Volume 16 • Issue 32 | January 9 - 15, 2004



Police blotter

Downtown Express photo by John W. Sutter

Wrong turn:
A taxi crash on Dec. 30 at 9:30 p.m. at Jay and Greenwich St. in Tribeca sent the driver to St. Vincent’s Hospital with minor injuries, according to ambulance attendants.  A passenger was remarkably unscathed.  According to eyewitnesses who live on Jay Sts., the taxi was moving down Greenwich and tried to make an abrupt left turn on Jay, skidded over the sidewalk, and smashed into 335 Greenwich St.  Residents said it shook the buildings on Jay St. halfway down the block.

Crèche theft
The figure of the infant Jesus was stolen from the Nativity scene in front of the rectory of Most Precious Blood Church, 109 Mulberry St., on the night of Jan. 6, according to the pastor, Father Fabian Grifone. The Nativity scene was installed two weeks before Christmas and is usually taken down by Epiphany, Jan. 6, but the cold weather delayed the removal, according to the church receptionist. All the figures in the scene were imported from Italy two years ago.

The theft was the second from a Downtown crèche this season. The baby Jesus figure was stolen from the Nativity display outside St. Anthony of Padua Church on W. Houston St. between Sullivan and Thompson Sts., sometime on the morning of New Year’s Eve [see article, page 11]. The figure was not been returned this week.


West St. break-in
A thief broke into a construction trailer at 182 West St. on the night of Jan. 1 and made off with several laptop computers, tools and five bottles of wine, police said.


Picked at Southbridge
A pickpocket bumped into a woman walking at Southbridge Towers in front of 333 Pearl St. at about 4:30 p.m. Mon., Jan. 5 and removed her wallet which contained $1,200 in cash, police said. The victim told police the thief was gone before she could see who it was.


Five stabbed
A brawl in a private party at 600 Broadway at the southeast corner of Houston St. Sunday morning, Jan. 4 ended at 4:15 a.m. with stabbings in which five men were injured, four of them taken to hospitals, and three of them arrested, police said.

Erik Belis, 27, and Kwavnes Despinosse, 24, both of Washington Heights, and Jonathan Soto, 20 of Atlanta, Ga., were charged with first-degree assault and criminal possession of weapons, police said. The dispute was over a girl, police said.

Captain William Matusiak, commanding officer of the Fifth Precinct, said the location, known as Pseudo, occupies a large space on the fifth and sixth floors of the building and doubles as a video production studio and party space.

Matusiak said the club’s owner told him on Monday that he plans to relocate to Midtown in April and has no special events planned until then.


Dies in cell
Guards at the Criminal Courts found a prisoner in a holding cell unconscious at 9:30 p.m. Sun., Jan 4 and called an Emergency Medical Service team who took the victim, 46, to NYU Downtown Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. The prisoner, whom police did not identify, died of an enlarged heart, according to the Medical Examiner’s office.

The victim was carrying heart medication when he was arrested for criminal trespass in the Village, but it was taken from him at the Sixth Precinct, according to a New York Times report. A police spokesperson said that police policy prohibits a suspect from having medication in a cell to avoid overdoses and that medicine is supposed to be given when needed.


Soho betrayal
A resident of 159 Prince St., near Thompson St. told police that an acquaintance had entered his apartment without permission around 7:30 p.m. Mon., Jan. 5 and made off with a computer, several cameras and other electronic equipment.


Dirty pickpocket
A stranger who was helping a woman clean off a stain on her coat on Spring St. near Thompson St. on Mon., Jan. 5 shortly before noon lifted her wallet with $40 and credit cards, police said. Thieves working in pairs often squirt ketchup or mustard on the back of a victim’s coat and then steal a wallet or bag while helping to clean it off.


— Albert Amateau


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