Back in November, most every news organization in the city reported the NYPD was searching for a suspect in a string of burglaries on the Lower East Side. Today Patrick Hedlund of DNA Info has a follow-up:
A former New Yorker says his reputation is ruined after the NYPD wrongfully named him as a suspect in a string of burglaries on the Lower East Side and then failed to correct the record with news organizations for weeks — even after arresting the actual suspect. Irving Walker, 41, said the NYPD released his name, description, former Bronx address, and a decade-old mugshot in an e-mail to the media naming him as a suspect wanted in connection with 13 high-profile residential burglaries in October and November.
Walker, who lives in Virginia, contacted the 5th Precinct as soon as he found out the cops had implicated him in the crimes:
…Jose Santiago … (the detective assigned to the case) confirmed Walker’s alibi of being at a doctor’s office during one of the burglaries. Santiago even sent a letter to Walker’s lawyer saying he was no longer considered a suspect. “At this time after further inquiry Irving Walker is not a suspect in this investigation,” Santiago wrote in the letter dated Dec. 3. Walker said Santiago apologized for the error and said he was close to finding the real suspect.
Earlier this month, another man named Irving Walker and a second suspect were arrested and charged with allegedly burglarizing 13 apartments in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. But there has been no public admission from the NYPD that they had the wrong man. Walker has hired an attorney, who is preparing a defamation lawsuit. The NYPD did not respond to DNA Info’s requests for comment.
The Lo-Down was among the web sites that posted Walker’s photo. We have removed the story from our archive.