22-year-old slight of hand expert, Sony Echavarri, wearing a big blue button stating: “I Believe in Magic,” related his tale as he awaited the arraignment of three suspects.
Mr. Echavarria said that at 6:40pm Thursday, he was on the corner of 45th and Broadway getting ready to perform when he was grabbed from behind and knocked to the ground and tried to grab is money bag. He tugged the bag away from them and gave chase. They were waiting for him in parking lot wielding nail-studded planks. “We’re going to kill you,” one of the assailants reportedly threatened. But suddenly the magician said, he flourished a scarlet silk scarf and warned it could hurt them, and turned it into a medal cane – a feat, he said, that left the muggers gawking in astonishment and backing away.
“I couldn’t let them get away with it. A magician has to have respect. If I ran away it would get around.” Mr. E, who is 6 foot 1, 185 pounds, (with a large afro and mutton chop sideburns, broad collared open shirt and jacket.) said he was surprised that anyone would select him as a victim.
Echavarria an admirer of Phillipe Petit the French aerialist who walked a wire between the twin towers, claimed that on September 12th, he will attempt to “extricate himself from a straitjacket while hanging upside down from a helicopter hovering above the World Trade Center 1500 feet above the pavement”.
Excerpt from Leslie Maitland Sept 3, 1977 New York Times