Following up on yesterday’s news that Raul Barrera will do 25 years to life for the murder of Sarah Coit, we have more news from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office this morning about another high-profile crime in the neighborhood.
Godfrey Molemohi, 54, was sentenced earlier this week to 15 years in prison on two counts of first-degree assault and two other lesser charges stemming from attacks on three victims — two women and a man who tried to intervene — in the F train station at East Houston Street and Second Avenue in September 2010, DA Cyrus Vance announced.
During October and November of 2010, 12 homes in Chinatown were burglarized, often in the early pre-dawn hours while residents slept in their beds. The thief made off with credit cards, cell phones, laptops and other electronics, taking advantage of buildings with unlocked front doors, according to court records.
Last week, 24-year-old Kenneth Harden-Smith was sentenced to up to eight years in prison, on two second-degree counts: burglary, and burglary as a hate crime. His arrest, along with that of accused conspirator Irving Walker, ended a string of crimes Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said were specifically aimed at Chinese-Americans. In court records, Harden-Smith “admitted to selecting the victims in Chinatown because of his strong dislike for Chinese people,” according to the DA’s office.
A Lower East Side political activist with a history of criticizing abusers of subsidized housing has been accused of stealing more than $260,000 from a small low-income co-op at 172 Forsyth St. for which he served as the property manager, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Roberto Caballero, 53, was arraigned in Supreme Court this afternoon. He faces one charge of second-degree grand larceny, 18 counts of second-degree forgery, 18 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument (second degree) and 8 counts of first-degree falsifying business records, according to a District Attorney spokeswoman.
According to authorities, Caballero is accused of forging more than 150 checks from the building’s bank account in the treasurer’s name between January 2007 and July 2010. He is also accused of quadrupling his $450/month salary, by arranging to have $450 deposited weekly rather than monthly, into his own account, according to the Supreme Court indictment. As property manager, he was responsible for collecting rent from tenants and making deposits into the building’s bank accounts to pay the bills and maintenance costs for the six-story, 17-unit building which faces Sara D. Roosevelt Park, between Rivington and Stanton streets.
Caballero is no stranger to headlines. In 2010, the New York Post and Gothamist featured his public accusations about a “lesbian-friendly” building in the East Village discriminating against men, noting the affordable units were favored by well-to-do gay women, including Margarita Lopez, a housing authority board member and former city councilwoman, and current Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. A week later, the Post quoted him extensively as a “manager of many Lower East Side low-income co-ops,” in a piece about abuses of the city’s affordable housing programs.