Volume 18 • Issue 11 | August 5 - 11, 2005

Police blotter

Man killed in Smith Houses fire
The body of Rodrigo Ayala, 55, was found in the bedroom of his Smith Houses apartment at 180 South St. by firefighters who were called at 9:16 p.m. Sun. July 31 to extinguish a blaze in the third floor apartment of the 18-story building.

The fire was under control at 9:40 p.m. and four firefighters were treated at New York Downtown Hospital for smoke inhalation, a fire department spokesperson said.

Fire marshals are investigating the cause of the fire and the Medical Examiner’s office is investigating the cause of Ayala’s death.


Tribeca construction mishap
Three construction workers on the restoration of the Mohawk Electric building at 36-38 Hudson St. were injured on Saturday afternoon, July 30 when a beam on the fourth floor of the seven-story building gave way under them and they fell to the floor below, according to Phil Caccese, foreman on the project for FBR Construction Group.

Two of the workers were taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital and were released Tues. Aug. 2, while the third man was taken to Bellevue and was released on Wednesday, Caccese said.

The Mohawk, built in 1891, and the adjacent four-story building at 161 Duane St., which first appeared on the city tax rolls in 1843, are being converted into a residential loft project with ground floor commercial space by Joseph Pell Lombardi. Completion of the project is expected in August 2006.


Pot bust
Seventh Precinct police who responded to a call about a disturbance in an apartment at 21 Essex St., across from Seward Park, at 8:30 a.m. Sun. July 31 found several bags of marijuana with a total weight of over 10 pounds and a stash of cash in $50 and $100 bills in plain view. They arrested Sami Chartouni, 31, who gave a Danbury, Conn. address.

The suspect pleaded with the officers, saying, according to the district attorney’s office, “Please let me go. There’s a plastic bag over there full of money. You can have all of it. I’ll just go out this window.” The charges also say the defendant told police, “My family will kill me. I was supposed to be clean. I have a drug problem.”

Chartouni was charged with first-degree possession of marijuana and second-degree bribery. He was being held in lieu of bail.

—Albert Amateau


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