Winnie the Pooh at the Charging Bull

The office building I work in is at Bowling Green. According to the New York City Parks website, “Bowling Green is New York City’s oldest park. According to tradition, this spot served as the council ground for Native American tribes and was the site of the legendary sale of Manhattan to Peter Minuit in 1626.” So, the area is a popular tourist attraction. The Smithsonian’s Native American museum also faces this park.

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The most popular attraction in the park seems to be the Charging Bull rather than the museum. Every day there are people crowding around this bronze statue to have their pictures taken with both its face and its balls. The balls seem to be more popular. I suppose that’s not surprising. The bull is supposed to represent the power and unpredictability of market forces and represents Wall Street and the Financial District.

Winnie the Pooh Costume Scammer

Winnie the Pooh Costume Scammer

This week I spotted a new arrival: a Christmas themed Winnie the Pooh and accompanying muscle, presumably to strong-arm tourists into giving up money after taking a photo with the costumed person. This is a pretty common thing in the Times Square area and became a point of public conversation during the debate over topless women posing for photos in Times Square in exchange for cash. I’d never seen them in the Bowling Green area, though, and after that one time I never saw them again. I wonder if they were driven out by the police, by crowds of tourists telling them to get out of the way so they could take photos with the Bull, or by the police, or some combination of those three?

Regardless, I’m glad to see those two assholes gone. The crowds of tourists around the office building can be aggravating, because they obviously aren’t in a hurry during my lunch break and they sometimes block the sidewalk, but it’s understandable and I can’t be mad at them for coming to this city and having a good time. These people that dress in costumes and strong-arm people into taking photos with them and giving them cash afterwards, though? They’re parasites and they’re disgusting. It’s better than outright robbery, but not by much. I hope they stay gone.

Attempted Break-in by a Criminally Stupid Criminal

This morning I woke up to the sound of banging. I went to check the door because I was expecting a package today (another book for my MA Arab-Israeli Conflict course), but no one was there. I figured it must have been the people downstairs that are renovating the apartment below ours. When I walked back down the hallway I heard banging on the window in our bathroom, so I went to see what was going on.

When I stepped into the bathroom I saw a guy standing there on the other side of the window out on the fire escape. I couldn’t see him clearly because the glass is frosted, but I could see a silhouette. I wasn’t sure what was going on at first because it was 10:30 am, very sunny and the corner of the building is still visible from the street because the trees haven’t grown leaves yet.

The guy must have seen me through the window as well. He moved over to his right, towards my neighbor’s apartment windows. I figured the guy was going to run or something, but instead he started kicking in the glass of my neighbor’s window. I peeked through the blinds to double-check, because really, who is stupid enough to keep trying to break into a apartments when they just saw someone in the next apartment? I saw glass falling. I went to the bathroom, opened the window, peeked around the corner and saw the guy leaning into the window, so I shut the window and called the police.

I can’t imagine the guy didn’t hear me open and close the window, unless it’s louder standing on the fire escape than it was for me inside. The whole time I was on the phone with the police though he kept at it, breaking glass on the window. When I got off the phone with the police, I went back to the bathroom, cracked the window open, stuck my hand out and snapped a few photos. Then I shut the window. I heard more glass breaking.

About 5 minutes later I heard the guy go up the fire escape to the roof. Two minutes later the police were at my door. I gave my statement and two cops went through my window onto the fire escape to look at the neighbor’s window. They confirmed the glass was broken. I showed them the photos I took. The weird thing was, the cop was using her iPhone to take a photo of the photo on my iPhone screen. I asked her if it wouldn’t make more sense to just forward the pictures to her and she declined. Seems like it would be better to have the real photo for ID purposes, especially since tattoos are clearly visible in my pictures.

While I was talking to the cops they got a call over the radio saying that a suspect matching the description of the picture had been spotted. I didn’t hear it exactly, but the sergeant I think replied, “He’s still wearing the same clothes?” Then they all ran down the stairs. I imagine they got the guy. Or at least I would hope they did.

I don’t believe in something like slut shaming, but I do believe in shaming criminal stupidity, especially in this instance, when I don’t know whether the cops caught this guy, so I’m going to share these photos I took of the guy, as a sort of public service. If you see this guy, don’t let him near your windows.

Why Such A Light Sentence For Vicky Herman Quek Bee Lan?

Vicky Herman Quek Bee Lan, a 44 year old woman, was recently arrested for spiking the drinks of male targets and then robbing them, racking up a total of over 21k in stolen goods and cash between August and December of last year. This woman has a long criminal record, having been arrested for theft in 1994 and 1996 as well as serving a 6.5 year long sentence in 1999 for similar crimes to what she’s being charged with now.

The prosecution said this woman has no remorse for her actions and an evaluation said that she is likely to engage in similar criminal activities in the future, since her previous 6.5 year sentence didn’t act as a deterrent.

This is a woman who has stolen tens of thousands of dollars from victims, most of which has remained unrecovered, since it was used for services like botox treatment and laser surgeries.  This is a woman who is sure to strike again.

So, what I want to know is, why was she sentenced to a lesser sentence this time around than she was in 1999?  If the 6.5 years didn’t deter her, why would 6?  Shouldn’t the time she spends in jail, thinking about where her crime landed her, increase, rather than decrease after repeat offenses?  The article I read on the Straits Times said that she could be imprisoned for up to 14 years, so I wonder why it is she received such a light sentence?