Volume 74, Number 31 | December 08 - 14, 2004

Police Blotter

Chelsea fatal
A Chelsea resident was struck by a car and killed while crossing 34th St. at 11th Ave. at 11:30 a.m. Tues, Nov. 30, police said. The victim, Shanmuga Muruganandapindi, 40, of 409 W. 21st St., was declared dead at St. Vincent’s Hospital. The driver of the car stopped at the scene and was not arrested, police said.

Subway fires
A string of electrical fires on the Sixth Ave. subway tracks near the W. Fourth St. station in the Village shortly before 1 p.m. Wed., Dec. 1, sent heavy smoke surging through several stations, halting service on the B, D, F and V lines and causing delays for several hours on the A, C and E lines as trains were rerouted. Five people were reported slightly injured.

More than 100 firefighters converged at W. Fourth St., where smoke was heaviest. Stations at Spring St., 14th St. and Broadway-Lafayette St. were also seriously affected. By 4 p.m. service was restored on the Sixth Ave. lines but delays persisted.

Earlier on Wednesday, a subway train derailed near the Herald Sq. station forcing the evacuation of about 60 passengers. The relationship between the derailment and the fires was under investigation.

Bag taken
A woman who left her bag on the back of a chair at a restaurant at 589 Broadway between Prince and W. Houston Sts. for a few minutes at 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 22 returned to find it missing, police said. The bag contained her pearl earrings and credit cards.

Cars stolen
A man who parked his rental car at the corner of Varick and King Sts. on the morning of Nov. 19 returned at 2 p.m. to find it missing, police said. A man who parked his van near the corner of Broadway and Grand St. on Nov. 30 returned at 4:30 p.m. and found it missing.

Canal vendor robbed
A food vendor on Canal St. near Thompson St. told police that another vendor started an argument about smoke coming from the food cart around 4:30 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 4. The victim said the attacker then punched him in the face, took $200 from his pocket and fled.

Purse snatcher
A woman from Queens told police she was walking on Varick St. near Charlton St. at about 3:30 p.m. Sun., Dec. 5, when a man came up to her, snatched the bag from her shoulder and threatened to kill her before fleeing with the bag.

D.A. seeks drug law changes
District Attorney Robert Morgenthau called on the state Legislature on Dec. 6 to make changes in the narcotics laws and to provide increased funding for drug treatment and education.

The recommendations, made jointly by Morgenthau and Dr. Mitchell Rosenthal, director of Phoenix House, a narcotics treatment agency, called for allowing judges to impose fixed terms of imprisonment followed by a period of supervised release in narcotics cases. Currently, the actual time served on sentences imposed by judges is determined by other agencies with little or no public scrutiny and is frequently less than the imposed term, Morgenthau said.

At the same time, Morgenthau recommended that judges should be able to impose lesser sentences than the mandatory minimum sentence for defendants with no prior convictions if there is a finding of specific mitigating circumstances.

The D.A. also called for a “kingpin” statute that would make it easier to impose the top A-1 felony penalties of 15 years to life for leaders of narcotics gangs. Nevertheless, the D.A. said there should be some mechanism for sentencing relief in the few A-1 cases where the mandated penalties are plainly unjust.

“We also need more drug treatment programs and drug education,” Morgenthau said. He called current funding for these programs inadequate and urged that a portion of the money raised in tax prosecutions and other white-collar cases be earmarked to support drug treatment and education.

Albert Amateau

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