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Top 10 Weird Crimes of the Week

Priest on the run, gasoline-drenched cat in Pelham, and newspaper theft.

This week's compendium of unusual crimes and police blotter items includes alleged cabbie choking, a gasoline-covered cat, and a priest on the run.

Deli Owner Allegedly Steals Papers from Other Stores for Resale

A deli owner in South Salem was arrested after a video surveillance camera caught him , said Bedford police.

Police set up the sting after local business owners alerted police that newspapers were disappearing from their stores in the early morning hours.

On April 2 at around 5 a.m., police observed Charles Mattiello, 62, of Katonah, on video apparently taking newspapers from the stores. He drove away, and shortly afterwards, police pulled him over on Route 35. Mattiello had with him $12.75 in stolen newspapers from the Katonah Service Center on Bedford Road, said police.

Mattiello later admitted to taking copies of the New York Times, the Daily News and Oggi, valued at $155 from the Bedford Hills Deli and Dee's Variety in Bedford Hills, police said.  

Michael Gasperino, owner of the Bedford Hills Deli, said he was glad he wouldn't be losing any more papers, but he also felt badly that a fellow small business owner turned to stealing to make ends meet.

"It's a sign of the times, for sure," he said. "I'm sure he's a nice guy and was taking a hit like we all are in this recession. We're pinching pennies too."

Mattiello was charged with three counts of petit larceny and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, all A misdemeanors. He was released without bail pending an appearance in Bedford Town Court. 

Port Chester Man Asleep at the Wheel as Car Rolled in Diner Parking Lot Arrested for DWI

A Port Chester man was arrested for when he fell asleep at the wheel and his car rolled into another vehicle in a diner parking lot, said police.

"Yes, I'm drunk," Adrieo Rodriguez, 32, told officers when they woke him up, according to the police report.

Diners called police at 5:45 a.m. on April 2 when they spotted Rodriguez asleep behind the wheel of his 1998 BMW as it rolled into a Ford.

Rodriguez slept through the minor crash; his keys were in the ignition and the vehicle was still in drive when the officers arrived. Police were able to apply the break and wake Rodriguez, who, according to the report, did not protest.

Gasoline-Covered Cat in Pelham

A Pelham resident called police on March 26 to report that her household cat was let out, as it is every morning, and returned later covered in gasoline. No police action was taken as the resident wanted to report the incident for police documentation only. 

April Fool’s, Mom and Dad

A Yorktown resident called police on April 1 at around 5 a.m. to report her young son missing. Police found the child at home, under a blanket.

It’s Not Mine, Honey, I Swear!

On April 5, a Yorktown woman reported to police that she and her husband received two packages of pornographic material that neither of them ordered.

The Case of the Pilfered Pinot Grigio

An employee at the The Art of Wine store in Pleasantville called police on April 1 and said that a man came into the store, took a bottle of Pinot Grigio off a shelf and fled the scene on foot. Police arrived on the scene, but neither the man nor the wine were found.

Man Attempts to Choke Cabbie in Robbery Attempt, Police Said

Good Samaritans attempted to aid a White Plains cab driver who was Monday, causing the suspect to abort the robbery and flee before being caught by White Plains police.

Alvin Barden, who stays at the Open Arms men’s shelter at 86 E. Post Rd., and another man were picked up by a city taxi from Executive Billiards around 9:30 p.m. Monday and driven to Gardella Park, police said.  Barden paid $6, and then asked to be taken to Yonkers. The cab driver refused but agreed to bring Barden to the bus station.

As the cab driver was making a U-turn, Barden allegedly began to choke the cab driver and demand money. The second man in the cab jumped out of the taxi, and ran up Westview Avenue. Police said the man isn’t a suspect at this time.

The cab driver stopped in front of 141 Ferris Ave., where people outside tried to get help. Barden fled and ran up Richards Street. He was found shortly after hiding behind scaffolding at 155 Ferris Ave., according to the reports.

Police said they believe Barden is behind a similar incident that occurred around 5 a.m. Saturday morning in front of 220 Ferris Ave—where a thief told a cab driver he was holding a gun to the cab driver’s head before stealing a cell phone and $160. These items were not recovered. 

Barden was charged with attempted robbery in the third degree for this incident, as well as robbery in the first degree for threatening and stealing from a taxi driver on Saturday.

FBI Imposter Calls From Jamaica

 A Rye Brook woman told police that she received a call on March 31 from an unknown man stating that he was with FBI. However, the caller ID showed that the number was from Jamaica. The alleged FBI agent told the woman that her husband was the victim of a scam. He asked to speak with her husband in order to clear up the matter and get some personal information from him. The woman hung up the phone, but she was suspicious, so she had her son call back pretending to be her husband. The man on the other end of the phone hung up. 

The woman then called police, but while she was on the phone, she received a second call from the same man stating that she had just won $2.5 million. He told her to call another phone number to claim her prize. The police did a reverse look-up to find out the name of the caller, but they were unsuccessful. However, they discovered the phone call was made from Kingston, Jamaica. The woman was advised to call the phone company to block the man’s number. 

 Public Masturbation in Greenwich

Police arrested Luis E. Bautista-Contreras, 31, of Port Chester on April 7 for public indecency and breach of peace after a neighbor witnessed him masturbating outside a home where he was working.

Bautista-Contreras, a lawn sprinkler maintenance worker, was seen masturbating near a shed on the Greenwich property. He was released on $500 bond and scheduled to appear April 15 in state Superior Court in Stamford.

 Priest on the Run

This one isn’t officially in our jurisdiction, but it's one of those items that defines  "unusual suspects."

Father Francis G. McCloskey, age 71, of Cairo, NY, was arrested for fleeing an officer, reckless driving and other charges on April 6.  Responding to a 911 call reporting a stolen vehicle, a trooper saw the vehicle on the road and attempted to stop it.  McCloskey fled, but was eventually stopped in the town of Livingston.

McCloskey was also wanted by the Hudson Police Department for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and by the New York State Police in Lysander. McCloskey was arraigned and sent to county jail.

Sandra Siegel April 14, 2011 at 03:21 PM
About a year or two ago, I got calls from Jamaica as well. They claimed they were from my bank and wanted information. I hung up on them. They called again and I yelled at them and hung up. They called me back and cursed at me. I called the Clarkstown Police and they saw the three calls on my caller ID and confirmed that they were from Jamaica. However, when I called the phone company with the police report I was told that the calls cannot be blocked. They cannot block individual numbers.

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