Crimes and misdemeanors on Vestry Street

This is a story about street parking, hired cars, a liquor store and a serial vandal. It’s one that could only happen in New York, and while we can’t take pride in that in this case, one result is neighbors have bonded and friendships have been forged. But this story is not quite over, and its ending may not be a happy one.

Here are the ground rules: I am not going to name any sources but will only use initials. I will say that everyone lives on either Vestry or Laight — on the blocks that connect with a U-turn east of Hudson. There has been an arrest and a court hearing, and there is one more court date to come. I am not going to name the perpetrator either, since he is also local to the block. There is not enough evidence to connect all the dots here, so I am not about to be judge and jury. You’ll see what I mean as you read on. But know that all the names — including the perpetrator’s — are known to me, and I confirmed details with the NYPD and the Manhattan DA. Here is how it began:

S. emailed first. Over the course of two years, he said, his cars had been keyed when parked outside his building on Vestry. All in, he had four cars keyed and filed three police reports, the first in February 2018. His daughter’s friend also got her car keyed on Laight when visiting one evening.

I spoke to J. next. He moved to Laight Street two and a half years ago and within months his old Audi TT got keyed while parked outside. In May 2018 he gets a brand new Porsche 911 (I know, but yes). He parks it in a lot but sometimes, for a couple hours, parks it in front of his building. Within five weeks of owning that car, a mysterious message is scratched deep into its pristine paint job: Salis V. (“I figured it was a Latin small penis joke, you know, like I am compensating with my car.”) A few months later, he comes out to the street to see a loose cobblestone on the sidewalk — and a massive dent in the roof of the car. He filed police reports for every incident, five in total, except the cobblestone. “It seemed useless. No one seemed to give a shit.”

Next up, T. and J. — let’s say J2 — who have lived on the block for eight years. Starting in February 2019, they had their cars keyed three times and reported it to the police each time. But J. says long before her car was scratched, she had noticed cars on the block marked with pink spray paint.

Fast forward to this past May. Another J., we will call him J3, is sitting in his Range Rover waiting for a passenger. He hears a scratching sound and jumps out. The man keying his car at that very moment then takes off down the block, J3 takes chase and the man runs into Hudson Wine & Spirits across the street. That’s when the neighbors start to gather. J. comes down; the perpetrator’s wife comes down; the perpetrator comes out from the liquor store. There’s some discussion then on the sidewalk and seven days later, an arrest.

The charges: criminal mischief in the fourth degree. The perpetrator: a man who lives on the block. I have the docket number and have talked to DCPI and the DA. From the DA’s press officer: “As this was the defendant’s first arrest, the People offered a plea of $300 restitution and Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, which the defendant accepted. If the defendant is not rearrested at any time in the next 6 months, he will return to court on 3/16/2020 and his case will be dismissed.”

So what to think? The neighbors have debated this for years and their only conclusion: intimidation. The perp thinks only *he* should be able to park *his* car on the street. That’s the only explanation they can invent. Of course, all the keying events cannot be connected with evidence — they could be the work of several people — though since the arrest from J3’s scratching, there has not been another incident.

There is now some relief among the neighbors, but also an odd satisfaction in that through this bizarre series of events, folks have gotten to know each other. “We became friends through this,” said J., who said he considered moving but then decided he wouldn’t be pushed out by a bully. “I have a right to live here and not be vandalized.” But the story may not be over. Some neighbors think the police should start to connect the dots, and may push them to do so. “This is so vengeful,” said J2. “It’s brutal,” added T. “It’s about humanity and respect. This behavior is not normal.”

 

24 Comments

  1. There are literally surveillance cameras on every street, how were they not used in any of these cases?

    • Unfortunately, all the building mounted cameras on Laight St only capture the passenger side on vehicles. This well educated Physician apparently deduced this obvious fact and confined his keying actions to the drivers side of his victims cars.

      • How can this man be a practicing physician?

        • Dr. …..z graduated from the Georgetown University in 1989. Dr. …..z works in Bronx, NY and 1 other location and specializes in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. …..z is affiliated with Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center.

  2. A grown man is repeatedly destroying property and nothing is happening to him??? That’s outrageous privilege. My brother in law spent the night in jail for keying a car with a never ending car alarm for weeks on east 9th Street.

  3. How many thousands of dollars in damage and all he has to pay is $300? Justice is blind, deaf and beyond dumb!

    • If the perp lives on Laight/Vestry, he probably has quite a bit of $. Would definitely sue this p.o.s. in civil court for damage to property if I were one of The Scratched.

      • Wow, i didn’t know that i was only $300 restitution.

        It was $15,000 to fix the Salis V grafitti and $38,000 to fix the dent in the roof from the cobble stone. Insurance paid minus deductables, but my premium skyrocketed because the block is now considered a high risk zone.

        Stupidity at its best.

        • This guy’s a sociopath and ass, but why park on the street if you have a nice car? If you can afford 4 cars or whatever and a Porsche, just leave it the lot.

  4. The video surveillance has the person and the police knows who he is…

    • I know his name, his address, his apt, the address of his home in the Hamptons. The address of his practice(obgyn). His car: silver BMW X4, NY MD license plates. Plus, I have his picture.

      Maybe he’d prefer to make us whole voluntarily?

  5. While this is appalling, the criminal justice system does not treat non-violent crime the same way it does violent offenses, for reasons that have to do with budgetary constraints and budget cuts over many years (I was an executive in a major criminal justice agency when these cuts were happening). We simply can’t afford to incarcerate everyone, try as we do. There are sentencing guidelines that staff must adhere to.

    I have often said that, if one commits the right level of non-violent crime, the system can’t afford to do anything to you, which seems to be the case here.

    I would put cameras up and down the street and see if folks can sue in civil court.

    Just appalling.

  6. The pos lives at 44 Laight St. 5th floor, is an MD, wife and 2 kids.

  7. For those wondering about the cameras, there was scaffolding on Laight St. for ages and the line of sight to the cars was blocked. You could only see the sidewalk.

    In my case, the Dr. did his dirty work on the street facing side. To make matters worse, a couple of us work at the non-profit on the street. I do not own a luxury car and yet he stilled egged it (2x) and also sparky painted it pink/keyed.

    At first I wondered if someone on our small team had a vendetta against me when it was just the eggings but I only drove in once in a blue moon and didn’t think anyone knew I even had my old car still ha.

    The bigger vandalism was the last straw for me. Now I’m pissed he only had to pay $300! Alas, thankfully my insurance footed most of the bill, but realizing that my deductible, paid for with my NP salary, was the same amount as his little fine just adds salt to the wound.

    Hopefully they release his name when the case is closed so that we can at least get restitution in other ways.

  8. Caught red-handed. And no justice. $300? Unacceptable. Where has common decency and civility gone? Coddling criminal and turning a blind eye to criminal behavior is lawlessness and leads to anarchy.

  9. I definitely think the good doctor who did this (yes, he’s a doctor!) should be sued. He’s been terrorizing the neighborhood for too long. Why wasn’t his name published? Why is he protected?

  10. This is absurd. I feel sorry for those who had their cars keyed and damaged. Clearly the offender has mental issues. What normal grown up would do such a thing. Shame on him. Karma will get him sooner or later…hopefully in a very meaningful way.

  11. …. if he hadn’t been a Dr. living in Tribeca and if his skin were a wee bit darker, he would be in jail.

  12. In total – i have had 6 incidents – total damage almost $60,000…
    The cobble stone thru the roof was $38,000 alone..

    vicious…

    • I’m in for just north of $15K.

      While the good Dr. Vandal’s new and unscathed silver BMW X4
      New York license plate #MD 85347 is parked smugly and contentedly on our local streets. Funny how HIS car escaped being vandalized!

  13. Victimized – why don’t you share his full name? The justice for this vandalism should be the public embarassment. That is a much better penalty than $300

  14. I am a frequent parker on laight and now have an explanation as to the key mark on my car. I thought the picture above was my car and had to do a double take as its nearly identical!!

    Such an abhorrent and disgusting act – I didn’t file a police report or insurance claim (and still carry the 5ft long scratch). I imagine there are many others who don’t read this site who will never know, and have already had to pay out of pocket for the fix, at a cost well north of $300.

    Shameful.

    • I’ve seen at least a dozen other cars with the same signature key marks. They’ll know soon enough as the NY Post has already been alerted and may run a follow up piece. They drool over stuff like this. Dr. Vandal!

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