Volume 74, Number 13 | July 28 - August 03 , 2004

Police Blotter

Lower East Side death
Police found a 22-year-old Queens man unconscious and mortally wounded with a puncture wound to the chest at 4:15 a.m. Sat. July 24 in front of 65 Jefferson St. in the LaGuardia Houses complex. Joseph LoCascio, of 150-09 95th St., Ozone Park, was taken to NYU Downtown Hospital where he was declared dead at 5 a.m. There has been no arrest and police are investigating the case.

Still crazy, but a danger?
The jury in the sanity trial of Daniel Rakowitz last Tues., July 20, ruled that while he is still insane, he is not dangerous. The verdict means that Rakowitz — who was found innocent by reason of insanity in 1989 for the murder of his girlfriend, Monica Beerle — could be transferred to a less-secure psychiatric facility. Since the 1989 verdict, he’s been housed at the maximum-security Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Hospital on Ward’s Island. Jennifer Kushner, a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, said that both the defense and prosecution must now submit paperwork to the court on the issue of whether Rakowitz is dangerous, at some point after which Justice Donna Mills will make her ruling.

Gramercy robbery
Sidney Williams, 18, of Jamaica, Queens, was indicted last week for the July 1 robbery of a woman, 57, at 28th St. and Third Ave. Police said Williams ran up behind the victim at about 5:45 a.m. while she was walking to work, pushed her into a wall and grabbed her bag from her shoulder.

The woman, who sustained a knee and leg injury in the attack, phoned 911 and police apprehended the suspect 10 minutes later on Lexington Ave. at 24th St. Police said Williams was carrying mail that belonged to the victim, her cell phone, $30 in cash and a wallet with a credit card in her name. He was charged with second-degree robbery and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

Hudson Sq. shooting
Police arrested David Robinson, 38, on July 22 and charged him with attempted murder in connection with the July 20 pointblank shooting and wounding of a worker at a Hudson Sq. construction site. Also arrested and charged with second-degree assault in connection with the case was Gerard Martin, 22, Robinson’s son and fellow worker of the victim, Juan Jose Isaza Mazo, 23.

The shooting at 499 Greenwich St. was the climax to a trivial argument over an apple and a bottle of soda between Martin and Mazo, who had longstanding issues with each other, said Capt. Michael Hurley, commanding officer of the First Precinct.

According to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Martin called his father on a cellphone and gave the phone to Mazo. The victim told police that Robinson said, “I’m going to get you,” the information says.

At 1 p.m. Robinson arrived at the second floor of the construction site, got involved in the argument between Mazo and Martin and then pulled a pistol and fired, grazing Mazo. The D.A.’s information goes on to say, “Both defendant Robinson and Martin kicked [Mazo] while he lay on the floor after collapsing from being shot, and both men then fled the scene.”

Subway takeout
Police are seeking a suspect in a series of armed robberies of Subway sandwich shops, the earliest at 5 p.m. Thurs. July 22, at 55 W. 14th St. The suspect, described as a black man of medium height and build with a prominent 4-inch scar on the right side of his face, entered the stores, demanded money at gunpoint, and fled with a undetermined amount of cash from each location, police said.

On Sat. July 24, he robbed the Subway shop on Broadway near W. 37th St. at 5:30 p.m. and a few minutes later he hit the shop at 17 E. 17th St. A half hour later, the robber held up the Subway branch on Third Ave. near E. 109th St.

On Sun. July 25 at 12:20 p.m., he robbed the Subway shop at 120 Fourth Ave. at E. 13th St. and later that day he robbed the branch on Myrtle Ave. in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, police said.

N.Y.U. trustee charged
Charles Kushner, a New York University trustee and real estate operator who has made generous political donations, mostly to Democrats, was charged on July 13 in Federal Court in Newark with hiring a prostitute to trap a potential witness against him in a tax-fraud case.

Kushner, who was being investigated for violations of federal election laws as well as tax fraud, is charged with hiring a prostitute in November 2003 to seduce the potential witness and having photos taken of their sexual relations in a New Jersey motel by unnamed co-conspirators. The pictures were mailed to the potential witness and his wife in May, the charge says. The witness and his wife, however, brought the pictures to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which investigated and charged Kushner with witness tampering.

Kushner is also charged with hiring another prostitute in December 2003 to trap a second potential witness against him, but the victim refused to get involved. Kushner was released on $5 million bail on July 13 and his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said he was confident Kushner “will be completely vindicated.”

Benefactors of Kushner’s political largess include New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, Senator Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, Senator Charles Schumer and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Kushner became an N.Y.U. trustee last December, according to the Washington Sq. News. He had indicated that he intended to donate the Puck Building on Lafayette and Houston Sts., owned by his family foundation, to the university.

John Beckman, spokesperson for the university, declined to comment on Kushner or his contributions to N.Y.U.

Reward for information
The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the Jan. 12, 2003, shooting death of Burke O’Brien, of Ft. Collins, Col., in front of his friend’s apartment at 75 Orchard St. was raised last week from $30,000 to $50,000. Police are looking for a light-complexioned black or Hispanic man about 5 ft. 11 in. and 175 pounds wearing a red jacket and blue jeans at the time of the murder. The victim’s friend, Forrest Bloede, had been arrested in connection with the case, but was released and is no longer a suspect.

Subway death
Police said a man identified only as white and 54 years old fell to his death at about 10 a.m. on Mon. July 26 in front of a southbound A train in the 14th St. subway station at Eighth Ave. No criminality is suspected.

23rd St. alert
A suspicious package at the Chelsea Clearview 9-plex movie theater at 250 W. 23rd St. at 1:30 p.m. Mon. July 26 brought police and emergency units to the scene and caused the temporary evacuation of the theater. The package proved to be harmless.

Albert Amateau

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