West Side Crime Watch

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Fake Bomb Heist

Last Thursday, a man walked into the Chase bank on Columbus Avenue and West 72nd Street, walked directly to a teller window and passed a note through the glass that read, "I have a bomb, pass me the money." The teller did as she was instructed, handing over $2,000 in cash-and the dye packs banks use to thwart robbers, unbeknownst to the perp. He slipped the bills into his jacket pockets and walked out, hopping into a cab whose driver he had instructed to wait for him. The cab drove off, but when the dye packets did their job and exploded all over the bills and the man's jacket, he stopped the taxi a block away and fled on foot. The suspect has not yet been arrested; police are looking for a black male, about 35 years old, 5-foot-9, 230 pounds, who was wearing a leather or suede coat and a green skullcap.

Vicious Attack

Last Friday morning, a 41-year-old man was arrested for violently assaulting his girlfriend as she was leaving for work with her daughter. The victim was exiting her apartment when the boyfriend appeared and shouted, "Give me money," shoving her inside. He then strangled her, knocked her to the floor, punched her in the face and head and kicked her, all just to grab her purse, which didn't contain any money. The perp tried to access the victim's bank accounts at three different ATM locations in the area, before giving up and returning to the scene of his crime to fling the purse at the victim's mother, who was there to help her injured daughter.

Bar Sneak

In the wee hours last Monday morning, a patron of the bar Jake's Dilemma noticed another fellow kindly picking up coats and purses that had fallen on the floor and placing them back on chairs and tables. Upon closer look, however, the vigilant observer saw that the man was in fact picking the pockets of the items he was moving, and the man confronted the perp after two ladies confirmed that their wallets were missing. The thief shoved his accuser out into the street in plain sight of a police officer, who arrested him after finding three Metrocards he had tossed on the floor and a pink wallet in his front pocket that did not belong to him. The rest of the wallets were found emptied in the men's bathroom.

Grab and Go

Also early last Monday, just a few minutes before closing time, a man sidled up to the bar at a Columbus Avenue joint and opened his wallet to pay for a bottle of water. In the blink of an eye, another man appeared, snatched $540 in cash and a $700 bracelet from the thirsty guy and fled the scene.

Bank Skimmer Strikes

A 76-year-old woman reported a bank scam to the police last week. She discovered when she checked her accounts online that some unknown, unauthorized person had transferred $40,000 from her home equity account to her checking account and then written a check for $9,600 out to Reliance Financial, which was cashed and cleared.

A Lesson in Security

No one deserves to get ripped off, but some people make themselves easy targets. A woman reported to police last week that her TD Bank card and her driver's license had been stolen and that someone had withdrawn $2,957.90 from her accounts between Feb. 13 and 16. When the police officer interviewing her asked how the perp could have gotten her PIN number, the woman admitted that she had written it right on her debit card.

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