Volume 21, Number 10 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | July 18 - 24, 2008

Police Blotter

Waterfall rescue
Police rescued two novice kayakers viewing the Waterfalls art installation near the Brooklyn Bridge Saturday afternoon after their vessel overturned.

Both were taken to New York Downtown Hospital and later released.

One of the victims, Bert Rosenblatt, 36, said in an interview, “We didn’t realize how fast the water was – it happened so fast. It was pretty harrowing.”

He and Vladamir Spector, 37, were in the same kayak as part of a networking excursion for real estate brokers.

Rosenblatt said after the boat overturned he started feeling a strong pull on his legs from the Waterfalls’ pump and it felt like an undertow. He said the water ripped his shoes off his feet before he managed to jump on a buoy. From there he jumped off and swam a short distance to a boat where police rescued him.

He said Spector grabbed onto a buoy lower to the water and swallowed a lot of water before police were able to get to him.

Sentence in 9/11 case
A former employee of the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was sentenced to 15 years in prison on July 11 for stealing and laundering $19 million in federal funds paid to the Medical Examiner’s Office for forensic analysis of body parts and other evidence collected at the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack.

Natarajan R. Venkataran, former director of management information systems at the M.E., pleaded guilty last October to steering more than $13 million in FEMA funds to dummy companies run by a co-conspirator and colleague at the M.E., according to the U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia’s office.

Venkataran gave bidding information on contracts to the dummy companies, which did less work than reported, or no work at all and also transferred money to other companies run by the defendant and his co-conspirator, Rosa Abreu, the M.E.’s director of records who reported to Venkataran.

Abreu also pleaded guilty last October and is to be sentenced at a date to be determined.

In addition to receiving the 15-year prison term, Venkataran was ordered to pay restitution and forfeiture of $2,970,972.

Texas Jaguar slashed
A patron of Grand Daisy Bakery on Sullivan St. between Broome and Spring Sts. looked out the window around 10 a.m. Sat., July 12 and saw a man across the street slashing the convertible roof of a Jaguar with Texas license plates parked across the street. The customer alerted an employee who phoned police. The suspect, Kareem Trowell, 35, of New Jersey, was arrested on Dominick St. a block or two from the scene. Police left a note on the car advising the owner to contact police at the First Precinct.

Gone from workplace
An employee at CEX, the telecommunications store at 657 Broadway across from Bond St., told police that he left his bag at his desk on the second floor at 7 p.m. Tues., July 1 and returned 15 minutes later to find it had been stolen.

--Albert Amateau with Josh Rogers and James S. Woodman




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