Police came upon a strange scene on 84th Street last week that led to an arrest and the return of packages to a building 11 blocks away. Capt. Timothy Malin of the 20th precinct explained how it all went down in a Facebook post.
We have some truly excellent police work to report on. This evening (Thursday 11/15) at approximately 7:PM, our Neighborhood Policing Sergeant, Will Rivera, was driving across 84th Street with Officers Darnell Jones, Rob Vasquez, and Cliff Jean. Sgt. Rivera saw a man on the sidewalk in front of 145 W 84th Street rapidly opening packages with a screwdriver, and stopped to investigate. He immediately noticed that the packages were all addressed to different recipients who live in the same building – 115 West 73rd Street – and detained the suspected thief. They went to the building on 73rd Street and reviewed the security footage.
Sure enough, video showed the man they stopped in the street attempting to break into the front door of the building, hiding in a stairwell, watching and waiting for the mailman to leave, and then stealing the packages (A snippet of that video is posted below, in the comments). That man, 56 year old James Willis, is now facing multiple criminal charges including Burglary. Also, as it turns out, he has a violent past, was recently released from prison, and is on parole… We hope to be sending him back to prison soon enough. As you can see from the below pictures, Sgt. Rivera, Officer Vasquez, and Officer Jones had the pleasure of delivering the stolen items to their intended recipients, who were surprised, thankful, and delighted to be getting package delivery from some of New York’s Finest.
There was one package we could not deliver personally… A children’s book that was being sent to a baby from the infant’s Grandmother in another state. The occupants of that apartment were not home at the time. We’d like to thank the superintendent of the building for an assist, because in addition to helping us recover video evidence, he contacted the parents of the child, informed them of the incident, and got their permission to leave the gift from Grandma in their apartment.
So, earlier this evening, Sergeant Rivera and his team of 20th Precinct Neighborhood Coordination Officers were able to arrest a burglar and return ALL of the property he stole to the rightful owners. There was a lot of work that went into this arrest, but seeing the smiles on the faces of these residents, and imagining the infant’s smile when Mom and Dad read a book from Grandma, make all of the hard work worth it.