Volume 80, Number 42 | March 17 - 23, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Police Blotter

Baruch murder arrest
Seventh Precinct detectives arrested a Baruch Houses resident on Sat., March 12, for the Feb. 12 stabbing murder of a woman in an elevator of 555 F.D.R. Drive in the Baruch complex of the New York City Housing Authority.

Markeece Dunning, 19, a resident of an 11th-floor apartment in the building where the body was found, was charged with second-degree murder and is being held pending a March 18 court appearance.

The victim, Jomali Morales, 42, a resident of the Seward Park Co-op, was a half-sister of a New York Police Department detective and a former model. She had been out with friends and spent part of the evening in O’Hanlon’s, a bar on E. 14th St., according to a New York Times article

Dunning, who has 11 prior arrests, admitted to police that he stabbed the victim, according to a New York Post item.

Massage-parlor robberies
Three men arrested on Wed., March 2, were charged with first- and second-degree robbery in connection with three knifepoint holdups of massage parlors in Chinatown and on the Upper East Side.

Juan Carlo Zorrilla, 19; Christian Esclera, 17; and Albert Esclera, 18, entered a massage parlor at 219 Canal St. between Mulberry and Baxter Sts. around 7:15 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 23, held the attendant at knifepoint and forced her into the bathroom after grabbing her cell phone, according to the complaint filed with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. They fled with $200 from the till, police said.

On Fri., Feb. 25, the three suspects entered a massage parlor at 128 Baxter St. near Hester St. around 10 p.m. and forced two employees into the bathroom after taking a bag with a cell phone and $115 from one victim and taking $31 from the other victim’s bag, according to the criminal complaint. They fled with $355 from the register, police said.

About two hours earlier that day, they entered another massage location at 1105 Lexington Ave., held a victim at knifepoint and forced her into the bathroom, where she showed them her empty purse. Fingerprints of one of the suspects were found on the cash register. Police did not say what, if anything, was taken from the Lexington Ave. location. The three suspects were in jail pending a March 30 court appearance.

Fell — or jumped?
A West New York, N.J., woman, 26, fell or jumped to her death from the 26th floor of a residential building in Tribeca at 101 Warren St. near Greenwich St. during a beer party during the early hours of Tues., March 8, police said. The body of Hana Lim, was found later that day on the fifth-floor roof on an adjacent Barnes & Noble. Her cell phone was found near the body and police suggested she may have fallen over a balcony rail while trying to retrieve the phone.

Suicide was also seen as a possibility after a friend revealed that the victim, in New York from Korea on a student visa that was about to expire, did not want to return home. The two men who lived in the apartment had gone out to buy more beer and did not see the victim when they returned, according to reports. They searched the public areas of the building and concluded the victim had left. A sixth-floor resident saw the victim’s body at daybreak and called police.

East River floater
A police harbor unit responded to a Wednesday morning March 9 call about a body in the water off 286 South St. between Rutgers Slip and Cherry St. and found the badly decomposed body of an unidentified man. The Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the cause of death.

Punch-up robbery
Police arrested two men on Thursday morning March 10 and charged them with choking a victim, 49, and punching him in the eye in front of 72 Christopher St. near Seventh Ave. South around 5:10 a.m. and taking $120 from his pocket. Davon Rice, 27, and Chester Jackson, 49, were charged with robbery.

Fights during arrest
Sixth Precinct police who were called to the southeast corner of Sullivan and Bleecker Sts. at 2:55 a.m. Sat., March 5, about a man wildly screaming at pedestrians had a rough time arresting the suspect. The man grabbed one cop’s neck in a pressure grip for a half-minute and nearly rendered him unconscious. The suspect continued to resist arrest but another officer was able to handcuff the suspect. The injured officer was treated for pain, swelling and bruises to his neck, police said.

Bus driver’s record
The driver of the Chinatown discount bus in which 15 passengers returning from the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut were killed in a crash during the early hours of Sat., March 12, had been convicted of a 1990 manslaughter, grand larceny and multiple traffic violations.

Ophadell Williams, 40, has a commercial driver’s license despite having been arrested once for speeding and twice for driving without a license — all within eight days of each other in 1995 — according to articles in the Daily News and the Post.

Williams, who passed a breath-alcohol test after the accident, said that a passing tractor-trailer truck hit him, but police found no evidence of the other vehicle. Police and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the circumstances of the incident.

In February, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and state Senator Daniel Squadron proposed legislation requiring permits for discount buses like World Wide Tours, which operated the bus in last Saturday’s accident. The bus hit a highway sign stanchion after it veered off the road at a high rate of speed just inside the Bronx city line, and had its roof almost entirely peeled off at the level of passengers’ heads.

Plucked at Strawberry
A woman with her 6-year-old son in tow was arrested in Strawberry, 38 W. 14th St., around 3:30 p.m. Sat., March 12, and charged with removing security tags from clothes that she took from the store’s racks, police said. The suspect, Shanell Jackson, 31, was in possession of a device to remove the tags and was carrying merchandise stolen from Nordstrom and DSW Shoe warehouse, police said.

Visitors fleeced
A woman visiting from Kalamazoo, Mich., told police she was in Greenhouse, the club at 150 Varick St., around 2 a.m. and put her bag on the table to talk with two men who struck up a conversation with her. She discovered the bag was gone when she wanted to pay for a round of drinks, and so were the two gents. The victim, 22, lost a digital camera valued at $420 and $300 in cash.

A man visiting from Copenhagen was shopping in the Steve Madden store at 529 Broadway at Spring St. on Sun., Feb. 27, when he put his bag down around 7 p.m. while trying on a pair of shoes, police said. Shortly after, he discovered the bag was gone, along with his iPad, apartment keys and designer sunglasses.

A woman visiting from Boulder, Colo., paid for her coffee on Sunday afternoon Feb. 27 at Cafe Cafe on the northeast corner of Greene and Broome Sts. but discovered that her wallet had been stolen around 1 p.m. after she entered another shop nearby, police said.

Open coatroom
A woman, 28, who left her $700 jacket in the untended coat room of Bistro Argentine, 343 West Broadway at Grand St., on Fri., Feb. 26, discovered it was gone at 1 a.m., along with $140 cash and personal ID, police said.

M.T.A.: He was drunk
A report by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the man who became pinned between a platform extender and a No. 4 train at the Union Square subway station in December 2010 “appeared to be drunk at the time of the incident.” The report said the train’s conductor observed a beer can beside the victim, who “appeared to be inebriated.” The victim, who was injured but survived, denied being drunk, and his lawyer said that two witnesses would testify that a drunken man had placed the beer can beside the victim, who was screaming for help. The victim, Michael Dion, has filed notice that he is suing the M.T.A. for $15 million.

Albert Amateau

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