Volume 20, Number 40 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | DEC. 29, 2010 - JAN. 5, 2011
Plea in 9/11 shrine arson
Brian Schroeder, 27, pleaded guilty on Tues., Dec. 22 to arson, burglary and criminal desecration of a cemetery in connection with the Oct. 31, 2009 torching of a chapel on E. 30th St. where the Medical Examiner’s office kept unidentified remains of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack. Schroeder, a Harvard Law graduate, said he was drunk when he set fire to mementoes and photos left at the chapel by family and friends of the victims. His sentence of one year in jail was suspended on condition that he is not arrested again in the coming year. Judge Rena Uvillier also ordered Schroeder to pay $67,000 in restitution and to perform 100 hours of community service.
Police arrested a cab driver on E. Houston St. on Sat., Dec. 18 and charged him with robbery, assault with a motor vehicle and reckless endangerment for stealing a cell phone from a passenger and then dragging the victim for 14 blocks after closing the window on the victim’s arm.
The driver, Eddy Brizard, 56, found a cell phone that the passenger left in the cab and demanded $20 for return of the phone, police said. The passenger replied he did not have $20 and the driver refused to return it. When the passenger put his hand in the driver’s window to retrieve his phone, the driver raised the window, catching the victims arm, and drove off, dragging the victim about three quarters of a mile until police made the arrest around 4:50 a.m. on E. Houston between Elizabeth St. and Bowery, according to the complaint filed with the Manhattan District Attorney.
The passenger sustained nerve damage to his arm, police said.
William Woodruff, 20, was arrested on Dec. 22 and charged with three robberies in Soho and Tribeca.
The suspect was charged with trying to rob the Citibank branch at 127 Hudson St. near Beach St. on Dec. 20. He approached a teller’s window around 4:15 p.m. and said, “This is a robbery. Give me all of your large bills. Don’t do anything stupid,” according to the complaint filed with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. When the teller refused to comply, the suspect repeated the demand but the teller refused again and the suspect fled.
Woodruff and another defendant, Charles Smith, are charged with robbing the Choice Forex Currency Exchange, 401 W. Broadway at Spring St. around 3:55 p.m. Dec. 7, the District Attorney’s office said. Smith stood watch at the door while Woodruff went to a window, sprayed an inflammable liquid in a tellers face, pulled out a lighter and threatened to blow up the building unless he was given money. He took $1,000 and fled with Smith running north on W. Broadway, police said.
On Dec. 4, Woodruff and another accomplice stopped a pedestrian on Sullivan and Spring Sts. around 12:45 a.m. when Woodruff pulled out a handgun, grabbed the victim’s jacket and forced the victim to give up $80. The suspect and the unidentified accomplice fled.
Police apprehended Woodruff and Smith around 1 p.m. Dec. 22 while they were peering into the window of the Forex Exchange at 401 Broadway, according to the charges.
Firefighter in DWI
Police arrested Hugo Diaz, 35, an off-duty firefighter, on Fri., Dec. 24, around 9 a.m. when he rear-ended another car on West St. at Vesey St. Diaz, a three-year FDNY veteran assigned to a Brooklyn fire company, registered above the threshold .08 on a field Breathalyzer test, police said.
James O’Donnell, 39, who was arrested on March 16 on St. Marks Pl. with a dagger in his belt and a backpack containing hand guns and a silencer, was indicted for criminal possession of weapons in connection with a stash of unlicensed guns and daggers that he had in his rented Manhattan Mini Storage locker at 220 South St. near Pike St.
O’Donnell told State Supreme Court Justice Bart Stone on Thurs., Dec. 23 that he had was in the military for two years but declined to be more specific. Authorities in Germany have a file on O’Donnell with 20 arrests but there is no U.S. record of him, according to a Daily News article. The indictment charges that O’Donnell has two 9 mm handguns, a .22 pistol, three silencers, an electronic stun gun and several daggers in the South St. Mini Storage locker along with more than 300 rounds of ammunition.
Police charged Andrew Taylor, 33, and Xavier Oneil, 16, with larceny on Thurs., Dec. 23 at a CVS store at 129 Fulton St. between Nassau St. and Broadway for grabbing several bottles of NyQuil cough medicine from the shelves and stuffing them into a foil-line bag. A store employee stopped the pair as they attempted to walk out without paying for the items.
Fleeced on Broadway
A 19-year-old Brooklyn resident told police he was walking down Broadway from Canal St. around 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 18, felt himself bumped and jostled a few times and by the time he reached the Starbucks at 405 Broadway between Walker and Lispenard Sts. discovered that his wallet had been lifted, along with $40 in cash, an expired Nevada driver’s license and a Nevada library card. The victim told police he might have been followed from a barbershop.
Skirting the law
The owner of the PIF Margarita Aymerich clothing boutique at 56 Greene St. told police she was helping customers when three women who entered the shop around 1:45 p.m. Sat. Dec. 18 grabbed two vests and two shawls designed by Alberto Mahali, with a total value of $1,600, hid them under their long skirts and left without paying for them. The thefts were caught on the shop surveillance camera, police said.
Lost in Soho
A woman visitor from Munich told police she was at Le Pain Quotidien. 100 Grand St. at Mercer St. around 10 a.m. Fri., Dec. 17 when her bag, which she had placed on the floor behind her chair, was stolen, along with $100 in cash, a camera and credit cards. She discovered that an unauthorized charge of $689 had been made on a credit card at an Apple store.
An employee of J & R Music at 23 Park Pl. stopped a man at the cash register around 1:14 p.m. Fri., Dec. 17 who was having trouble with a credit card to pay for a $726 laptop computer. The employee discovered that the card, backed by a European bank, was not registered in the man’s name and called police. The suspect, Rashid Fairley, 31, had five other bogus credit cards, police said. He was charged with grand larceny.
A New Jersey woman, 27, was shopping at a Solutions Beauty Sources. 138 Fulton St., around noon on Fri., Dec. 17 when she felt a tug on her bag. She discovered later that her wallet, with $145 in cash, her driver’s license and a cell phone was missing from the bag.
— Albert Amateau
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