A veteran news photographer was injured in a West Village carjacking Wednesday evening, police and colleagues said.
Seventy-three-year-old Sam Costanza, a Daily News photographer, who has been in the news business for about four decades, was the victim of a carjacking at 275 West 4th Street. According to sources, Costanza left his vehicle running while he made a visit to a nearby deli just before 7 pm on Aug. 10 when a 44-year-old man, Tabbica Mahmoud, of Brooklyn, allegedly commandeered the car.
Exiting the storefront, Costanza spotted the thief and attempted to stop the grand theft auto by hurling himself through the passenger window. Mahmoud allegedly hit the gas, dragging Costanza for three blocks before jumping a curb and crashing the vehicle. Costanza’s leg reportedly suffered a compound fracture in the chaos.
The suspect, who was ejected from the car during the ordeal, was taken to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation while Costanza was also hospitalized but reportedly checked himself out that night.
The would-be thief has a long list of prior offenses, according to sources familiar with the investigation, totaling to over 25 arrests. New York Press Photographers Association is condemning the incident and fuming that an individual with such an extensive criminal history was back on the street.
“We are outraged that our colleague and friend Sam Constanza was a victim of crime by a repeat offender in New York City that has seen its share of violence by people walking the streets as a result of turnstile justice,” Bruce Cotler, President of the New York Press Photographers Association said. “Our people are usually the ones taking photos of crime victims and so it pains us but doesn’t surprise us that one of our own suffers too. We will reach out to help him and pray for his speedy recovery.”
This isn’t the first Constanza has been hurt on the job in recent times. In Feb. 2021, Constanza was assaulted by BLM protesters while documenting a demonstration on 54th Street and 6th Avenue. He was left bloody during the attack.