‘Holy’ man cons a Downtown good gal

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Two con artists managed to cheat a woman out of $6,000 on Oct. 29 thanks to a complex ruse and the victim’s own good intentions.

It began when the 31-year-old woman was approached on the corner of Jay and Tillary streets around 3:30 pm by an older man with wrinkled skin who claimed not to be from America. He was trying to find somewhere he could spend the night, he said, and the unsuspecting woman tried to help him figure out where he was going.

At that moment, a second man approached them and said he knew a place where the “foreigner” could spend the night. The woman agreed to drive them to the corner of Atlantic and Fourth avenues, and they got into her car.

On the way, the older man managed to convince her that he was some kind of holy man, and he offered to bless her money as repayment for her favor. She consented, and handed him $6,000, which he put in a black handkerchief before formally “blessing” it.

He handed her the bundle when the men arrived at their destination, and she soon discovered that her money had been replaced with newspaper.


It wasn’t his money, but that didn’t stop a perp from withdrawing over $7,600 from a Montague Street bank on Nov. 6.

The crook walked into the nationally known bank, located near Clinton Street, around 11 am and proceeded to use his handgun as an ATM card. He pulled the weapon from his pocket, pointed it at the teller, gave him an envelope and said, “I want you to take care of this. Only fifties and hundreds.”

The terrified banking employee complied, stuffing the wallet with $7,611 — apparently shoving a few ones in there along with the requested big bills — and handing the money over to the perp, who ran out of the bank, transaction completed.

Bad medicine

A medical company had over $1,500 of equipment stolen from a company-owned car during the night of Oct. 27.

An employee parked the Chevrolet Impala on Joralemon Street near Henry Street around 6:30 pm, and by 10:30 the next morning, a thief had smashed the window and taken thermometers, syringes, needles, a feeding pump, and also the employee’s iPod.

Burglary bungle

A man tried, but failed, to break into a Henry Street house on Nov. 5, thanks to an alert neighbor who called the cops.

The 46-year-old perp was none too subtle in his methods, as he simply broke the front door of the home, near Hunts Lane, with a steel pipe at 4 pm. A neighbor noticed and dialed 911.

When the cops arrived, the man was in the process of gathering up loot to steal. After they successfully detained him, they discovered a crack pipe hidden in his shoe. Both pipes — the weapon and the drug paraphernalia — were taken as evidence.

Jewels jacked

When buying jewelry, purchasers tend to take their time and choose exactly the right item. When stealing jewelry, on the other hand, thieves tend to be less picky.

A gang of six men that robbed a Fulton Street jeweler on Nov. 5 certainly wasn’t choosy or nuanced in their methods, as they jumped the counter and grabbed nearly $7,000 in jewels from a display case.

The men entered the store, near Hanover Place, at around 1 pm. They didn’t waste time distracting the employees, opting to simply run over to the case, snatch as much as the could, and sprint out of the store as quickly as possible. It happened so fast that no one got a good look at any of the perps.

Wallet back

A trio of unusually courteous muggers gave a man his wallet back — sans cash — after he asked nicely on Nov. 4.

The victim was walking along Dean Street near Smith Street at 2 am when three men approached him. One of them indicated he had a gun in his pocket, and the other two ran through the 28-year-old’s pockets, taking his wallet, his iPod, and his Motorola cellphone.

The perps ran off, but the man had a request and followed them. He told them he really needed his wallet, and after the thieves saw there was no money in it, they gave it back. They did keep the electronics, however.

Delivery mess

A food deliveryman had the worst day of his professional life on Nov. 1, when his van was stolen with two cellphones and $700 in cash inside.

The 38-year-old left the doors unlocked and the keys inside when he parked his company’s 2006 Dodge van at the corner of Court and Pacific streets at noon.

He was gone for just a minute, but that was long enough for an enterprising perp to jump into the vehicle and drove off.

Quick switch

A gang of clever crooks went so low as to rob a man in a wheelchair on Oct. 18, and got away with $2,700 of very ill-gotten gain.

The 49-year-old victim had just withdrawn the money from his bank on the corner of Court and Livingston streets and was rolling away around 2 pm when a man asked him if he had dropped an envelope. He said he hadn’t, but just then two more men “accidentally” bumped into him, nearly knocking him over. The two men were very apologetic, helping the man up and asking him if he was okay before getting on a passing bus.

Minutes later, the man looked inside his envelope to discover that he had been had — his money had somehow been replaced with newspaper.

Office prowler

A DUMBO office building popular with crooks was once again the site of a string of burglaries on Nov. 5, when an underhanded perp looted at least three people’s desks and vanished.

The robberies all took place between 2 and 6 pm as the thief apparently worked his way through the building — located on Main Street near Water Street — looking for easy opportunities.

The first victim, a 27-year-old woman, was in a meeting for an hour and returned to find that her desk had been cleaned out. She lost $60, a $75 Metrocard, and a $300 gift card for J Crew, along with other credit cards.

The second victim left her bag on her desk while she left the room and discovered that someone had stolen her cellphone and her Marc Jacobs wallet — which contained no cash, but was worth $100.

The final victim left her desk for only a few minutes — enough time for the unknown crook to take her pocketbook, which contained several credit cards.

Child’s play

A 13-year-old’s phone was snatched at gunpoint on Nov. 8, but he ended up grabbing the phone right back.

The youngster was walking down Pacific Street at around 4 pm and was close to Nevins Street when a 5-foot-7 man wearing a dark jacket approached him. The perp showed off a gun, asked for the cellphone, and snatched it from his young victim’s hands.

The 13-year-old, apparently unafraid of the gun, ran after the perp, grabbed his phone from the man and ran back to his house, where he called the police on his recaptured cellphone.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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