East Side Crime Watch

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Impersonating Swindler Preys on Elderly

A man is wanted by police on charges of grand larceny after a woman says he tricked her out of $9,000. A 91-year-old woman reported that last Tuesday, she received a phone call at home from a man claiming to be a police officer investigating the distribution of counterfeit bills. The perp told the woman to withdraw $4,500 in cash from her Chase Bank account and meet him on the street at East 87th Street and Madison Avenue. When the woman did as she was instructed, the man flashed a badge and she believed him to be a member of the NYPD, handing over the money.

The next day, the man called back and asked the victim to take out another $4,500, this time from Emigrant Bank, and meet him at the same spot, where she again forked over the cash. The woman reported the incidents to the real police when she didn't hear back about the missing $9,000 that she thought was being used to aid an investigation.

The suspect is described as a black male, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, about 40 years old. Police said that unfortunately, this type of trickery perpetrated on older New Yorkers is not uncommon, but that fraud in addition to impersonating a police officer could carry a hefty charge.

Highway Robbery

Last Saturday, a cab driver pulled up for a routine fare pickup at the corner of East 84th Street and Third Avenue. The passenger explained that he wanted to sit in the front seat because his wife and kids were waiting down the block to be picked up, and the driver let him in. As soon as he sidled into the seat, however, the man displayed a 10-inch knife and told the driver, "Give me all your money and your cell phone." The driver gave him his Blackberry and $107 in cash, after which the perpetrator instructed him to take the FDR Drive down to 34th Street and let him out there. After the driver followed the instructions, the man exited the cab. Noticing police officers in the area, he started running. The police gave chase down to 36th Street and First Avenue and arrested the weapon-wielding robber.

Don't Mess with the NYPD

A man was arrested last Thursday after he summoned the audacity to threaten a police officer in the middle of the street. The 26-year-old man approached a cop on traffic duty at an intersection on East 86th Street, made a "threatening move" and told him, "You're lucky my father was in the car before." The brazenly dumb man was promptly arrested.

Dangerous Joyride

Late Friday night, two men snuck into a Department of Environmental Protection parking lot downtown at 30 Pike St. There they found a DEP truck with keys in the ignition, hopped in and took off for a ride uptown in the white truck, worth $15,000. The pair got into several hit-and-run accidents, hitting a cab at one point and injuring four people. They ended the evening by crashing into a barbershop storefront on First Avenue on the Upper East Side, where police finally caught up with the dangerous duo. The men, ages 32 and 36, were arrested for grand larceny auto, but further charges may be pending.

Phone Grabs Still Common on UES

Police say Upper East Siders should take care when using their cell phones, MP3 players or other electronic devices on the street. Thieves on bikes have been targeting distracted cell phone users, whizzing up behind them, grabbing the phone and racing off before you can say Angry Birds.

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