Volume 20, Number 35 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 12 - 18, 2010
A 72-year-old woman who was trying to get warm by heat of her oven in the kitchen of her apartment at 124 Ludlow St. near Rivington St. was killed when her clothes caught fire on Friday morning. The victim, Claudette Rivera, was enveloped in flames when a neighbor who heard her screams, tried to save her, police said. The neighbor Frances Ayers, 49, was treated for smoke inhalation at New York Hospital. Firefighters received the alarm at 11:18 a.m. Fri., Jan. 7 and declared the fire under control at11:43 a.m. An Emergency Medical Service team declared the victim dead at the scene. The fire was confined to the kitchen in the first floor apartment in the six-story walkup.
Church roof fire
Firefighters responded to an alarm at 12:05 p.m. Mon. Jan. 10 at St. James the Apostle Church, 32 James St., between St. James Pl. and Madison St., where a fire broke out in the roof of the five-story building. A second alarm went off at 12:36 p.m., bringing a total of 60 firefighters to the location of the city’s second oldest Catholic Church, completed in 1837. The fire was under control at 1:28 p.m., an FDNY spokesperson said. No one was hurt and the cause of the blaze is under investigation.
Pleads in fraud
Ricardo Pignatari, 36, pf 300 Albany St. at South End Ave. in Battery Park City, pleaded guilty on Dec. 30 to fraud and grand larceny charges in connection with stealing a total of more than $3,000 from five victims by telling them he was connected to TAM Brazilian Airlines and could get them discount round trip business class tickets. Pignatari, a former NYPD Auxiliary Police officer who worked his scam out of his Battery Park City apartment, was not connected with the airline, the charges say. He took the victims’ money but delivered no tickets, according to the complaint filed with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Pignatari was arrested Dec. 27, pleaded guilty three days later and is to be sentenced Feb. 28.
A man walked into the CVS store at 129 Fulton St. around 7:40 a.m. Sat., Jan. 8, forced open a locked door to the pharmacy section and confronted the 21-year-old pharmacy assistant, police said. The intruder force the assistant to drop six blood-sugar test kits, police said. When she blocked front door to stop the thief from leaving the place, he pushed her aside and fled with the test kits with a total value of $726, police said.
Big haul on Worth
An owner of a chain of newsstands was in the store at 90 Worth St., counting money around 5:30 a.m. Mon. Jan. 10 when a man walked in and said, “Just give me the money,” police said. The intruder then knocked the victim unconscious with a rabbit punch to the back of his neck, grabbed a bag of money and fled with about $43,000, police said. The victim often brought money from other stores to the Worth St. location for a deposit in a nearby bank, according to police. The sum was unusually large on Monday because of heavy mega lottery sales the previous weekend. Police said the suspect might have been tailed the victim from the PATH station as he walked up Broadway to 90 Worth St.
Drug bust grenade man
Allen Hasty, 40, of 106 Norfolk St. was charged with possession of an unspecified quantity of cocaine and more than 2,800 small glassine bags with intent to traffic in the drug, according to charges filed with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Police found the coke and the bags after they responded to a call that a hand grenade, later discovered to be inert, was in Hasty’s top floor apartment. Apparently, Kayla Coxx, a transsexual porn star, according to the New York Post, phoned the grenade alert into 911. Coxx told the Post she went to Norfolk St. after Hasty had phoned to hire her as an escort. She said Hasty offered her drugs after he confessed that he did not have her $2,000 escort service fee, the Post said. Coxx fled when she saw a silver handgun and the grenade in Hasty’s apartment, the Post said.
A patron of MacDonald’s, 160 Broadway near Liberty St., who stopped in for a snack at 3 p.m. Sun., Jan. 9, hung his Nikon D 90 camera on the back of his chair and was eating when one of two panhandlers working the place asked him for change, police said. The victim discovered 10 minutes later that the camera, valued at $1,050, was gone. He told police that he remembered a bump on the back of his chair when the panhandler solicited him.
Construction site theft
The manager of a construction site on the southwest corner of Broadway and Dey St. told police that he opened the site on Monday morning Jan. 10 after it had been locked on the previous Saturday afternoon and discovered 25 power tools and appliances, with a total value of $2,900, had been stolen.
Repeat with mask
Police arrested Matthew Senquiz, 17, on Dec. 30 and charged him with the Aug. 10 burglary of a deli at 37 Madison St. near James St. and the beating and slashing of an employee. The suspect entered the deli, possibly with an accomplice, around 11:20 p.m. and menaced the employee who challenged the suspects. They punched the victim several times before leaving the place, according to the complaint filed with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. After the attack, the victim closed and locked the door to the place but Senquiz returned a few minutes later wearing a mask, broke the glass door and slashed the victim about the head, back and arm with a sharp metal object, according to the complaint. Police did not say how they caught up with the suspect five months later. Senquiz is being held pending a Feb. 2 court appearance.
An off-duty Department of Environmental Protection operations manager was arrested in his D.E.P. vehicle during the early hours of Wed., Jan. 5 after he fled from police who caught up with him at Rector and West Sts. after they chased him from Charles and Greenwich Sts. where he was said to be looking for hookers. The defendant, John Caccavale, was summonsed for loitering with the purpose of engaging in prostitution and was released pending a Feb. 1 court appearance. He has been suspended from his D.E.C. job and is liable to a 90-day jail sentence if found guilty, according to a Daily News item. The Charles and Greenwich Sts. location is frequented by “The Bus Stop Boys,” a group of transvestite prostitutes who wait for johns at bus stops to avoid loitering charges, the Daily News said.
— Albert Amateau
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