Wednesday, November 30, 1977

Inquiry Finds Fraud in Race-Horse Switch

New York racing investigators have established to their satisfaction that the horse that ran and won at Belmont last September as the long-shot “Lebon” was actually the Uruguayan champion Cinzano, and that Dr. Mark J. Gerard was the hidden owner of the horse.

The New York Racing Association called it “one of the most serious race-track frauds in recent history.” There was photographic evidence of an earlier switch of South American horses by Gerard as well.

Racing fans in Uruguay heard of “Lebon’s” surprise victory on Sept. 23rd and the tabloid Mundocolor asked the AP for a winner’s-circle photograph.

Julian Perez, the racing editor and others immediately recognized the horse in the photograph as Cinzano. They called The Jockey Club in New York and the investigation began.

Ex NYT Montgomery 11/30/77

Cauthen: 6 Winners For 3rd Time in Year

Just when Steve Cauthen’s most loyal fans were beginning to wonder when the 17-year-old jockey was going to end a slump that had extended through 22 straight races along came the boy wonder to quell their doubts with six winners in eight appearances on the card yesterday at Aqueduct.

The teenage jockey’s performance was even more significant in that only one of his winning mounts was the favorite.

He now has 460 winners this season – 418 in New York. He is the first jockey to reach the $5 million mark in one season.

Ex 11/30/77 M. Strauss

Wolves at Flushing Meadows Zoo Recaputered After Killing 2 Deer

Parks Department personnel and the police spent Sunday night chasing 12 wolves that had escaped from their pen in the zoo at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Before the last one was rounded up yesterday morning, the wolves had killed two deer and injured two others at the zoo.

The wolves clawed their way through a chain-link fence. “We chased them on foot and by car all night. There was never any danger to people living outside the park. The wolves never left the zoo enclosure.”

Excerpt from NYT Schumach 11/30/77

Sunday, November 27, 1977

South Americans In US Said to Run Shoplifting Gangs

Every morning at about 9 o’clock as many as 50 Chilean nationals gather in a 24-hour restaurant in Washington Heights and, over coffee, talk about business. Their business takes them on the road and they notify each other of where they will be working so they won’t cover the same territory. Then, climbing into their cars, they are off to their work – shoplifting.

Law enforcement authorities say they are a few of the well over one thousand South Americans – Chileans, Colombians and Peruvians who have become increasingly skilled at and now devote full time to shoplifting, netting as much as $1,000 each on a good day for about four hours work.

Although shoplifting is estimated by the United States Department of Commerce to cost stores up to $5 billion a year in this country, most of it is done by amateur thieves – teenagers out on a spree or kleptomaniacs who cannot resist taking something without paying for it. The emergence of the South American ring marks a new trend toward organized professional shoplifting.

excerpt from David Bird NYT 11/27/77

Friday, November 25, 1977

Rikers Island No Less Grim 2 Years After Its Rebellion

So far this year, 36 inmates have attempted to escape from Rikers: three were drowned, four are still at large and the rest were recaptured. Last year 16 attempted to escape.

Excerpt from The New York Times Kifner 11/25/77

Tuesday, November 22, 1977

Ringer Horse Is Traced to Saratoga

The mystery horse in the Belmont Park ringer case spent time at Saratoga last summer under an apparent alias, investigators have learned.

Less than a month before he won a race at Belmont under the false name of Lebon, the ringer was Denim at Saratoga.

Gerard imported Lebon and Cinzano, a much faster horse, from Uruguay last June. A third horse in the consignment, an Argentine-bred named Boots Cononero was also shipped to the farm in Muttontown LI. All three horses look alike: bay colts with no markings except an irregular star, a patch of white, on their foreheads.

On Sept 23rd, after having run dismally at odds of 7-1 on Sept 9, the horse represented as Lebon won easily at Belmont for a payoff of $116 for $2. Gerard has been identified as the bettor who collected about $77,000 in winnings on the long shot’s 57-1 victory. But the authorities have declared the “Lebon” was actually a ringer, and they suspect the mystery horse was really Cinzano.

Ex NYT Cady 11/22/77

3 Gunmen Dine, Then Rob 19 In Queens Restaurant

Three gunmen robbed 19 patrons and seven employees of $10,000 in jewelry and $1400 in cash early yesterday in a restaurant in the Rego Park section of Queens.

The police said the robbers entered the restaurant – the Vienese Pub at about 11:30pm and ordered dinner. After eating, they paid their bill of $30 and then went to the restaurant’s bar, where they produced guns. They ordered the customers and employees to lie in the rear and then robbed them.

The manager said that the gunmen then took him to the safe in the basement and that, when he said he did not know the combination, had his neck and ear slashed. They gunmen fled in a stolen car.

Excerpt from New York Time Nov 22, 1977

Sunday, November 20, 1977

Spinks Gets Match With Ali Feb 15

While Leon Spinks, the 24-year-old Olympic champion was pounding out a close but unanimous 10-round decision last night over Alfio Righetti, the hitherto undefeated champion of Italy, more attention was focused on M. Ali who sat watching, then on the fighters.

Although the fight was active enough and more competitive than some had expected, there was no doubt that Ali was the only person in the building who really mattered. The crowd of 3000 reacted much more noisely to his prefight speech from the ring than to anything that happened in it afterward.

“I am here for one reason, to see which of these fighters is worthy of challenging me,” Ali cried out in his customary evangelical style, but in a voice that sounds hoarser than it used to. “I am the savior, the prophet, the resurrector,” he went on. “I am the onliest one keeping this thing alive. I am 36 years old and I’m still the greatest fighter of all time.”

Ex NYT Leonard Koppett 11/20/77

From the Police Blotter:

A 19-year-old man was stabbed to death at Madison and Montgomery Streets in the Two Bridges area of Manhattan where he lived. He was identified as Orlando Trujillo of 65 Pike Street. The police said he had a record of burglary and grand larceny arrests.

A bird watcher found the body of an unidentified man in his 50’s tied in a blanket in a wooded area off Grand Central Parkway and Francis Lewis Blvd in the Jamica Estates section of Queens. The man, who had $105 in his pockets, had apparently been shot in the head and strangled.

A Staten Island man was shot to death, allegedly by his friend who had been his best man at his wedding.

excerpt from NYT 11/20/77

Saturday, November 19, 1977

Buttock Pinch Without Consent Is Ruled a Crime in New York

Pinching or touching the buttocks of a person without that person’s consent is a crime in New York and punishable by a jail term, a Manhattan Criminal Court judge has ruled.

“If the alleged occurrence had in fact taken place in an area where the social mores condone the unconsented touching or pinching of the buttocks – rumor has it that Italy may be such an area – perhaps the defendant’s position could be sustained.”

Sexual abuse in the third degree is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in jail.

Excerpt from Tom Goldstein New York Times Nov 19, 1977

Police Press Hunt for Youth Suspected of Two Dozen Flatbush Rapes

A special task force of as many as 40 police officers has begun a nightly stakeout of a neighborhood in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn in an effort to capture a youth suspected of raping two dozen women there since June 1976.

Aged 20 to 89, all were raped in apartments where they lived alone, according to the police, in a neighborhood of tidy prewar apartments and pastel-painted frame houses known as Parkville.

Some women in the community have been alarmed by reports of the rapist, who has been dubbed by the police as “the night stalker” because of this pattern of striking in the early-morning hours.

According to a general description complied by the police, the suspect is a slightly built black youth, between 14 and 20 years old, from 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 6 inches and weighing from 125 to 140. Many of the women are elderly and unable to supply a detailed description. About half have been over 50.

“A major problem has been that many of the women have waited a period of time before calling the police – as much as 20 to 40 minutes and this enables the suspect to fell before our cars can respond.”

excerpt from Judith Cummings NYT 11/19/77

Thursday, November 17, 1977

Motorists to Be Allowed to Park at Most of 14,000 Broken Meters

Nearly one-fourth of New York City’s 65,000 parking meters are not working because they have been vandalized or broke through normal use, city traffic officials said yesterday. The smashed, headless or missing meters have cost the city $1.4 million in lost revenue durig the first 10 months of 1977. A four month contract dispute has slowed repair work.

One block where the parking meter problem was evident yesterday was West 72nd Street between Broadway and Columbus Avenue in Manhattan, where more than a dozen consecutive meters were without heads.

Excerpt from New York Times Nov 17, 1977

Wednesday, November 16, 1977

Three Inmates at Rikers Arrested

The police arrested three Rikers Island inmates yesterday, saying that they had been involved in a series of shootings, assaults and shakedowns this year of drug dealers and store merchants in a four-block area in Harlem. The men were charged with murder in the shooting of a man last month. All three had been arrested and held on Rikers Island on other charges since the killing in October.

At least 36 persons have been shot, 17 fatally, in the area between West 145th and West 149th on Eighth and Seventh Avenues this year. Four were shot on three separate incidents on the night of Oct 1.

“These three were members of a stickup gang that robbed drug pushers, operators of after-hours clubs and neighborhood people,” said Inspector Charles Henry.

Excerpt from The New York Times L Williams 11/16/77

Tuesday, November 15, 1977

SLA Head Criticizes Judge on Studio 54 License

Michael Roth, the outgoing chairman of the NY State Liquor Authority accused Judge Hyman Korn of State Supreme Court of being “influenced” by the chic clientele of Studio 54 – when he ordered the club be granted a liquor license.

He also asserted the DA Morgenthau had impeded the authority’s crackdown on unlicensed bottle clubs in the city by refusing to prosecute two owners of the disco for selling liquor without a license.

Roy Cohn, who represented Studio after the SLA denied the disco a license, submitted with his arguments a long list of politicians, actors, actresses and other people described as “members of New York society” who were said to patronize the club. Included in the list were Jacqueline Onassis and members of the Kennedy, Carey and Rockefeller families, Bella Abzug, Borough President Percy Sutton, Deputy Mayor Stanely Friedman, Woody Allen, Jack Nicholson, Truman Capote, Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli. Andy Warhol and Calvin Klein signed affidavits supporting the club’s appeal.

The club applied for a license April 14. In April and May the club was granted several one-night catering permits allowing it to sell liquor but, according to Roth, these were abused and the club was denied permits to sell liquor for the weekend of May 20 to 22. Rubell and Schrager were arrested after Roth was sold two drinks on the 21st.

On August 12 the SLA voted 3 to 2 to refuse the license.

The club told Judge Korn that the disco had improved the neighborhood and that denial of the liquor license would endanger an investment of $397,000.

excerpt from NYT 11/15/77

Sunday, November 13, 1977

Retired Businessman, 68, Found Slain, Roommate, 63, Injured in a Reported Robbery in Luxury Building

A 68-year-old retired businessman was stabbed to death early yesterday and his 63-year-old roommate suffered head injuries in what the roommate said was an attempted burglary at a third-floor apartment in the Sovereign at 425 East 58th in Manhattan.

He said he had retired at about 7:30pm Friday night and was awakened at 1:30am yesterday by two men, who struck him on the head with a metal instrument and then bound him and left him in one of the apartment’s three bathrooms. He said he managed to free himself and as he crawled out of the bathroom, the burglars seized him and bound him again. Then they fled.

Excerpt from New York Times 11/13/77

Saturday, November 12, 1977

Around the Stadium, the Games People Play Are Not Baseball

There were all the young dudes, already half in the bag an hour before game time, standing in front of the Sportsman’s Bar and Restaurant, making sounds like, “Yaaahhh, Yaaaahh,” at those ticket-holdres who were hurrying to the safety of the Stadium as if running away from the plague.

And when it was over, with the Yankees scoring the winning run at the stroke of midnight, the people gave one short but spectacular shout of joy and then began tamely filing to the exit.

There seemed to be a sense of relief, not only at the final score but also at the actual conclusion of the long game; it was, after all a week night and there was school and work looming hours away.

ex NYT Kornheiser 11/12/77

A Blind Newsdealer Wards Off a Robber

A 70-year-old Greenwich Village newsdealer who is legally blind foiled a robbery by a 16-yar-old youth yesterday morning, according to police.

Jack Furman, the news dealer, whose stand is near St. Vincent’s Hospital told police he saw the youth reach for his change box at 7:30am.

Mr. Furman, who can see shapes, threw paperweights at the youth and hit his target at a distance of 50 feet. The youth, who had an artifical leg, hit him over the head with a crutch. Bernard Dukes lost a leg several years ago after a tumor was discovered.

Excerpt from New York Times Nov 12, 1977

Friday, November 11, 1977

24 Young Inmates At Rikers Capture Van in Escape Try

Twenty-four teen-aged inmates of the Adolescent Reception and Detention Center on Rikers Island commandeered a prison van in an unsuccessful escape attempt from the island last night. Several guards were injured, including the van’s driver, who was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

A Correction Dept. spokesman said that the prisoners had overpowered the driver, attacked another guard and tried to speed across the narrow causeway linking the prison with the Queens mainland. The driver was “garroted” from behind by an inmate while the van was taking the inmates from a visitor’s area at the main building to separate quarters elsewhere on the island.

Excerpt from The New York Times 11/11/77

Thursday, November 10, 1977

Prostitutes From Midwest Vanish From 8th Avenue During Hunt by Visiting Police

“The pimps have pulled all the white girls from the Midwest off the streets,” a prostitute told the two Minn. policemen. “You ain’t going to find one of them tonight mister.”

On foot and riding in an unmarked New York police car, the two Min. policemen got their first intensive look at Midtown Manhattan’s sleazy “Minnesota Strip.”

“We realize all of the publicity about our visit might keep the streets clean for a few days.” The policemen flew home last night saying they would return soon without advance notice to resume looking for about 400 girls who they believe are recruited every year in Minn. by New York-based pimps.

Covenant House received calls from terrified young women who had heard about the offer to return home. But they also received threatening calls from pimps who said, “Tell those rednecks from Minneapolis that they won’t take a girl home alive,” Father Bruce Ritter of Covenant House said.

NYT 11/10/77

Flood Damages in New York Area Put in Millions And Weather Service Sees Chance for More Rain

As the dirty flood waters receded in the city and suburbs yesterday, homeowners and municipal officials began to clean up damages whose costs will run into many millions of dollars.

Mayor Beame flew over Staten Island, the city’s worst hit area and appealed to Governor Carey to declare it a disaster area. 3,000 homes were flooded and 700 had to be evacuated there.

The rainfall on Tuesday set a record totaling7.4 inches. The total rainfall for the storm is now 9.19 inches. The figure was measured at La Guardia Airport, but the Central Park station – although infrequently used because its instruments are often vandalized – is considered the official measuring place.

excerpt from NYT 11/10/77

Wednesday, November 09, 1977

An Argentine Implicates Dr. Gerard

With an agonized mixture of loyalty and feelings of betrayal, an Argentine veterinarian acknowledged tonight that his friend and sometime employer, Dr. Mark Gerard of Muttontown LI, had once asked him to find a ‘cheap’ horse with markings similar to those of a good horse Gerard had already decided to buy.

He spoke of the Argentine horses Chirico and Sundoro which were acquired by him for Gerard for shipment to the United States. He said Dr. Gerard first decided to buy Chirico, a 5-year-old who had won three or four races here and earned about $18,000. He described the horse as a reddish bay without white markings.
While Chirico was waiting for a place on a cargo plane to the United States, the vet was surprised by a call from Dr. Gerard who told him that his wife wanted a saddle horse and asked him to find a cheap thoroughbred, specifying that it, too, be a bay without white markings.

“I was somewhat suspicious, because in quarter-horse races down here they sometimes switch animals, and the easiest ones to switch are those without markings,” he said. However, he said, he went about fulfilling the request and soon found Sundoro, a 6-year-old dark bay without markings who had won one race in an undistinguised career.

“I don’t know what happened with those horses in the States,” the vet went on. “But I’m very concerned that there may be a problem because I am concerned about the reputation of Argenine horses. This is the only way I can find for washing away my stupidness. I was used by Mike Gerard as a useful idiot.”

Ex NYT 11/9/77

Tuesday, November 08, 1977

An Appeal To Girls On ‘Minnesota Strip’

Two Minneapolis police officers, in an unusual mission, wee prevented yesterday by heavy rains from beginning a search along Eighth Avenue’s notorious ‘Minnesota Strip’ for Midwestern teenagers who have become prostitutes in New York.

“There is a no-strings-atttached safety valve for any young woman who want to return home,” said Lieut. Gary McGaughey in his appeal to hundreds of teenagers from the Minneapolis area believed to have been lured into lives of prostitutes here.

‘Safe houses” have been established in Minneapolis partly because many parents refused to accept the teen-age girls after learning that they had been prostitutes.

NYT Raab 11/8/77

Into Each Life ‘Some’ Must Fall, But Really

And the rains came. In drizzles and torrents, gales and buckets, the rains came, bringing hardship and loss to hundreds and soggy, sodden inconvenience to almost everyone else. It rained cats and dogs, lizards and frogs. Into each life some must fall. Lovely for ducks. Etc.

Swepts by high winds, more than five inches of rain flooded gutters and basements, highways and byways, soaking raiment, swelling streams, stalling cars, slowing trains and closing schools.

On city streets, stranges commiserated. On subways, soaked to the skin, they smiled and shrugged. In the suburbs, high winds and fallen tree limbs toppled power lines. Leaves clogged the drains. And still it rains.

excerpt from Carey Winfrey NYT 11/08/77

Rain and High Winds Lash Area, Causing Floods and Train Delays

5” of rain and gale-force winds battered the metropolitan area yesterday, and the National Weather Service said the storm would last at least until the early morning hours today. Flooding was widespread.

On the streets of downtown Manhattan, it was a day of ruined umbrellas as winds of 30 miles an hour and more whipped around the tall buildings.

excerpt from Frank Prial NYT 11/8/77

Thursday, November 03, 1977

Investigators Fly to Uruguay For Clues to Racing Mystery

A five-man task force, armed with photographs and paternity-testing gear, flew to Uruguay last night in a attempt to unravel the bizarre horse racing affair that may come to be known as the Case of the Dead Ringer.

A top-flight Uruguyan horse named Cinzano, whom Gerard allegedly destroyed June 12 because it suffered a broken skull in an accident, is believed to have won a race at Belmont on September 23rd – racing under the name of Lebon, a mediocre animal.

Meanwhile, a London-based insurance company had paid Cinzano’s owner $150,000 on the ‘death’ of the horse.

The horse known as Lebon was so overlooked by bettors that it paid $116 for a $2 win bet. The board contends that Gerard was the single largest bettor on the horse, collecting about $77,000 after making several trips to the $50 window rather than placing one large bet at one time.

At most major tracks in the United States, American-bred horses may not compete unless their lips have a permanently tattooed identification number.
South American horses are not tattooed.

ex NYT 11/3/77

Wednesday, November 02, 1977

Tapestry Stolen From St. John the Divine

A valuable 17th-century tapestry was stolen and two others were damaged between Monday night and yesterday morning in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

The stolen tapestry, woven in 1661 from a cartoon by Raphael, was one of a set of two hanging over a tomb. The cathedral put the value of the stolen tapestry which measured 7 x 12 at more than $20,000. A detective put the figure at $30,000.

There was a broken window in the basement indicating that the vandals had entered that way. But the police also theorized that the thieves could have been in church Monday evening and hidden there. It was easy for them to leave because all the doors open freely from the inside.

excerpt from E. Perlmutter NYT 11/2/77

Stolen Pipes of Organ May Produce Illicit Air

Officials at the University of Miami think that a student is stealing pipes from the organ at the Episcopal chapel to use as marijuana-smoking ‘bongs.’

Fourteen of the pipes, valued at $600 and ranging in length up to three and a half feet have been taken since the beginning of class.

“It’s actually a possibility,” said David Wike, campus security director. “Some guy will get a crazy idea and do something like that.”

He said bongs and other marijuana paraphenalia were outlawed in dormitories this year.

excerpt from NYT 11/2/77