Tuesday, December 27, 1977

Escaped Murder Suspect Caught After Shooting Chase in the Bronx

A murder suspect who escaped from the prison psychiatric ward at Bellevue Sunday night (Christmas) was recaptured by Yonkers police after he reportedly stole a car and outran two police cars in a chase through the Bronx.

In October, the suspect, 25-yer-old Anthony Ricco, escaped from Rikers Island and held 50 police officers at bay while holding a gun to his wife’s head. In exchange for releasing his wife the police promised to take him to Bellevue instead of Rikers.

On Sunday, Ricco used a hacksaw blade to cut through bars on a second-floor window before lowering himself to the street with knotted bedding.

A friend who was with him when he was recaptured, 18-year-old Sondra Tyrel is being held on conspiracy charges. Police believe she had smuggled the blade in to Ricco.

A fellow inmate who proceeded Ricco down the rope fell into a pit in front of a basement window, breaking one foot and both ankles. He was recaptured immediately.

Ricco’s first stop after the escape was the Kips Bay Garage, diagonally across from Bellevue, where he stole a 71 Buick.

Police tried to arrest him after receiving a tip as to his whereabouts (1152 White Plains Rd near Virginia Ave in the Parkchester section of The Bronx). They waited for him in an unmarked car until he walked up to the stolen car at about 12:30 am. But, they said, he fired one shot at them, backed the car up into a lamppost and then roared away.

Miss Tyrel was found on the floor of the car with a bullet wound in her right hand.

Excerpt from The New York Times 12/27/77

Saturday, December 24, 1977

Fugitive Arrested in Slaying of Policeman in Harlem

A man who escaped from Green Haven prison was arrested early yesterday morning for the murder of an off-duty police officer and another man in a Harlem tenement on Wednesday night.

Ronald Haynes, 33, was arressted at 8 AM in his apartment on 111th Street. Police found the slain officer’s .38 in the apartment.

According to police, robbery was the motive for the crimein which Officer William Flood, a 37-year-old policeman who trained other officers for the Queens Area Task Force was fatally shot along with another man, Perry Young also 37.

Police are still investigating the case to find out why the police officer was in the building and what connection he had with Mr. Young a transvestite who was wearing women’s underclothes at the the time he was found. A woman’s wig was found nearby.

Officer Flood lived in Ronkonkoma LI with his wife and two children – he went to the building at 11:30pm after driving from a class at John Jay College.

Mr. Haynes followed Flood and Young, who appeared to be a woman into the building with the intention of robbing them. The suspect shot the officer in the head before he was able to fire a shot. Haynes, with a record of more than 20 arrests, had been a fugitive since 1976 (!).

Flood would not be given an Inspector’s funeral – normally given to officers killed on duty – because he was off duty. He was the seventh cop killed this year.

NYT 12/24/77

False Santas Ho-Ho Public for Funds

Officials warn that anyone can dress up like a Santa Claus or a nun and solicit money on the street. The only beneficiary of the donations is the imposter.

excerpt from NYT 12/24/77

A Grocer and His Dream Killed by Robbers in Brooklyn

Two men entered the small store. One pointed a gun at Mr. Rosado and shot twice, killing him. When the police found his body, the wallet in his pocket was empty.

The robbery that resulted in the death of Louis Rosado was the most revent of many holdups that have closed small businesses throughout the city, sometimes leaving blocks of abandoned stores.

Besides Mr. Rosado’s grocery, several stores on the block are empty. There is no longer any store on the block at which nearby residents can buy food.

Twice before he was held up. Once they put the gun against his head and pulled the trigger but the gun did not fire.

excerpt from NYT 12/24/77

Liquor Ban is Sought For Licenseless Club

The New York State Liquor Authority moved yesterday to stop Plato’s Retreat from serving liquor because, it said, the club catered to ‘swingers’ and encouraged secual relations on its premises among its patrons.

Carlo DiResta, an SLA investigator said he visited the club in the Hotel Ansonia with Ann Cronin on Dec. 2 and observed a variety of sexual activity.

The couple received a membership card after paying the entrance fee of $30. He said that three barmaids had served customers from a well-stocked bar, although the club does not have a license to dispense liquor, wine or beer.

There was no charge for the drinks since the club’s policy is to include them in the entrance fee. The club is registered as a not-for-profit organization.

excerpt from NYT 12/24/77

Friday, December 23, 1977

Two Teen-Agers in Bronx Are Held In Attacks on Woman Neighbor, 72

Two teenage boys, one 13 year old, the other 14, were held in the Bronx yesterday in connection with a six-day siege of terror against a 72-year-old woman, a former concert pianist, who lived in the same apartment building.

The two looted the apartment, smashing keepsakes of a lifetime and choking the woman and eventually raping her. Her only income was from social security.

The building was staked out in response to her first complaints, on the assumption that the intruders came from elsewhere in the neighborhood. Meanwhile the youths continued their raids on the woman’s apartment undetected.

Yesterday they were apprehended by Gonazalo Vargas the superindendent. The 14-year-old has a record of nine arrests dating to when he was nine.

The youths first broke in on Dec. 21. They returned on the 23rd and on each day thereafter for four days. Each time the woman called the police. Detectives said she gave confusing accounts of what had happened when police first responded. They said she created further confusion when she repeated her calls on succeeding days.

excerpt from NYT 12/23/77

Wednesday, December 21, 1977

Ex-Detective and Gunman Killed, 3 Officers Hurt in Street Shootout

A murder suspect apparently fearing that two police officers were waiting for him opened fire on a busy Brooklyn street yesterday, killing a retired detective and wounding three officers before shooting himself.

The two police officers had been investigating a minor traffic accident.

Pedestrians and motorists hastily sought cover as the shooting erupted at the corner of Bergen Street and Flatbush Avenue in the Park Slope section.

The police identified the slain gunman as William Ross Wakefield, 27 years old, who was being sought in the robbery last Thursday of the East New York Savings Bank during which the assistant manager was killed. He was also wanted in connection with 7 other bank robberies.

The accident that touched off the shooting spree involved a car driven by Raymond Gallo, a 50-year-old retired police detective.

A police car stopped to investigate and Mr. Gallo stood talking to Officer Lawrence Brom when Mr. Wakefield came up to them and opened fire with his .38. Mr. Gallo was hit in the chest and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Officer Brom is in critical but stable condition with chest wounds. Wakefield exchanged shots with Officer Fred Connors and the gunshots attracted other officers from the nearby precinct house and the battle raged back and forth across Flatbush.

Mr. Wakefield started running from the scene after he was wounded severely in the neck. He collapsed two blocks away in the doorway of a Spanish restaurant. Some police reports indicated that he had been wearing a stocking mask over his head when he opened fire.

Detective Vito Navarra said a warrant for Mr. Wakefield’s arrest had been signed just minutes before the shootings. They had been questioning family and friends.
“He knew we were looking for him and might have gotten a little jittery.”

“I looked out the window and saw this guy running and bleeding. He stopped at the corner. He was already doing zigzags. He crossed the street and went into a restaurant. Five or six detectives went in and took the guy out and threw him in a open wagon.”

He had at least three bullets in his body.

NYT Bird 12/21/77

Tuesday, December 20, 1977

Thieves Get 700 Toys Donated by Brooklyn Students

About 700 toys, which the students at Winthrop Junior High School donated for distrribution to the children’s ward at Kings Country Hospital, were stolen from a teacher’s office at the East Flatbush school over the weekend.

“I think it is really rotten,” said Stazee Burnett, a ninth-grader who helped to wrap the gifts, although she could not afford to buy one. “Those children in the hospital – some of them don’t even have families, and this was like a little ray of hope.”

Various donations started coming in from neighborhood businesses and individuals.

excerpt from M. Breasted NYT 12/20/77

Monday, December 19, 1977

A Victim New York Took To Heart Is Now Held for Police in Vermont

Jerry Jenkins, the out-of-town newlywed to who NYC opened its heart after his car had been stolen – and driven on a fatal rampage – on his first night here last Monday, was arrested yesterday by NY detectives on a charge of cashing more than $2,500 in bad checks in Vermont stores.

The Vermont charge and arrest was apparently the direct result of the publicity surrounding the couple. He was booked on a charge of grand larceny.

There was even some question about whether Mr. Jenkins was a newlywed. The Vermont police said he told a bank in Burlington on 10/27 that he was already married then, to the woman who accompanied him here. Police there said they had been unable to find a marriage license. Mr. Jenkins carried a Texas driver’s license.

Jenkins told reporters that a roommate had swiped his checkbook. “The honeymoon is over,” said a policeman as the suspect was led away.

“I thought no one could con New Yorkers,” said Detective Edwin LaRock of the Burlington police.

excerpt from NYT 12/9/77

Thursday, December 15, 1977

Superkid: Man of the Year

Tis the season, so why beat around the bush? Our nomination for athlete of the year is the 17-year-old secretary-treasurer of the Kentucky conglomerate called Steve Cauthen Associates.

Not Reggie Jackson of the New York Yankees, not Bill Walton of the Blazers, not Walter Payton of the Bears, not even Virginia Wade of Wimbledon, but Steve Cauthen of the race tracks, the Superkid who started the year as an apprentice jockey and who will end it as a millionaire and as the most remarkable performer in the cutthroat world of professional sports in 1977.

That’s right: A little child shall lead them. Not only that, but two related thoughts: 1. the thoroughbred Affirmed will be voted 2-year-old champion of the year. And 2. Cauthen will open 1978 on the valuable back of Affirmed and will have one sweet chance of riding him to victory in the next Kentucky Derby.

Going into this weekend he has ridden more than 1,900 horses this year with 454 wins, 319 seconds and 282 thirds. Total purse: $5.7M which is a million more than the record set last year by Angel Cordero Jr. The jockey takes 10% of the prize money. He also has a musical recording and an advance on a book plus assorted other revenues.

Twice this year he has ridden 6 winners in one day. 4 times he has had 5 winners. 13 times 4 winners and 41 times 3 winners.

Ex NYT 12/15/77

Tuesday, December 13, 1977

Case of Boy, 13, on Rampage Cited In Call for Family-Court Judges

A 13-year-old boy who stole three cars, was sent to a shelter and then escaped and went on a wild ride in a fourth stolen car was cited yesterday as an example of “oversights and mishandling” by the juvenile justice system.

The boy ended his “wild and dangerous spree” last Wednesday. Jumping into a car that a garage attendant had just delivered to its owner, the boy sped up Amersterdam Ave, passed a red light at 72nd and narrowly missed hitting several pedestrians.
Commmandeering a private vehicle, officer Lou Salvatorelli caught up with the stolen car at Bway and 75th. The youth ran and the officer found him hiding under a Volkswagon.

excerpt from NYT 12/13/77

Monday, December 12, 1977

Policeman Indicted In Brooklyn Killing Of an 18-Year-Old

An off-duty police officer who shot and killed a teenager in Brooklyn last Sept 2 after a brief scuffle was indicted yesterday on charges of manslaughter in the second degree.

The officer, Roger Scheid, 26, was suspended immediately of the Department pending the outcome of the trial.

Yesterday’s indictment, by a King’s County grand jury, was the second this year involving a white police officer and a young black. (Torsney and Randolph Evans, 15. Torsney has since filed for disability retirement).

Three other New Yor City police officers have been charged with homicide in recent years. All five have been white and their alleged victims black or hispanic.

According to the police, Scheid, his brother and two women were driving through the Coney Island section last Sept 2 when his date pointed to a young black in a playground and said he had tried to rob her earlier that day.

Scheid confronted Frank Thompson, 18. According to police sources, Thompson pulled out a knife, slashed the police officer on the lower lip and ran off. Scheid cornered him in an abandoned building and ordered him to come out. The teenager was said to have lunged with the knife at which point Scheid fired six shots, two hitting him in the chest. He was dead on arrival at C.I. Hospital. The knife was found at the scene of the shooting.

In one of the earlier cases, officer Thomas Shea was acquitted in 1974 on charges of shooting to death Clifford Glover, 10, in South Jamica, Queens.

Last February, Officer William Walker was found not guilty in the 1974 shooting death of John Bradham, a 22-year-old Brooklyn College student.

In the only case to result in a conviction. Ryan was found guilty of beating to death Israel Rodriquez at a Bronx police station.

NYT Seigel 12/12/77

Sunday, December 11, 1977

Cauthen Reaches $6 Million Mark

As the track announcer put it yesterday at Aqueduct near the finish of the sixth race, “That’s Steve Cauthen going for six million dollars.”

The 17-year-old jockey they used to call “The Kid” was about to become racing’s first Six Million Dollar Man.

Ex NYT 12/11/77

Vermont Man Still City ‘Guest’ With Changed Status

A Vermont man who, with his wife, had been wined and dined and made an official guest of NYC after the armed theft of his car last Monday night was arraigned in Criminal Court yesterday and held on $1,000 bond for a hearing on
Extradition to Vermont on charges of cashing fradulent checks.

The deputy State Attorney in Chittenden County said he would be charged with cashing more than 10 checks valued at $2,500 when he had only $1.81 in in his account. He could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.

They also lost their apartment in Burlington where they had been living since their marriage two months ago. The landlord said he evicted them when he heard what happened.

Failing to post bail, Mr. Jenkins was held for the night on Rikers.

Detectives said they thought Mrs. Jenkins had left town.

The Mayor was said to be ‘surprised and disappointed” when he learned about Mr. Jenkins’ arrest.

excerpt from E.P. NYT 12/11/77

New Yorkers Start Bundling Up As a National Cold Snap Arrives

Plunging temperatures, exacerbated by gusty winds, sent New Yorkers rummaging through trunks and closets for gloves, scarves and earmuffs as the vanguard of a national deep freeze moved into town yesterday.

A low of 20 degrees was reported at La Guardia. Wind gusts of up to 32 miles an hour created a wind-chill factor of 9 degrees below zero, providing doormen, taxi drivers, sidewalk santas and strangers with instant conversational commiseration.

excerpt from NYT 12/11/77

Saturday, December 10, 1977

Two Salesmen Tell of Taking Part In Surgery, in One Case on Skull

Two medical-equipment salesmen told a New York State legislative panel yesterday that on rare occasions they helped in operations in New York hospitals at the request of surgeons who were using the equipment for the first time.

One said he had helped open a patient’s skull and the other said he had taken part in knee surgery. There was no evidence that their participation had been detrimental.

One surgical-supply salesman, George Schott said that in 1972 he had assisted the chief of neurosurgery after the blade of a new surgical saw jammed in the patient’s skull.

Excerpt from Lawrence Altman New York Times Dec 10, 1977

Surgical Salesmen Admit Assisting In Over 900 New York Operations

Salesmen for one surgical equipment supply company have participated, to some extent, in more than 900 operations, and have “scrubbed in” on more than 3,000 operations in New York State in the last five years.

Almost all of the instances of participation were at the request of the surgeon and a source said he knew of no complaints from patients or doctors about the instances.

United States Surgical Corp is the sole manufacturer and marketer of Auto Suture surgical staplers in the country. Salesmen demonstrate the Auto Stapler and offer advice about its use during operations.

Excerpt New York Times

Friday, December 09, 1977

Matlack, Milner Go In Four-Team Trade

In a blockbuster trade that involved 11 players and four baseball teams, the New York Mets sent Jon Matlack to the Rangers and John Milner to the Pirates and conceded that they were “rebuilding.” The Rangers also got Bert Blyleven and the Pirates got Al Oliver. (The Mets got basically nobody.) The other team that was involved was the Braves.

Excerpt from Durso 12/9/77

New York Says ‘We’re Sorry’ To Robbed Honeymoon Couple

Mayor Beame made New York City’s love affair with Darlene and Jerry Jenkins official yesterday with a City Hall ceremony honoring the Vermont couple whose honeymoon almost turned into a nightmare.

Their introduction to New York last Monday was a man ordering Mrs. Jenkins out of their car at gunpoint. The gunman later drove the car along a West 42nd Street sidewalk, killing one and injuring 14 others before wrecking the car by driving into a fire hydrant.

“New York is normally a very warm town and we’re sorry it happened,” said Mr. Beame, who gave the couple a silver plate embossed with the city’s seal.

Since Monday, the shy couple has been almost overwhelmed by New Yorker’s generosity: The Daily News arranged for them to stay at The New York Hilton, eat at Windows of the World and see the Broadway show “I love My Wife.” Last night they got a doberman pinscher and a full set of china. On Sunday they are going to the Jets game.

“I think some of the people are very rude but I love this city, it’s beautiful,” said Mrs. Jenkins. “I was surprised because in Vermont you just don’t steal a car if someone is sitting in it.”

“In Vermont you wait until everyone’s asleep. Then you usually just take the CB radio,” said the husband.

“I want to go back to Vermont where all the quiet people are,” said Mr. Jenkins. “I want to go back to Burlington and look at three feet of shnow instead of cameras.”

The body of the 70 year old lay unclaimed and headed for potter’s field.

excerpt from Charles Kaiser NYT 12/9/77

Thursday, December 08, 1977

Joan Little is Seized in Brooklyn Case

Joan Little, who drew national attention in 1975 when she was acquitted of murder in the death of a prison guard she said had tried to rape her, was arrested early yesterday after a 70-mile-an-hour automobile chase through Brooklyn. Miss Little, 23, had been serving a seven-to-ten for b-and-e in NC.
She escaped a minimum security prison in Raleigh by scaling a fence.

During her 1975 trial, Miss Little, who is black, became for prison inmates, women’s groups, and blacks, a symbol of oppression.

Vernell Muhammad, a former friend of Miss Little told police they could find her a maroon Buick. Muhammad, back in NC, told authorities that he had been in touch several times with her and had visited her in Brooklyn. Last month she told him she was pregnant and that he was the father.

excerpt from M. Seigel NYT 12/8/77

Teen-Agers Accused of Killing Two

Two Bronx teenagers have been arrested and charged with killing two men and seriously wounding a 15-year-old boy in three separate knife attacks that took place within a block of one another in a two-hour period last week.

All three took place near 168th Street and Teller Avenue in the Morrisania section the night of Nov. 30, the police said, adding that detectives were at the scene investigating the first homicide when the second killing took place less than a block away. The attack on the 15-year-old occurred at the same site 40 minutes later.

The pair were arrested late Wednesday after a weeklong investigation by homicide detectives.

The area where the attacks took place was described as the turf of the Savage Nomades, which, like the Savage Skulls, is regarded as among the largest nad most vicious of the 21 gangs with 3,000 remaining in the Bronx following a sharp decline in such gangs over the last four years.

In 1973 there were reportedly 151 gangs with 10,000 members.

excerpt from NYT 12/8/77

Tuesday, December 06, 1977

Wild Drive in Stolen Car Kills 1, Injures 12 on Times Square Sidewalk

A teenager behind the wheel of a stolen car killed one pedestrian and struck a dozen others last night in a wild, plunging dirve along a crowded 42nd Street sidewalk that left victimes strewn for 500 feet between Eighth and Seventh Avenues off Times Square.

The driver, who allegedly commandeered the car at gunpoint from a newlywed Vermont couple who were checking into a midtown hotel, knocked victims into the air, out into the street and into doorways and game-parlor storefronts as panic-stricken pedestrians screamed and dived out of the way.

As the car sheared off a fire hydrant in front of a KFC and crashed to a halt just west of Seventh Avenue, the driver, identified by the police as 19-year-old Harvey Collins of 2155 Madison Avenue, leaped out roaring with laughter, according to witnesses, who said he was set upon by an angry crowd before police wisked him away.

“People were just flying up in the air like rag dolls, with their arms and legs flopping. It looked like he was actually trying to hit people. The car was barreling along at 30 or 40 miles an hour, swerving back and forth, hitting people as it went. Some flew eigth or 10 feet in the air.”

“One person flew up and hit the marquee of a theater.”

Mrs. Raymond Collins, the suspect’s mother, said in an interview last night that her son had a long history of mental illness. “He’s sick, he’s really sick,” she said. “I hope they put him in Bellevue.” “He wanted to get off the street. He said he felt the walls coming in. He said he would like to go away for 20 years. He’s not wrapped tight. He’s losing his mind.”

70-year-old RA Whitmore, a resident of the National Hotel at Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street was killed. Four of the injured were teenage girls from Lodi NJ who had come to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

excerpt from R. McFadden NYT 12/6/77

Sunday, December 04, 1977

Four Dogs Are Killed as Hunters in Jersey Track Three Wild Packs

Eleven specially deputized hunters stalked three wild-dog packs through the pine woodlands of this rural community for three hours today before killing four of the animals.

Gurden Smith, a tall, wiry, 60-year-old unemployed house painter who has shot and killed 13 of the wild dogs in the last month.

Excerpt from The New York Times 12/4/77

Thursday, December 01, 1977

Officer Torsney Acquitted as Jury Rules Him Insane in Killing of Boy

Police Officer Robert H. Torsney was found not guilty by reason of insanity yesterday in the shooting death of 15-year-old Randolph Evans in Brooklyn on Thanksgiving day last year.

The shooting of the youth, who was black, and Officer Torsney, who is white, led to racial disturbances in the East New York section of Brooklyn.

Justice Barshay, before asking for the verdict, cautioned the spectators against demonstrations of any kind, but just after the verdict was read, as Torsney was led out in handcuffs, a spectator called out: “You’d better commit suicide.”

“It’s a racist system and society and this trial was a subterfuge from beginning to end,” she said.

The shooting took place shortly before midnight, when Torsney and his partner answered a radio report of an armed man at 515 Fountain Avenue, in an East New York housing development where young Evans lived with his family. AS the policemen left the building, Torsney was approaced by the boy and five others. Young Evans paused to speak to Torsney who pulled a gun from his holster and shot the boy in the head.

Torsney said he had seen the boy reach into his waistband for what appeared to be a gun but none was found and none was seen by witnesses.

“If there was no gun, this man is sick.” Said the prosecutor during summation.

The 32-year-old policeman had a record of previous epileptic attacks, said psychiatrists for both sides, he tended to panic in stressful situations, suffered from an unhappy childhood, and tended to hang back on police assignments. He had never before used his gun in his eight years on the police force.

Simpleton’s face. Dimwitted cop. Sad eyes.

NYT Dunning 12/1/77