Billy continues anti-park-‘privatization’ crusade

Volume 78 / Number 15 – September 3 – 9, 2008

West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Police Blotter

Killer confesses

A Pace University sophomore was found dead in his shorts and T-shirt with an electric cord around his neck, a plastic bag in his mouth and a sheet pulled over his head in his Chelsea apartment on the top floor of 239 W. 15th St. when his roommate returned home Saturday evening Aug. 30, police said.

Police said the door to his apartment was closed but not locked and there was no sign of forced entry.

Kevin Pravia, 19, an honors student at the Lubin School of Business at Pace, was from western Massachusetts, where he was on the Nordic ski team in high school. His roommate, a woman from the same high school, is also a Pace student.

According to The New York Post, suspect Jeromie Cancel, 22 — who allegedly confessed to the killing — told police that he watched the bloody film “Saw,” as Pravia’s lifeless body lay in a bed nearby.

Cancel allegedly told police that he smothered and robbed Pravia after meeting him in Union Square at about 6 a.m. Saturday. The Daily News reported that Cancel is a drug dealer and that Pravia, who was drunk, had tried to score from him in Union Square.

“There was no indication of any sexual contact,” a police source said, the Post reported. The News reported Pravia was gay.

Cancel reportedly made off with a cell phone, iPod and laptop, which was later sold on the street. Police sources said that the cell phone has been recovered.

Cancel allegedly confessed after police arrested him at about 12:45 p.m. Monday at his father’s home in Ridgewood, Queens. His father reportedly called police after his son bragged in front of him that he had killed Pravia.

Pravia was last seen alive being helped into a cab at Gold and Fulton Sts. at 5:30 a.m. Sat., Aug. 30, after a party.

Wash. Sq. robbery

Police arrested a man and a woman for robbing a victim at 11:30 p.m. Fri., Aug. 22, as he was sitting on a bench in the southeast part of Washington Square Park. Sean Mobley, 47, of the Bronx, and Thalia Mobley, 31, who gave no address, were charged with assaulting and robbing the victim. Police said Thalia pulled the victim’s shirt over his head and Sean punched him in the face and took his money. The defendants, whose relationship was not explained, are being held in lieu of $10,000 bail pending a Sept. 26 court appearance.

Bag-snatch arrest

A woman walking on 15th St. at Fifth Ave. around 5 p.m. Mon., Aug. 25, screamed when a man grabbed her bag and ran, police said. Passersby chased the suspect, who suddenly turned and ran into the arms of one pursuer, police said.

The suspect, identified as Vernon Howard, 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 240 pounds, grabbed a bracelet from his captor’s wrist before police arrived and subdued him. Howard, who has a record of previous convictions, was being held in lieu of $5,000 bail pending a Sept. 23 court appearance on robbery charges, a spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney said.

Peeping McTom

A woman patron of the McDonald’s at 136 W. Third St. near MacDougal St. was in the women’s restroom at 8 p.m. Tues., Aug. 26, when a man entered, looked into her stall and began snapping photos, police said. She chased the suspect out of the fast-food place and pointed him out to police, who arrested Travis Sirmans, 32, of Brooklyn, and charged him with unlawful surveillance. Bail was set at $1,000 pending an Oct. 30 court appearance.


A 16-year-old boy was riding a bicycle on the Lower East Side Wednesday evening Aug. 20 when a man on foot chased him, knocked him off the bike at Madison and Market Sts., put a knife to his face and demanded everything in his pockets, police said. The thief fled on the bike, but the victim identified the suspect from mug shots at the Fifth Precinct. Police arrested Dominique McLaughlin, 17, of Brooklyn, on Aug. 26. He was being held in lieu of $7,500 bail pending an Oct. 30 court appearance, according to a spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney.

Bank robbed

A man who walked into the Bank of America branch at 126 Delancey St. at Essex St. at 11:50 a.m. Wed., Aug. 20, passed a note to a teller demanding money, police said. The suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was described as a black man in his 20s, about 6 feet tall, weighing about 175 pounds with a blue do-rag on his head and wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and sunglasses.

Sushi Samba swipe

A man having dinner in the sidewalk cafe of Sushi Samba, 87 Seventh Ave. South, on Wednesday night Aug. 27 was talking on his cell phone when a man on a bicycle rode by and snatched the phone from his hand, police said. The victim started to chase the thief but the suspect escaped.

Car break-ins

A man who parked his car in the garage at 31 E. 12th St. near University Place at 7:30 a.m. Wed., Aug. 27, returned at 4:30 p.m. and found the driver’s-side window smashed and several items missing.

A woman who parked her car in front of 129 W. 11th St. at 10 a.m. Sun., Aug. 24, returned at 5:30 p.m. and found two suitcases were gone from her trunk, which had not been forced, police said.

Burglary still spikes

The recent increase in burglary in the Sixth Precinct, which covers the West Village, continued for the week ending Aug. 24 this year compared to the same week last year, according to Police Department crime statistics. Five burglaries, including car break-ins, were reported for the week this year compared to only one the same week last year. For the 28-day period ending Aug. 24 this year, there were 22 burglaries compared to 10 for the same period last year. For the year to date, there were 165 burglaries reported compared to the 127 for the same period last year.

In the Ninth Precinct, which covers the East Village, grand larceny surged to 22 for the week ending Aug. 24 this year compared to 12 the same week last year. Grand larceny increased to 81 in the 28-day period ending Aug. 24 this year compared to 65 in the same period last year.

Burglaries also spiked in the Fifth Precinct, which covers the Lower East Side, Little Italy and Chinatown from Broadway to Allen St. between Houston St. and the Brooklyn Bridge, during the week ending Aug. 24 when 10 were reported compared to four the same week last year. For the 28-day period ending Aug. 24 there were 22 burglaries compared to 13 the year before.

Under the influence

Police stopped Jenny Londono, 22, in a car with Pennsylvania license plates on W. 14th St. at Eighth Ave. at 3 a.m. Wed., Aug. 27, for a traffic violation and charged her with driving while intoxicated. She tested .15 on a field alcohol breath test. The limit is .08.

Police stopped Derek Mitchell, 48, on the northeast corner of 14th and West Sts. at 1 a.m. Fri., Aug. 29, in a car with Florida license plates. The suspect was changing lanes without signaling, police said. Mitchell blew a .05 on a field alcohol breath test (.08 is the limit) but admitted that he had smoked marijuana and was in possession of two small bags of it, police said.

— Albert Amateau