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Teen killed in shooting
Friends and family on the Lower East Side gathered to commemorate a young athlete killed by a gunman near his home in from Baruch Houses. Raphael Ward, 16, was killed at about 9 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 4 outside a candy store on Rivington and Colombia Sts. The New York Times reported that he and his friends were hanging out on the plaza when approached by a gunman, causing them to scatter. Ward fled into a candy store, and when he opened the door, possibly to check if the gunman was outside, he was shot in the chest. He was declared dead at Beth Israel Medical Center.
Ward was described by neighbors as a talented athlete, who played sports through the local Boys Club. He leaves behind a mother and younger brother.
Both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senator Daniel Squadron sent out public statements shortly after, expressing their condolences to the victim’s family and calling for tougher gun control measures to prevent further loss of life.
Man bargains at gunpoint
One man tried to deter his mugger while held at gunpoint, with limited success. The robber got away with his watch, but without his hitting his victim’s bank account.
A 36-year-old man reported that he was walking home at 4 a.m. on Thurs., Jan. 3 when he was approached by a man wearing dark clothing. The mugger stopped him at the corner of Sullivan and W. Houston Sts., and displayed a black metal handgun, asking, “Do you know what this is?”
The man said yes, he did, and asked what his assailant wanted, whereupon he was told, “I want all your cash and your watch.” No doubt he was expecting more than the $22 he received, because according to the victim he asked for more. The man had no more cash, but handed over his wallet and Apple iPhone 4S. The robber then stated, “Let’s go to an ATM and take out $200 and you can leave.”
They crossed to the other side of the street in search of an ATM, while the robber continuously asked the man if he had any more cash on him and at one point searched his pocket. They stopped at an ATM at 6th Ave. and Houston St. and the man told his mugger that he would not take any money out.
The robber then asked for his watch. “You don’t want this watch. It’s cheap and it smells,” the man allegedly replied, and invited the robber to smell it himself. This did not bother the robber who took it anyway and left. The victim walked to 14th St., where he called the police.
In all, he lost his driver’s license, $200 iPhone, $22 in cash and a $100 watch, but not his nerve.
Mercer St. mugger
Mercer St. was the site of another robbery, when a woman was threatened at gunpoint.
The victim, 28, and a female friend were walking north on Mercer St. at 8:45 p.m. on Sun., Dec. 30. In front of 40 Mercer St., she was approached from behind by a man who said, “Hey, ladies,” while grabbing her handbag. Police say he turned towards her, pointed a black handgun at her side and told her to “give me your bag.” He then fled south on Mercer and turned east on Grand St.
A witness saw him get into a tan S.U.V. with New York license plates. However, police say he got out of the vehicle again and continued down Grand St. on foot, while the vehicle also took off. The doorman at 40 Mercer St. witnessed the incident. Police recovered her purse in front of 139 Canal St. The only items still missing were two credit cards, which were cancelled with no unauthorized usage reported on them.
One man reported that the tip of his thumb was bitten off during a fight a few hours into the new year.
According to police, the 27-year-old had been involved in a physical altercation on Jan. 1 at 3:45 a.m. in front of 135 Reade St. with an unknown aggressor, reportedly as busboy at Brushstroke Restaurant on 30 Hudson St. The victim then reported that the man bit off the tip of his right thumb before fleeing the scene, leaving a knife behind. A police canvas turned up no results on video footage. The knife was recovered by police, the thumb tip was not.
Cab driver nabs bag
One woman reported to police that her taxi driver did not wait for his fare to get to her destination before taking her money.
The victim, 56 stated that on Sat., Dec. 22, she got into the unlicensed cab at 1:30 a.m. and asked to be taken to a hotel at 8 Stone St. When the driver said he was unsure of the address, she got out to ask for directions. While out of the cab, she noticed the driver exit the cab and make his way around to the rear of the vehicle, before going over to another taxi on the scene.
She got back in the cab and directed him to the address at Stone St. At that point, she noticed her bag was missing, along with $4,600 in cash, a $1,700 U.S. Treasury check, her social security card and driver’s license. She told him, “You stole my bag. I am getting the police.” The cab driver stayed at the corner of Stone St. and Broadway while she returned with a police officer. After speaking to the officer, he drove away. The police are seeking a 30-year-old male, 5’10”, 160 pounds, with close-cut dark hair and a goatee.
Car rented with false card
A missing rental car turned out to be paid for with a fraudulent credit card, turning the overdue notice into a warrant for grand larceny auto.
An employee at J.F.K. International Airport in Queens reported that a car from a 20 Morris St. parking garage, operated by Hertz, had been paid for with an invalid credit card. The rental was allegedly under the name Alberto Torres. The vehicle, a 2012 black Cadillac Escalade AWD, was 66 days overdue on Jan. 3. There had been multiple attempts to reclaim the car since it was rented in October. The car was reportedly worth about $53,000, and had Tennessee license plates.
In a bizarre twist on the usual snatch and grab, it was a man’s headphones that were targeted rather than his music device.
The 18-year-old, a student at Skidmore College, boarded a northbound A Train at Jay St./ MetroTech on Fri., Jan. 4. He told police that as the train entered the Chambers St. station at about 3:50 p.m., his $150 Beats Solo headphones were snatched off his head by a passerby when the doors opened. The thief fled into the station in an unknown direction. Police conducted a canvas with negative results.
Jewelry store steal
A shoplifter removed over $1,000 worth of jewelry from a Soho shop last Wednesday.
An employee of Lunessa Jewelry at 100 Thompson St., reported that the theft occurred at 11:24 a.m. on Wed., Jan. 2. The light-fingered thief asked about the return policy as well as where to find Hudson St. The employee reported that the property was removed from the rear counter within a 20-minute window. The missing jewelry was a Peruvian Calcite ring, valued at $150; $120 Stardust post earrings; two $120 pairs of Druzy post earrings and a $550 14K Gold Monogram necklace. Video surveillance was available, but the case was still open at press time.