Volume 73, Number 43 | February 25 - March 2, 2004


Police Blotter

Vicious gang attack
Police arrested three men in a car on Market and Monroe Sts. shortly after 3 a.m. Sat. Feb. 14 in connection with a gang assault and attempted murder in which a victim was stabbed, slashed and beaten, police said.

The victim, Steven Luo, left MVP Sports Café at 45 John St. at Nassau St. at 3 a.m. when a group of about 10 Asian men attacked him with “sticks, bats, bottles and other weapons,” and left him bleeding and unconscious on the sidewalk, according to a spokesperson for District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. Luo was taken to Bellevue in critical condition.

The three defendants, Patrick Har, 22, and Steven Wong, 24, both of Knickerbocker Village on Monroe St., and Lawrence Mach, 19, of the LaGuardia Houses at 257 Clinton St., fled the scene in a white Acura and were apprehended soon after, police said. They were charged with second-degree attempted murder and first- and second-degree assault. The case is under investigation.

Village bank job
A robber stole an undetermined amount of money from the ATM’s at the Citibank branch at 555 LaGuardia Pl. at about 8 p.m. Tues., Feb. 17, after tying up two bank employees, police said. The suspect grabbed an employee as she was closing the branch, bound a cleaning woman with duct tape, then made the employee open the ATM’s and bound her before fleeing, police said.

Chelsea connection
Federal prosecutors last week unsealed the indictment of two Chelsea residents charged in a $500,000 conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, an illegal drug commonly known among club patrons as “crystal meth.”

John R. Warner, of 424 W. 22nd St., and Jeffrey D. Watson, of 210 W. 19th St., pleaded not guilty to the charges in Federal Court in Manhattan on Mon. Feb. 23 and were being held without bail.

The investigation, Operation Chelsea, by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service, took place over the past year and resulted in the earlier indictment of four co-conspirators, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

Warner and Watson were charged with storing several pounds of crystal meth in a locker in the basement of Watson’s apartment and selling the substance from both their apartments to co-conspirators who peddled it to customers around Eighth Ave. and 19th St. The conspirators bought and sold a total of 30 kilos (66.25 pounds) of meth during the conspiracy period, according to law enforcement officials.

The indictment also charges Warner, Watson and a co-conspirator, Joseph Burns, with making more than 50 deposits totaling $410,000 over the past year in various bank branches in Chelsea in order to evade federal reporting requirements for deposits of $10,000 and over.

Warner and Watson face mandatory minimum 10-year sentences and maximum life sentences in addition to forfeiture of the conspiracy proceeds and fines of up to $4 million if found guilty.

Red-paint vandal
The commanding officer of the 20th Precinct last week arrested a man suspected of squirting red paint on dozens of sports utility vehicles parked in the Village, the Upper West Side and the Lincoln Sq. neighborhoods during the past three months.
Patrick Dillon, 53, of 251 W. 122nd St., was charged with malicious mischief for squirting red paint on an S.U.V. on W. 84th St, after Capt. James Murtaugh, apprehended him at 7 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 19, on Central Park W. as Dillon was riding on a bicycle carrying three squeeze bottles of red paint.

Det. Mike Singer, community affairs officer of the Sixth Precinct, said that nine sports utility vehicles were tagged with red paint in the Village from December until the second week in February. Police are also investigating similar incidents in the East Village and West Midtown in connection with the case.

Chelsea auto death
William Morales, 30, the manager of a CVS store on Sixth Ave. at W. Fourth St., struck in a hit-and-run accident early Mon., Feb 16, on Sixth Ave. at 17th St., died of his injuries the following day in St. Vincent’s Hospital. Lawrence Anson James, 35, who was walking with Morales at the time, was taken to St. Vincent’s in critical condition.

The two were hit when a driver ran a red light, hit a westbound car on 17th St., which jumped the curb and struck the two victims, then plowed into a car parked at the curb with two people inside who were also hurt. Police recovered the hit-and-run car two blocks away but the driver had fled.

Bikers charged
Police responding to a call about men with guns went to the Hell’s Angels headquarters at 77 E. Third St. on Wed. Feb. 18 and charged Richard West, 38, with possession of a .45-caliber handgun, Alex Garcia, 34, with possession of a knife and Lawrence Connolly, 37, with possession of a knife and a dagger.

Transgender assault
A man dressed as a woman approached an off-duty cab driver standing in front of his cab at Christopher St. and Seventh Ave. at 4:50 a.m. Sat. Feb. 21 and hit him over the head with a blunt instrument when the driver refused to take him where he wanted to go, police said. The assailant fled and the driver, 37, was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital with serious head injuries.

Disco stabbing
An argument at an after-hours party on Sunday morning, Feb. 22, at Discotheque, a club at 17 W. 19th St., ended with the stabbing of a 28-year-old victim who was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in serious but stable condition, police said. Eins Echeverry, 21, of Queens, was charged with assault.

Pace suicide
Michael G. Hoppy, 19, a Pace University freshman from Geneva, N.Y., jumped to his death at 1:30 a.m. Fri. Feb. 20 from the 17th floor to the fourth-floor roof of the Maria’s Tower dormitory at 1 Pace Plaza, police said.

By Albert Amateau


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