Police Blotter, Sept. 19, 2013
Beth Israel bamboozled
A doctor at Beth Israel Medical Center is accused of stealing more than $260,000 from the hospital, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced on Sept. 11. Lawrence Levitan, 58, was indicted on felony charges of grand larceny, falsifying business records and criminal tax fraud, the D.A. Said.
According to court documents, Levitan was working at Beth Israel, in Gramercy, as an obstetrician gynecologist, and participated in the hospital’s Faculty Practice Plan, under which he was required to split payments evenly between himself and the hospital. But between February 2010 and September 2012, Levitan allegedly put checks from at least 685 patients directly into his personal bank account, the D.A. Said.
Levitan’s criminal tax fraud charges stemmed from the result of that alleged activity, since Beth Israel, with Levitan’s consent, unwittingly underreported the doctor’s taxable wages in 2010 and 2011, according to court documents.
‘I’m gonna kill this baby’
Police arrested Ricardo Harper, 57, after he allegedly threatened to murder a baby with an umbrella near Union Square. A woman told police she was walking down E. 12th St., between Broadway and University Place, around 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 12, with her baby in a stroller in front of her. She said that a strange man — later identified as Harper — walked past her while carrying an umbrella, and then turned to approach her.
Harper then allegedly pointed his umbrella into the stroller and said, “I’m gonna kill this baby,” after which the woman immediately fled and reported the incident to police. Officers were able to spot and arrest Harper shortly afterward, during a canvass of the area.
Harper was charged with menacing and criminal possession of a weapon.
An alleged thief slipped away from cops in the Village, but he was busted two days later after committing another crime in Lower Manhattan.
Police said Andre Devore, 49, walked into Il Cantuccio, an Italian restaurant at 91 Christopher St., around 2:45 p.m. on Sept. 9, and then snuck past unwitting employees into the restaurant’s downstairs office. After entering the office through an open door, Devore allegedly grabbed $100 in cash and an employee’s cell phone before fleeing on foot.
The restaurant’s management didn’t realize a crime had been committed until several hours later; so once it was eventually reported, Sixth Precinct police were unsuccessful in their canvass of the area to find Devore. But officers obtained video surveillance footage that showed a clear image of the individual in the office during the time of the alleged theft.
Then, on Sept. 11, Devore was arrested farther Downtown by First Precinct officers, for criminal possession of stolen property. Once he was booked in the system, Village police were were able to identify Devore as the suspect in the Sept. 9 video footage of the Il Cantuccio thefts, for which he was charged with burglary.
Two heroic bystanders utilized the quickness of younger legs to take down a fleeing wallet thief on the afternoon of Sept. 14.
It all started when an unsuspecting man, 56, was exiting the F/M subway station at W. 14th St. and Sixth Ave. around 1:30 p.m., police said. Santiago Talavera, 58, allegedly bumped into the man, snatched the wallet out of his pocket, and took off running out of the station. Two other men, 23 and 32, witnessed the incident and chased Talavera out of the station and up onto the street. The fleeing man tried to fight the two younger men off whenever they got close to him, police said, but they were eventually able to subdue him outside a Dunkin’ Donuts on Sixth Ave., midway between W. 14th and W. 15th Sts.
While the victim called police, the subway samaritans restrained Talavera until officers arrived to arrest him. He was charged with robbery, grand larceny, jostling and criminal possession of stolen property.
Stop that car!
Police said they spotted Muhammad Khan, 38, driving a Lincoln Town Car around 5 a.m. on Sept. 15 when he was blatantly in the bike lane while driving south on Hudson St. With the officers tailing him, Khan then reportedly made a left turn through a red light onto Horatio St., and continued eastbound until making another left to head north on W. Fourth St., blowing through a stop sign, police said. He reportedly ignored another stop sign when he turned onto W. 13th St. heading west.
The officers tried to get Khan to pull over, turning on their lights and sirens, then using their patrol car’s loudspeaker to order him to stop, but he kept driving.
Khan continued westbound on W. 13th St. until hitting Hudson St. once again, police said, where he turned left to begin speeding southbound. He then reportedly turned right on Jane St., heading west and racing through two more stop signs before making a left to head south on Washington St.
The kooky car chase finally came to an end when the officers were able to box in his vehicle at the intersection of Washington and W. 12th Sts., police said. He was charged with reckless driving, reckless endangerment and unlawfully fleeing a police officer.
— Sam Spokony