Today’s news:


The pen is mightier Police are looking for a bandit wanted for robbing an area bank as well as three other financial institutions in the borough during a slew of heists which stretch back to last January. Investigators believe that 43-year-old James McDonald is responsible for holding up the Independence Savings Bank at 234 Prospect Place in Windsor Terrace on January 21, 2006, the North Fork Bank at 7120 New Utrecht Avenue in Bensonhurst on March 16, 2006, the Doral Bank at 478 5th Avenue in Park Slope this past January 17 and, most recently, the North Fork Bank at 4612 13th Avenue in Borough Park on January 21. In each case, he walked into the bank, handed a threatening note to a teller and ran off with an undisclosed amount of property. McDonald is described as a 5’8” white male between 180 and 190 pounds with blue eyes, medium build and is balding. Cops are asking anyone with information regarding this man to come forward. Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential. Too mobile It was so fast, they didn’t have time to dial out for help. Police said that a group of thieves ran into the T-Mobile store at 458 5th Avenue last week taking an assortment of phones. Workers said that the thugs, six in all, came into the store at 10:30 a.m. on January 22. As one of the men kept workers distracted, the rest removed four phones, valued at $1320, from a display case and ran off. Cops were still looking for the thieves as this paper went to press. Restaurant raid Thieves broke into the Futura Restaurant, 287 9th Street, last week, taking a laptop computer and a television projector, officials said. Police were told that the break-in took place sometime between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on January 24, although there is no apparent sign of forced entry. Art attack A 49-year-old resident of the 9th Street YMCA was arrested last week for allegedly attacking another resident with a hallway painting. Cops from the 78th Precinct were told that Arturo Gonzalez was arguing with a 54-year-old victim just before 1 a.m. on January 28 when he allegedly pulled the painting off the wall and struck the man in the face with it. The bludgeoned resident suffered injuries to his eye, nose and forehead, said officials. He was treated at the scene. Gonzalez was charged with assault in the first degree and criminal mischief. It wasn’t wax Cops are investigating a woman’s claims that a worker at an area car wash sprayed her in the face with a noxious chemical. The woman, a resident of Sunset Park, told police that she was having her car pampered at the Golden Touch Car Wash, 296 4th Avenue, just before 2 p.m. on January 21 when one of the workers allegedly spritzed her for no reason. Police were told that the woman didn’t do anything immediately, but went to New York Methodist Hospital when she started feeling a burning sensation on the spot where the chemical had hit her. Investigators say that they did not know what caused the car wash employee to spray his victim. Brawl at 200 5th A 25-year-old employee of 200 5th Avenue was arrested last week after allegedly attacking a co-worker with a baseball bat. Officials said that Staten Islander Efrain Martinez was arguing with his 20-year-old victim inside the popular bar at 6 a.m. on January 22 when he allegedly struck the man in the arm with a wooden bat. His victim was rushed to Long Island College Hospital, where he was treated for a fracture. Responding officers charged Martinez with assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Register thief sought A would-be bookworm is being sought for bashing a 25-year-old bookseller over the head with her own cash register. Police said that the unidentified suspect entered Adam’s Books, 456 Bergen Street, at 12:20 p.m. on January 24 claiming that he wanted to sell a bag full of books. When the worker refused to buy the books, the suspect left, but reportedly returned in a rage. The victim told police that the thief ran around the counter, picked up a small cash register and hit her over the head with it. He then tucked the register, as well as the $206 inside it, under his arm and ran off. The book seller was rushed to Brooklyn Hospital with a minor injury. Cops are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to come forward. Calls can be made to the 78th Precinct at (718) 636-6411. All calls will be kept confidential. Jumped from behind A man in a red-hooded jacket is being sought for robbing and throttling a 25-year-old woman as she entered her 6th Avenue apartment building. The victim told police that she was stepping into the lobby at 4 a.m. on January 15 when a black male in his 20s jumped her from behind and grabbed her by the throat. “I won’t hurt you, give me your money,” the thug said before robbing the woman of $30 in cash, her cell phone and some jewelry. Police said that the victim was not seriously injured. Cops are asking anyone with information to call the 78th Precinct at (718) 636-6411. All calls will be kept confidential. Wipe out graffiti As the ongoing war against graffiti continues, a $500 reward is being offered to anyone with information about graffiti vandals in their neighborhoods. The hefty reward is part of the city’s new push to rid New York of graffiti vandals. Graffiti is one of the leading quality of life complaints brought to police. Anyone with information about graffiti vandalism is urged to contact either 311 or 911. What you leave behind Talk about your dropped calls! A cell phone left behind at a brazen gunpoint robbery helped police bring down the group of thieves, the first of which was arrested Monday. Stephen Bennett, 20, was taken into custody on January 29 after the phone was identified as belonging to his sister, police said. Bennett is being charged for robbing the Projects Deli near the corner of Columbia and Huntington streets on the night of December 13. The victim claimed that a group of men, their faces covered with a bandanna, entered the store and pulled a gun on a worker, demanding the money from the register. Bennett was allegedly a lookout. The phone fell out of his pocket as he and his accomplices fled the scene, officials alleged. Cops charged Bennett with robbery. As this paper was going to press, detectives from the 76th Precinct were tracking the rest of the muggers down. Sovereign steal Cops are looking for the thief who held up a Sovereign Bank last week. Police said that the thief, described as a 6’, 200-pound black male wearing a black waist length jacket and blue baseball cap entered the bank, located on Court Street between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue at 9:45 a.m. on January 22 and handed a teller a threatening note. “Give me all your money,” the note read. “I have a gun.” The thief walked out of the bank with over $2,000 as well as his note, which he demanded back, officials said. Cops are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to come forward. Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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