacket and forced him to surrender $80, according to the charges. Woodruff and the unidentified accomplice fled.

Police apprehended Woodruff and Smith around 1 p.m. Dec. 22 while they were peering into the window of the Forex Exchange at 401 Broadway, according to the charges.

Armed and mysterious
James O’Donnell, 39, who was arrested on March 16 on St. Mark’s Place with a dagger in his belt and a backpack containing handguns and a silencer, was indicted for criminal possession of weapons in connection with a stash of unlicensed guns and daggers that he had in his rented Manhattan Mini Storage locker at 220 South St. near Pike St.

O’Donnell told State Supreme Court Justice Bart Stone on Thurs., Dec. 23, that he had been in the military for two years but declined to be more specific. Authorities in Germany have a file on O’Donnell with 20 arrests but there is no U.S. record of him, according to a Daily News article. The indictment charges that O’Donnell has two 9-millimeter handguns, a .22-caliber pistol, three silencers, an electronic stun gun and several daggers in the South St. Mini Storage locker, along with more than 300 rounds of ammunition.

Dragged by mad cab

Police arrested a cab driver on East Houston St. on Sat., Dec. 18, and charged him with robbery, assault with a motor vehicle and reckless endangerment for stealing a cell phone from a passenger and then dragging the victim for 14 blocks after closing the window on the victim’s arm.
The driver, Eddy Brizard, 56, found a cell phone that the passenger left in the cab and demanded $20 for its return, police said. The passenger replied he did not have $20, and the driver refused to return it. When the passenger put his hand in the driver’s window to retrieve his phone, the driver raised the window, catching the victim’s arm and drove off, dragging the victim about three-quarters of a mile until police made the arrest around 4:50 a.m. on East Houston between Elizabeth St. and Bowery.
The passenger sustained nerve damage to his arm, police said.

GameStop game’s up

Police arrested Samuel Ebanks, 16, on Wed., Dec. 22, and charged him with trying to rob the GameStop store on E. 14th St. at University Place. Ebanks and an unidentified accomplice walked into the GameStop around 7 p.m. Sun., Dec. 19, and announced, “I have a weapon. Everyone put your hands up. Put the money in the bag.” The pair, however, fled while waiting for people to comply with the demand. Ebanks was arrested three days later. The accomplice has not been apprehended.

B & N bust

An employee of the Barnes & Noble store at 105 Fifth Ave. at 18th St. stopped Edward Hooper, 32, around 9 p.m. Wed., Dec. 22, as he was leaving the store without paying for seven textbooks he had taken from a shelf and stuffed into a bag. Hooper was charged with larceny.

Lost in transit
After shopping On Mon., Dec. 20, a woman sitting on the southbound E train at about 5:45 p.m. prepared to get off at the next stop — W. 14th St. and Eighth Ave. — when she realized her bag, which she had placed next to her, was gone. 

Albert Amateau


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