Possible 1-Man ‘Wrecking Crew’ Responsible For Countless Destructive Robberies In Harlem

Man Wielding Sledgehammer On A Mission -- To Take Whatever He Wants

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are searching for a crook, armed with a sledgehammer that is literally going through walls and ceilings to get what he wants.

He’s hit 16 stores and the NYPD has jacked up its search after a possible 17th incident was reported on Thursday.

“So he’s a thief that, everything that he knows valuable, where he knows that he can have access to make something, he’s going to take it,” store manager Adesh Maharajh told CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman on Wednesday.

And when “Shoeprints” store manager Maharajh says the thief tries to “have access to make something,” he means, the thief wants to grab and get away. Maharajh showed Guzman the basement, where the thief smashed through a wall to get in. It confirms what police are saying about the man seen on surveillance video: he is making his own “access.”

“No, it’s more than one guy. Well, you need someone to do the alarm while you’re doing the register. And of course you need someone to look outside to see if anyone’s coming,” said Maria Munoz of “Upton” clothing.

Usually he cuts the surveillance cameras, but as Guzman found out, he missed this one. How bold is he? Check out what happened at Manna’s Restaurant, where Guzman just happened to be when detectives showed up.

“The guy, he actually came in here, and ate like a fruit cup! He ate um … he buttered bread!” an employee said.

Then there’s what went down at “A Taste of Seafood” a couple of blocks away. A building two doors over is under construction and police said the suspect used that. He took the tools that were left behind to break through a wall to get inside the seafood eatery. But then he kept going and broke through another wall, police said, to get into another room where he thought the money was.

In fact, he broke in on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and during a day last week, but each time there was no money.

“If you’re breaking into a restaurant and stealing bread, I mean … times are hard on the boulevard, all right?” the restaurant employee said.

“The Boulevard” … 125th Street, where someone is still on the loose.

Police said 10 of the 16 burglaries have occurred on 125th Street. All have been in Harlem and East Harlem.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Iman Azol

    Clearly, New York needs to start a program of sledgehammer registration. Ultimately, we need to ask ourselves who but a professional contractor needs access to these very powerful hammers. It’s just common sense.

  • Time

    Reporter a product of NY city schools? Any school at all past 3rd grade?

  • dakotah

    The writing skills demonstrated in this article are atrocious. Seriously appalling. Are they hiring 6th grade writers as journalists now?? I read many articles a day and almost never have I had to stop and think “Who the heck wrote this?”. My first assumption was that it was just poorly translated from another language..

  • Htos1

    I’m SO glad we have affirmative action heroes in the media,I NEVER knew how dumb I was and how much money was wsted on an engineering degree.DUTY-Now and for the future.

  • Tuu

    Nice use of the English language. It seems most of the employees interviewed did not get out of 8th grade.

  • hymieg

    In Las Vegas (back in the days of Anthony Spilroto), burglary crews used sledgehammers to get into residentences. Literally just banged holes in the exterior walls and went on in.

  • Bill

    The cops cannot protect you, you must protect yourself.
    The constitutional means provided is that everyone be armed.

  • bill the carpenter

    Burglars in Harlem must use a sledge hammer on business establishments because they don’t understand the subtlety of a lock pick. Much like the author approaches the English language.

    • Rod Anders

      I think they like nose picks better.

    • Frontine LeFevre

      Much like the author approaches the English language.

      Should be “much as” :-)

      • tuu

        Yes but the poster does not WRITE FOR A LIVING penis-head.

        • Just Sayin'

          “tuu”, Since when are fourth-graders posting articles like this? The writer needs to go back to school. This is a pretty sad state of affairs, coming from a city that calls itself “The Big Apple” and the cross-roads of the world.

          • Just Sayin'

            “tuu”, you could use a little help cleaning up your grammar as well. When people lack an adequate vocabulary, they resort to simple vernacular, thus telling the reader more about the writer than the actual subject being discussed. Try using your big words.

    • ItalianIce

      ‘Now we crash through walls, cut through floors
      Bust through ceilings and knock down doors’

      I’m guessing it was Run DMC

  • HM Phobe

    Just because these happened in Harlem, doesn’t mean you have to get someone from Harlem to write the article. Next time, get someone that can write properly.

  • Jerzey Boy

    Gee, is there anything of value to “rob” in Harlem?

  • Harry Won A Bagel

    They still haven’t told us what happened at Manna’s Restaurant when the detectives showed up. Is Guzman a suspect?

  • Midge Martin

    It’s “Hammer Time” … get those ridiculous looking pants out and do the MC Hammer dance.


  • Stuart

    NYC public schools are cranking them out. This example is just one of many.

  • Hatstand

    Word article hurt brain but not sense make? English real good maybe write intern or editor have taste of drink while computer type, question is?

    • Wordsmith

      Understand more I do your comment than understand I do whole article.

      “So he’s a thief that, everything that he knows valuable, where he knows that he can have access to make something, he’s going to take it,”

  • bdolph

    Title misleading……..

    Robberies are when innocent people are involved in the theft.
    Burglaries are when property is stolen and does not include innocent personnel.

  • Harry Won A Bagel

    This article has the potential of an internet sensation. It is early in the morning here in Western Australia. The wife and kids are tucked up in bed and I have had a couple of nips of scotch. Like the solution to a good word puzzle the intended meaning of the reporter’s words still elude me. I could not sleep without another try.

    I am not an English language major, nor even a writer. Just an Aussie punter who reads the major US news sites for some global flavour before bed.

    I skipped the first paragraph, a little too complex for this hour, and smacked bang into that ellipsis in the second. What is it doing there? My slightly alcohol affected brain suddenly realised it all makes sense if you put quotation marks around the entire second paragraph.

    So I try the same trick with the first. Now I want one of those sledgehammers that will stop at nothing to satisfy my wants. A little bit like a Genie but less subtle.

    With poorly found confidence I throw myself at the third.

    “And when “Shoeprints” store manager Maharajh says the thief tries to “have access to make something,” he means, the thief wants to grab and get away.”

    It is going to be a long night.

    • Pedant

      Not to mention robbery does not equal burglary.

  • Coleman11b

    This article is an embarrassment to journalism. Times must be hard at CBS if they can’t manage to find a competent editor.

  • God of Thunder

    If I had a hammer,
    I’d hammer in the morning,
    I’d hammer in the evening,
    All over New York…

  • Joshy

    Thought about doing it before cause its so easy. Im just not a criminal like that though ; )

  • Ruby

    He’s just trying to stay in shape, he don’t did nothing wrong!

  • Fr Ted

    These are burglaries, NOT robberies: a key difference.

  • henry pierce

    This article was written in the neighborhood and and at the scene of the crime…it is quotes of folks affected by high crime rates, The article is Rap Reporting, can you see.

  • Brian

    Was this like a rough draft mockup of an article? How does something like this get published to CBS’s website?

    • wooga

      This is one of the worst written articles I’ve ever seen. It’s incoherent, jumps all over the place, abuses rules of punctuation, and ignores all grammar. It’s like a monkey assembled the article using refrigerator magnets.

  • John

    My favorite part is “…armed with a sledgehammer that is literally going through walls and ceilings to get what he wants.” The use of the subordinate conjunction “that” (instead of “who”) and the omission of the necessary comma after “sledgehammer” make it sound as though the sledgehammer is the actor going through walls and ceilings. Of course the sledgehammer IS penetrating the wall and ceilings, but only with help from the burglar.

    I’m still trying to sort out whether there has been more damage out of this to walls and ceilings — or to the English language.

  • Red

    Probably the worst written article I’ve read. Poor grammar, poor sentence structure. Can’t CBS hire a competent writer?

    I see that others saw the same thing.

  • Leslie

    I believe this “article” is simply a near-transcription of the video news story, which is obviously delivered in a casual tone. I don’t think CBS is in the business of editing written articles. This is common among TV news channels that feel they need a website with content. The stories look sloppy but it’s often because the reporter is on the scene, speaking live. If you watched the report you would not cringe as much.

  • Jake

    As an editor by trade, this is precisely the type of lazily and poorly written article that brings me to tears at my desk. I’m sure there are plenty of unemployed folks out there with an English proficiency level above the third grade who would kill for a job like this. God, please deliver us from incompetence..

  • BillYBoy

    I find this ‘article’ is poorly written. Why, I ask, are there so many commas? The grammar is horrible to say the leastest. Minimum wage for story writers these days? Is nothing sacred?

  • no


    Why do you have so many superfluous commas? Why are you putting quotation marks around titles of things? You put quotes around the store’s name of “Upton”, as if to suggest that the store’s name actually isn’t Upton. You also carelessly use ellipses where none are called for. Not to mention using commas for lists of things (like the days events occurred on) poorly. Do you know what an Oxford comma is? On top of everything, the basic grammar itself is just awful. I wouldn’t hire you to do copywriting at a small town supermarket, much less as a journalist.

  • Meredith H.

    I thought Drudge linked to a very badly written article. Now, after re-reading, I see that the quotes are in the vernacular, the people actually talk like this. Wow! Also, the writing from the reporter is too folksy and unprofessional.

  • neednewpresident

    Dear CBS: Sending my application for job as a reporter, as per our agreement I can work Monday to friday from 8:30 to 9:30 am before the “short bus” comes to take me to second grade class.

  • Robbi

    The criminals are getting stupider and stupider

  • Brandon

    White people are breaking into stores in black neighborhoods. What is the world coming to?

    • John

      Maybe Hispanic. Lots of Latinos in Harlem.

  • nocrashingbores

    This might be the worst written article I have ever read.

    • carlos

      Might be? The thief could have done a better job of writing.

    • Harry Won A Bagel

      Wow. I thought it was just me. After reading and writing English for about 50 years I could not understand half of the sentences in this article. I even considered the possibility it was a local New York written dialect I have never read before (I am Australian.) The direct quotes were bad enough, most were redundant, but the intervening prose was unintelligible. It reads like a 400 word “tweet.” Obviously online publications of major national media organisations no longer employ editors?

    • LB

      I thought it was just me at first. Then I re-read. Extremely painful, exacerbated by extremely unclear quotes.

    • Dan Van

      I totally agree.

      • Micanou

        Do I know you?

      • Fred

        Me three

  • Kathleen Tandy


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