Volume 21, Number 30 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | DECEMBER 5 - 11, 2008
Fugitive in Tribeca
Officers of the U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force arrested a fugitive from a Bridgeport, Conn. courthouse on Wed., Nov. 26 after a chase in Tribeca.
The fugitive, Gary Girasulo, 46, fled from a sentencing hearing for a series of home improvement scams in October and was believed to be in Boston until U.S. Marshals learned he was in a fourth-floor apartment on Reade St. in Tribeca, according to a spokesperson for the Marshal’s office in Manhattan.
The Marshals broke into the Reade St. apartment but found the suspect had just escaped from a back window after climbing down four stories on a rope fashioned from bed sheets. Marshals said they gave chase but lost track of the suspect until they got a tip later that he was in a restaurant in Astoria, Queens.
Task Force officers arrested Girasulo at the restaurant without incident. He was scheduled for extradition hearings this week.
Court officer arrested
Tony Simmons, 45, a juvenile counselor for the city Department of Juvenile Justice, was arrested on Tues., Dec. 2 for sexually abusing teen-age girls in his custody in Family Court at 60 Lafayette St. on three separate occasions between 2005 and July 2008. Simmons, a Bronx resident, was charged with two counts of third degree rape and two counts of committing a criminal sexual act.
He pleaded not guilty on Dec. 2 and was held pending a $250,000 bond until a Dec. 5 court appearance. Simmons was charged with raping a girl, 15, in a Family Court elevator in September 2005 and sexually assaulting a girl, 16, in the pantry of the court two months later. The city Department of Investigation began investigating the case after they learned that a 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted behind a waiting room locker last July, and prosecutors also charged Simmons for this crime Tuesday.
Simmons, a Juvenile Justice employee for 16 years was suspended without pay for a while this summer and was transferred to desk duty in the department away from children.
Prosecutors are still investigating. Assistant District Attorney Amir Vonsover said at a Dec. 2 news conference that the three victims may be “the tip of the iceberg.” A fourth victim told detectives the defendant had sexually abused her in 2000, but since that was more than five years ago, the incident was not included in the current criminal complaint.
Police arrested a Lower East Side man for grabbing a woman’s hand bag on Thanksgiving night after following her into the vestibule of her building at 241 E. Second St. A witness who saw the incident chased the suspect, Nin Ping, 27, who lives on Bowery between Rivington and Stanton Sts., police said. The witness caught the suspect and held him for police, according to a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney. Ping was charged with third degree robbery, second degree burglary and grand larceny.
Trio mugs woman
Two men and a woman mugged a 62-year-old woman at 10:30 a.m. Tues. Nov. 25 on the southwest corner of Madison and Pike Sts. as the victim was walking to a nearby supermarket, police said.
The three robbers, described only as Hispanic, grabbed the woman around the neck, removed her bag and fled in an unknown direction, police said.
Real estate scam
A Manhattan lawyer, James John Armenakis, 65, and his law firm, were indicted on Wed. Dec. 3 for stealing a $735,000 deposit on the sale of a $7.35 million condominium apartment at 285 Lafayette St. between Houston and Prince Sts.
Armenakis, who represented the seller, received the money as a 10 percent deposit from the buyer in October 2007 and was supposed to apply it to the purchase price at the closing. But he did not appear at the May 2, 2008 closing and did not apply the money to the purchase price, according to the charges filed by the office of District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.
The indictment charges the defendant spent the money on personal items. At the same time, the indictment says that from February 2002 to October 2008 Armenakis failed to remit to New York State $98,000 withheld from employees for state taxes.