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The ‘rogue intern’ speaks! Says he stole gallery cash after false accusation

The Brooklyn Paper
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The rogue intern who allegedly swiped cash from a Boerum Hill gallery said he did it to get even with his boss for wrongly accusing him of stealing a phone.

James Baker, 16, of Queens, stole more than $1,000 from the Invisible Dog on Bergen Street, police said.

But there is more to this “every employer’s nightmare” story.

But before he surrendered to police on Saturday, Baker told The Brooklyn Paper that his internship was going great — until gallery owner Lucien Zayan blamed him for a missing iPhone.

“I was treated good at first, and then an iPhone goes missing, and I’m the first one he blames,” Baker said. “If he would have never blamed me, I would have never double-crossed him like that. I felt he was a cool guy.”

Because Zayan was so “cool,” the teenager said that he had no problem with the menial tasks he was asked to perform during his four-week internship: changing light bulbs and fetching coffee while gallery staff smoked cigarettes. But then Zayan pointed his finger over the iPhone.

So on May 9, Baker asked Zayan if he could use the computer to check his e-mail, but instead transferred $500 from an open PayPal window, cops said.

Zayan discovered the transfer almost immediately, in an e-mail confirmation from PayPal.

Zayan confronted the clumsy acolyte, who stormed off and headed straight for the bank to cash a $950 check he took from a company closet.

This week, Zayan denied the intern’s account, saying that he didn’t ask Baker about the missing iPhone until afterthe PayPal breach.

“I had no evidence, so I couldn’t accuse him,” Zayan said. “It should have been very easy to suspect him for everything, but I don’t work like that.”

Neither does Baker, he said.

“I should have never done it,” Baker said this week. “If I could go back in time and quit instead, I would.”

Baker had been placed at Invisible Dog through Exalt, a program that finds paid internships for troubled teens. Since Zayan filed the crime report, Exalt has expelled Baker and refunded Zayan’s money. The rest is now up to the police.

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Reader Feedback

Cynthia from Clinton hill says:
Ok so his boss thought he took his phone. Did he eventually find it? This guy is stupid, stealing to prove a stupid point ,wasent worth it.
May 23, 2011, 1:14 am
jj from brooklyn says:
It's pretty clear that the kid's boss was correct is suspecting him in the iPhone disappearance.
May 23, 2011, 8:58 am
Rob from Greenpoint says:
A loser with a sense of entitlement.
May 23, 2011, 9:22 am
WTF says:
This guy is the future inmate in the prison system. He may turn to a life of crime.
May 23, 2011, 12:08 pm
sad from South Brooklyn says:
Stupid move on the kids part, no doubt, but knowing he was coming from a program for troubled kids, maybe it wasn't so smart to leave a paypal account accessable, or checks in a closet he was likely told to clean out or organize.
Btw, this troubled kid could have been abused, neglected, or had any number of unfortunate reasons for being troubled, not that that excuses him from his crime at all, but you people should get the rest of his story before you judge so harshly.
May 24, 2011, 6:10 am
Cynthia from Clinton hill says:
Blah why was my comment remove ?
May 24, 2011, 1:44 pm

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