Call it the New York Crimes.
In the last few months, every Saturday and Sunday morning before 7 am, a thief has darted up brownstone steps in Park Slope and stole the freshly delivered New York Times, and cops and the delivery company say there is little they can do to prevent it.
So some Park Slopers are taking matters into their own hands.
“I’m a Times reader, so I get very angry if I don’t get my paper,” said Michael Guthammar, a longtime Park Place resident who rigged up a Web cam over his stoop three weeks ago and posted a sign: “Please smile if you steal our newspaper.”
He has received his paper ever since.
The bandits have frustrated the Times, its Brooklyn distribution center, and residents along an eight-block stretch from Dean Street to Park Place.
“It’s crazy, but there’s nothing you can do,” said Donna Grant, who works at the distribution center. “[The thief is] not scared; he’s very bold.”
Carriers have tried to restrain the burglar from stealing papers.
“But how long can you hold someone? What are you going to do, knock him upside his head? No. We can’t win,” Grant said. “We just try to redeliver all the papers.”
To add insult to injury, the perp isn’t stupid — Grant said carriers have told her the thief does not take every paper on a street, just those of people who he knows don’t wake up until later in the morning.
A Times spokeswoman, Diane McNulty, said she was not aware of these specific complaints, but said that customers can receive a credit or redelivery “regardless of the reason” after reporting the missing paper to the Times.
But carriers are forced to redeliver those papers, said Grant, who suspects the burglar is simply reselling the papers to a bodega for a few quick bucks.
Cops at the local precinct said they hadn’t received reports about the missing papers and hadn’t made any arrests.
There is one solution: McNulty said the Times can work with customers to change delivery to an alternate location or work with a building’s management to obtain access for delivery inside.
After a few weeks of missing papers, another Park Place resident, Peter de Seve, now happily finds his paper tucked behind a gate beneath his stoop each Sunday.
“Not getting the Sunday Times was kind of irritating,” de Seve said.
©2008 Community News Group
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