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Police: Fire at Flea Market Café Possibly Arson

IMG_2673Stephen Rex Brown The scene in the aftermath of the blaze at the Flea Market Café yesterday.

Monday’s blaze that left the Flea Market Café a charred mess is being investigated as an arson, a police spokesman confirmed today.

“The fire was deemed incendiary by the FDNY fire marshals,” the police spokesman said.

Moments after the lunchtime fire was under control, onlookers were gossiping that something shady had occurred. The blog Neither More Nor Less noted that an NYPD crime scene unit was at the site until around midnight. Read more…

A Robbery Victim Cautions Others

IMG_0369Khristopher J. Brooks The intersection where the robbery occurred.

It was her second night in New York City and Rebecca Burns — still jetlagged by the long plane ride from her native Australia — was walking along 11th Street after midnight with a friend, Emma Marquard.

Suddenly a man approached wearing a black bandanna with skeleton designs on it and produced a handgun. “And he says ‘Don’t scream. Give me your bag’ and Bec goes ‘Are you serious?'” Ms. Marquard recalled recently. “You know, we’re from Australia and people there just don’t have guns, so when I saw it, I thought it was fake.”

But within moments, the pair came to a horrible realization: they were being robbed at gunpoint.

The incident underscores a recent uptick in crime in the neighborhood, which has seen robberies in the Ninth Police Precinct increase by about 10 percent when compared to the same time last year.

The police declined to discuss the figures, or the robbery on 11th Street, which occurred July 6. But those who study crime trends note that the typical spikes in crime that occur during the summer months might be exacerbated by the recent run of especially balmy weather.

“Summer months are indeed more dangerous in terms of street crimes as more people hang out till late hours and among the ones who hang out for legitimate reasons are also predators of various sorts and kinds,” said Professor Maria Haberfeld, who studies public law enforcement at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It is a documented fact in criminal justice research that weather does influence crime rate.”
Read more…