Volume 74, Number 44 | March 09 - 15, 2005

Police Blotter

Gansevoort stabbing
An argument in Club One at Little W. 12th St. and Ninth Ave. in the Gansevoort Market district at 4:22 a.m. Mon. March 7 spilled into the street and ended when one man was stabbed twice in the back and beaten, police at the Sixth Precinct said.

The victim, Richard Trevato, 34, told police that he was struck with a metal stanchion thrown by one of the combatants who attacked him and beat him on the street in front of the club. Trevato fled north and ducked into the garbage disposal area of Pastis, the restaurant across the street, to avoid his attackers and only then realized that he had been stabbed twice, police said

The suspects fled by the time officers from the Sixth Precinct conditions detail arrived. Police found the victim and took him to St. Vincent’s Hospital where he was said to be stable.


Deli break-in
Thieves broke into the Grand St. Deli and Mini Market at 42 Grand St. near Thompson St. during the early hours of Mon. March 7, forced open an A.T.M. and made off with $15,000, police said.

The robbers forced open the locked metal gate, broke the glass front door and pried open the automated teller machine, police said.


Village panhandler death
Police are seeking help from the public in finding the man who pushed and caused the death of José Cantu, 61, a panhandler who fell to the ground at Seventh Ave. S. and Grove St. and hit his head on the pavement on Oct. 30. Cantu, who had been panhandling in the Village for several years, was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital with head injuries and died on Nov. 7.

The Medical Examiner’s office classified the death last week as a homicide. The suspect was described as a white man in his 20s who was with three women at the time of the incident. Witnesses said Cantu was coming on aggressively before the suspect pushed him. Information may be phoned to 800:577 TIPS.


Autograph seeker
Kevin Reed, 20, of Los Angeles, who was shot in the leg in front of 395 Hudson St., the home of Hot 97, on the night of Feb. 28, was an autograph seeker and not a member of either of the rival Hip Hop posses who were shooting at each other, police said this week.

He had been misidentified the day after the shooting that erupted at 10 p.m. between followers of 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) and The Game (Jayceon Taylor).

The sidewalk in front of the building between Houston and Clarkson Sts. where Hot 97 occupies the seventh floor was also the scene of a Feb. 2001 shooting involving the entourage of the rapper Lil Kim and her rival Foxy Brown.

Lil’ Kim’s federal court trial for perjury in connection with her grand jury testimony on the 2001 shooting began March 1 and was still underway on March 8. The charge involved Lil’ Kim’s testimony that she did not know two suspects in the case, Suif Jackson and Damion Butler, who both pleaded guilty in connection with the 2001 shooting. Jackson testified against her last week and another rapper, Antoine Spain, testified this week that the Jackson and Butler were both at Lil Kim’s house after the shooting.


Mistrial
The trial of police officer Bryan Conroy on reckless manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of Ousmane Zongo, 43, an unarmed African immigrant, during a May 2003 undercover police raid on a counterfeit CD operation in a Chelsea warehouse ended with a hung jury and a mistrial on March 7.

State Supreme Court Justice Daniel P. Fitzgerald declared the mistrial after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked after six days of deliberation.

Zongo, who spoke little English and earned his living repairing African artifacts stored in the warehouse on West St. and W. 27th St., was shot to death after he came upon Conroy, wearing a mail carrier’s jacket. Conroy shot Zongo four times after having drawn his gun to show the victim that he was a police officer, according to the defendant’s grand jury testimony in 2003.

The jury was deadlocked at 10 to two for conviction according to newspaper reports.

Conroy is due back in court April 7 for a new trial date.

Zongo’s widow, Salimata Sanfo, who came to New York from Burkina Faso for the trial, is a plaintiff in the Zongo family’s wrongful death lawsuit against the city for $150 million.


Scammer phones again
Doris Diether, the Village resident who has been trying to blow the whistle on a scam artist who phones from England and asks her to send $3,800 in cash to a Rotterdam address in order to get $39,000 in a lottery prize, is still on the job.

“He phoned again Thursday, March 3, for the eighth time,” Diether said. “He complained that the money hadn’t arrived and repeated the address, P.O. Box 485, 3000 AL, Rotterdam, Netherlands. I told him it takes three days for international mail and I only sent it yesterday,” she added.

Diether said the F.B.I and Postal officials told her over the phone that they were limited in what they could do because the address and the phone calls from the man who calls himself Doug Richards are not in the U.S. She said she phoned the Netherlands Consulate in New York and sent them a fax detailing the scam. “They said they’d notify police in the Netherlands,” said Diether who also phoned the British Consulate. “They said they’d notify Scotland Yard.”

“Doug Richards said he’d call back. He really thinks he’s got a live one here,” said Diether.


5 cops arrested
Police last week arrested five officers of the 13th Precinct and a peddler who sold counterfeit goods on W. 27th St. for bribery and accepting bribes, according to the office of District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau.

Detectives Brian Bartlett and Rodney Lewis and Officers George Santiago and Jaime Albertelli were arrested on March 3. Officers Joshua Penalo was arrested on Feb. 23 and the peddler, Jamil Faied, was arrested Feb. 24.

The investigation by the Police Internal Affairs Bureau and the Manhattan D.A. Official Corruption Unit revealed that between July and November of last year, the five officers accepted counterfeit handbags and clothing from Faied, according to investigators. Penalo is also charged with tipping Faied off on trademark counterfeiting search warrants. Bartlett and Lewis were charged with improperly issuing desk appearance tickets to Faied instead of arresting him. Santiago and Albertelli were also charged with forcing a competitor of Faied’s to move from a spot in the 13th Precinct where he was legally permitted to sell.


Flatiron larceny
A Brooklyn woman who was bookkeeper at Gramercy Tavern, 42 E. 20th St, for the past six years was charged on March 2 will stealing $275,000 from the restaurant.

Sandrene Austin is accused of under-reporting the amount of cash taken in between June 2002 and Dec. 12, 2004, inflating the amount received in gift certificates and pocketing the difference, according to the office of District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. An audit of the gift certificates revealed the true redeemable values, which didn’t match what was in Gramercy Tavern registers.

Austin, 26, was charged with grand larceny, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and falsifying business records, punishable by up to four years in prison.

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