Police Blotter, Week of May 22, 2014

Chinatown murder
Police arrested Chuen Lau, 55, for allegedly stabbing his older sister to death in their Chinatown apartment.

After responding to a call from concerned relatives, officers arrived at the 115 Eldridge St. home around 6 p.m. on May 17 to find Meilin Liu, 57, lying in her bathtub, already dead from the stab wounds to her face and torso, according to police and documents filed with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Cops arrested Lau — who shared the apartment with his sister — the next day, almost immediately after ruling the case to be a homicide. According to D.A. documents, Lau actually admitted to murdering his sister in a conversation with another person — an unnamed informant who then told police.

Lau was charged with second degree murder.

Accused knife wielder
Police arrested Amro Abdelhalim, 36, on May 17 after he and an unidentified accomplice allegedly held up a man at knifepoint next to a Financial District A.T.M., in a strange incident that also involved the perp slashing his own arm.

The victim, 38, told cops he was at a Wells Fargo A.T.M. at 75 Broad St. around 6:30 p.m. when he was approached by the unidentified suspect — described as a heavyset man — who claimed to be a police officer. The suspect then reportedly snatched the man’s debit card out of the A.T.M. and demanded that he come with him. When the victim refused to follow, the suspect started shoving him, according to the police report.

It was then that Abdelhalim approached, reportedly pulling out a box cutter, pointing it at the victim and saying, “Give me the money or I’ll kill your wife and children in Egypt” It’s unclear why he made such a specific threat, given that the victim — although he speaks Arabic — is a New Jersey resident, according to police. Things only got weirder when Abdelhalim then decided to turn the box cutter on himself, cutting a gash in his own left arm.

“I’ll tell them you hurt me and you will go to prison,” Abdelhalim told the victim, according to the police report.

It was at that time that police arrived on the scene, immediately after which Abdelhalim’s crony promptly fled before he could be stopped. Abdelhalim, however, stayed at the scene and tried to convince the officers that he was, in fact, stabbed by the victim.

But police quickly reviewed video surveillance footage at the scene, confirmed the victim’s account of the story and made the arrest. Abdelhalim was charged with robbery, unlawful imprisonment and coercion.

Forgetful banker
In a very different A.T.M.-related incident, a man lost his debit card at a bank next to City Hall on May 15 after forgetting to take it out of the machine, according to police.

The man, 53, told cops he used the TD Bank A.T.M. at 258 Broadway around 8:30 a.m., and then strolled away down the block. Several minutes later, he realized that his card was not back in his wallet, but was instead sticking out of the A.T.M.

By the time he returned to the scene, the card was gone, and the unknown thief also withdrew $600 from the forgetful man’s bank account, police said.

Missing Vespa
A man’s Vespa motor scooter was stolen from its parking spot just outside his Greenwich St. apartment building, police said.

The 40-year-old man, who lives just above Canal St., told cops he’d last parked the 2012 Vespa on his block on the morning of May 13, and first noticed it missing on the morning of May 15. He then waited several more days in order to check to see if it had been towed for some reason, but learned that there were no city records of the scooter being impounded.

The unfortunate resident reported the apparent vehicle theft on May 19. Police have since conducted a canvass that came up negative, but they are still investigating.

Too trusting
It’s a pretty common occurance in city bars or coffee shops.

“Hey, can you do me a favor and watch my stuff while I’m in the bathroom?”

“Oh sure, no problem!”

Except this time, the man agreeing to do that “favor” was just a sneaky thief.

A 31-year-old man told cops he was drinking in the Raccoon Lounge, at 59 Warren St., around 11 p.m. on May 10, when he got up for a bathroom break. He left his iPhone and HP laptop sitting at the bar, next to an unidentified man he’d just started talking to, apparently thinking that his new drinking buddy would watch over the property.

But when he returned from the bathroom, the unfortunate man found that both his belongings and the stranger were gone. He still held out hope for a week, reportedly hoping that someone would come back to the bar and return the stolen goods, but ended up reporting the incident to police on May 17. Cops are still investigating, but said they don’t have any leads at this point.

Subway snatches
An opportunistic thief targeted a sleeping subway passenger early on May 13, police said.

The victim, a 20-year-old woman, told cops she board a Manhattan-bound E train in Forest Hills, Queens around 4 a.m., and almost immediately fell asleep. She then woke up about an hour later at the end of line, inside the World Trade Center station, and realized that her iPhone and wallet had been snatched out of her pocketbook.

The woman reported the theft later that morning, and police used the “Find my Phone” app to track the stolen cell to an apartment building in Far Rockaway — but a canvass of the building came up negative, cops said.

However, a police got a more positive result on May 16, when they arrested Kareem Daniels, 36, after he allegedly ripped off a sleeping subway passenger and then pretended to be a federal agent.

A plainclothes police officer riding the northbound 1 train out of South Ferry said he saw Daniels — who was wearing a bogus “Department of Justice” jacket — board at the train there around 3 a.m. Once the train was in motion, Daniels reportedly walked over to a sleeping man and snatched the iPhone out of his hand.

The officer promptly confronted Daniels moments later, as the train was pulling into its next stop at Rector St., after which the alleged thief claimed he was a federal D.O.J. Agent. But the cop wasn’t fooled for a second, and quickly apprehended the poser.

Daniels was charged with criminal possession of stolen property and impersonating a federal officer.

Teen stabbing
Police arrested two teenage boys after one of them allegedly stabbed another teen during a brawl on Canal St. on May 9.

A Bronx girl, whose age was not disclosed, told cops the incident began while she was walking with her boyfriend, 17, also from the Bronx, along Canal St. near Sixth Ave. around 4:45 p.m. The couple was approached by two boys they apparently knew — a 17-year-old nicknamed Rico, who lives in an East Harlem public housing development, and a 16-year-old nicknamed Trigger, who lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Police say the girl got into a heated argument with Rico, after which her boyfriend stepped in to intervene. Rico responded by pulling out a knife, police said, but then dropped it while he and the boyfriend got tangled up in a fistfight. Moments later, however, Trigger reportedly picked up the knifed and stabbed the boyfriend in the lower back, after which both he and Rico fled the scene, according to police.

After police arrived on the scene, the stabbing victim was rushed to Bellevue Hospital and treated for minor injuries, after which the girl gave the teens’ names and whereabouts to cops. Police later arrested the suspects at their respective homes, and both were charged with assault.

More Subway snatches
This unfortunate man might have avoided his problems if he’d only chosen a different subway train — but as it was, he was targeted by an opportunistic thief after falling asleep on a southbound 1 train early on May 9, according to police.

The victim, 32, who lives in Brooklyn, told cops he finished having drinks with co-workers at a Hell’s Kitchen bar around 3 a.m., and walked to the subway station at W. 42nd   St. and Eighth Ave. to wait for a southbound A train. But the trains were delayed, and after waiting for around 40 minutes, he gave up and walked over to Seventh Ave. to catch the 1 train.

Once on the train, the man apparently fell asleep with his backpack sitting on the floor between his legs, police said. When he woke up as the train was pulling into the Canal St. stop, he realized the bag was gone. He got off and reported the crime to the nearby First Precinct, but since he didn’t see any suspects or feel anything while sleeping, the police don’t have much to go on.

Later that day, another unfortunate subway rider was targeted around the Downtown area — and this time, it was on the A train.

The female victim, 44, was on a northbound A train around 3:30 p.m., after boarding in Brooklyn, and later told cops she was bumped multiple times by another woman during the ride. When the train stopped at Fulton St., the alleged bumper walked off, and moments later the victim realized that her iPhone was missing from her purse.

After the victim reported the incident to police, officers were able to use the “Find My Phone” app to track the phone to a street corner near the northern tip of Staten Island. However, police in Staten Island were unable to locate the phone thief after being informed of the incident.

Up in smoke
Maybe now this guy will learn the dangers of smoking, after his cigarette break allowed a thief to snatch his bag from inside a Financial District bar on May 9.

The victim, 34, told cops he was having drinks at Stout on 90 John St. around 8:15 p.m. and had hung up his bag — containing his laptop and cell phone — on a hook under the bar. He then stepped outside for a smoke, leaving the bag unattended for several minutes. When he returned, the bag was gone.

Video surveillance footage taken from inside the bar shows an unknown male enter the room, grab the bag and walk out, police said — but no arrests have been made yet.

Stylish shoplifters
Two shoplifters targeted a Tribeca menswear shop on May 7, making off with more than $1,500 worth of merchandise, police said.

An employee of The Armoury at 168 Duane St. told cops that the two unknown males walked in around 2:30 p.m., took the items — two pairs of Armani pants ($375 each), and a $680 leather tote bag and $95 umbrella — off their display racks and walked out.

Police said they’re still investigating, but no descriptions of the suspects were given.

— Sam Spokony

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