By Irene Cornell

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A judge threw the book at a street hustler who followed two tourists into a hotel and threatened them with a box cutter.

Peter Palm, a Lieutenant Commander in the Swedish navy, was visiting New York in 2009 when he encountered 43-year-old Louis Parson.

Parson tried to work an age-old scam on Palm: he bumped into him and dropped a glass bottle. Parson claimed the smashed bottle was full of booze and demanded $40 from Palm.

But Palm wasn’t buying it.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell describes the attack

When Palm didn’t fork over the clash, he said Parson followed him and his father into a hotel and threatened them with a box cutter.

Not so, Parson claimed – he said he pulled the knife in self defense.

Parson later admitted he’d carried out the scam hundreds of times over the years, reported WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell.

Prosecutor Chris Ryan called Parson a career criminal and an example of why there’s such a thing as maximum sentences.

Judge Lewis Bart Stone sentenced Parson to 20 years to life in prison.

Parson groused that he might die before he gets to his first parole.

What do you think? Is this sentence too harsh or just right? Sound off in our comments section.

Comments (63)
  1. Auburn Dale says:

    Now he gets life in prison at TAXPAYER expense. His plan worked after all.

  2. Ed Koch says:

    GREAT one less MONKEY TERRORIZING the streets of NYC. He should have gotten the DEATH SENTENCE!

  3. JustSayingTheTruth says:

    Everybody in their right minds know the judicial system is unfairly targeted towards people of color. Different strokes for different folks. White folks have possessed,smoked, tooted, and shot cocaine for years; no harsh laws. Crack is intergrated into the minority neighborhoods; new laws for strigent, outrageous sentences. Bet you never thought your lily white children would end up a crackhead. Hurts huh? Oh well,chickens coming home roost.

  4. William says:

    Lawyers run scams on innocent people who trust in them every day, but I don’t see any one investigating them. I was once scamed by a lawyer calling himself Micheal Kennedy Karlson and as far as I know he is still practicing law

    1. Mr. Armenia says:


      I am sure you deserved it.

  5. sigusmunt Kreusz says:

    All of comments are incorrect. This man was a “Career Criminal” under a NY state law, and had a record a mile long for other felonious assault cases.
    As a result, he may have been prosecuted FOR THE SCAM, but he was sentenced under f NY state’s “3 STRIKES WITH A GUN OR KNIFE; YOU GET LIFE’
    Had he only conned the money but not used a weapon, he might get a year or three. He was dumb-smart con artists know: NEVER, EVER-EVER EVEN PRETEND TO USE A WEAPON! EVEN IF IT MEANS GETTING BEAT UP.

  6. One eyed Jack says:

    I am a retired cop from a large metro department. He did not get 20 years for the hustle. He got 20 years for assault with a deadly weapon. Put down the Ipod and cell phone for a second and learn to read between the lines!

    1. KPMc says:

      It’s almost like you expect reporters to be college-educated adults who pursued a career in journalism. Seems more like teenagers whose closest brush with journalism is ‘blogging”. Welcome to the 21st century.

    2. John says:

      Right on! Thanks for pointing that out. We need strict enforcement and for more judges to throw the book at repeat convicts!

  7. proud okie says:

    He was a criminal and got just what he deserved. Everyone who has said it’s about race is just plain stupid.. I get so tired of black and hispanic people who always cry that they get picked on. Like it or not you’re the race’s that commit most of the crimes. It ain’t pickin if it’s true.

    1. JustSaying says:

      With a brain like your’s the saying is true, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”. Put down the meth pipe you racist jerk.

    2. Jduzit Tha Artist says:

      I’m not racist at all….but I have to speak out at this jerk!!! Proud o kkk ie…u need to get a life! For your info, whites have been known for the most hanus crimes such as serial killers and I guarantee you most of the child pedophilers are white!

  8. RJ says:

    Jack..U forgot to state your last name….I’ll say its @ss…Everyone…including your ancestors are from Africa…Your should spend less time being a racist and more time catching up on your history. All racist should be sent to the moon so we could all live together in peace. Your attitude and ignorance makes me so sick…..You are part of a plaque that should have been wiped out a long time ago…..Unfortunately there is still no cure

  9. МразимГъзета says:

    Should have had his ass kicked on top. Fair sentence. Enjoy jail.

  10. babu says:

    White people are getting the same sentences like this! Stop being slaves to the media, and start talking to people out there. Like police officers, correction officers. People from the south.

  11. truthhurts says:

    the corporations wouldn’t be able to make money off of him, it’s all about big business. Prison is big business people. Oh yeah, if you have a social security number, your on the plantation! Tax payer peasants!

  12. babu says:

    I’m African, born in America. Different races and classes in Africa, that dude right there is from the mongrel race, junkies, bums, etc, etc,. The corparations keeps those peasants in the media eyes. Jails are overcrowded in America with Whites, Africans, Latinos. Stop being fooled. White crimes are being kept from the public eye.

  13. Daniel P says:

    Why should this CAREER CRIMINAL NOT be executd ?

  14. mikestone says:

    Your tax dollars are going to the Queen of England, Isreal, and now Russia. You gullible people need to wake up. How many scams did your forefathers played on the native Indians?

    1. Mari says:

      They certainly didn’t go to you for spelling lessons in school.

  15. James Ebron says:

    I fill it’s too harsh , In the same breath he should never have told on him self as far as how many times he has done this before!! So I guess the Judge based the
    time on all the countless others before.. Not a race thing. I’m African America!!

  16. GAP65 says:

    This guy will be getting 3 hot meals a day comfortable bed and best health care at the expense of my tax dollars. What else does he needs.

    1. scott says:

      yes at YOUR expense but you are forgetting that prison construction is a very profitable business for the government/rich people…. thats why they hand out sentences like its candy…..its the same concept as war…..we pay and rich people/government make money off it

  17. Joe says:

    ship them all back to Africa!!!

    1. Steve says:

      Joe we did not ask to here remember your history. But we are here to stay jerkoff.

      1. John Sebastion says:


      2. Liberal Jew says:

        If you don’t like it here, leave. I’m sure the cost of living is cheaper in Africa.

  18. jack says:

    if you take these monkeys out of the city, Manhattan would be so much more enjoyable……they are 15% of the population and 90% of the reason people feel uncomfortable on the streets……..

    1. Claude says:

      Jack why the hatered. Should I assume that all whites are racist aholes like you. Of course not that would be wrong. Judge people as you want them to judge you.

    2. John Sebastion says:

      so true

  19. JB says:

    Justice was served. He is a habitual criminal and he knew the stakes. He chose to threaten his prey with a weapon nobody made him. And color does not have anything to do with. If you do the crime you must do the time.

  20. OB Snooks says:

    Good riddence to bad rubbish. Watch the soap Cracky!

  21. lorene says:

    If he hadn’t threatened them with a box cutter, I’d say the sentence was too harsh, but this guy is obviously out of control, so no, the sentence was just right.

    1. Mr. Armenia says:

      He got 20 years because of his skin color!

      1. John Sebastion says:

        nothing to do with the crimes was it, idiot

  22. Mr. Armenia says:

    He got 20 years in jail because of his skin color.
    If he was white he would have gotten less time.

    1. E says:

      Mr. Armenia, you are a parasite!!! If he was purple he would have gotten the same. Stop playing the color card.

      1. Mr. Armenia says:

        The color card is the only one I got.

      2. Mr. Armenia says:

        Sorr E but its true this sentence was based on race

      3. voiceofreason says:

        I agree with Mr. Armenia. When you only have one card in the deck left to play, then you play it. Its common sense. E, you really need to come to reality.

      4. Truth says:

        He received twenty years due to a weapon. Not the color of his skin. Anyone would have received that

  23. z z zodiac says:

    Jasper-you missed something. Learn to spell.

  24. Bill B says:

    Get him off the streets for as long as you can. It’s only a matter of time before he kills someone.

  25. maxx says:

    The sympathetic folks on here are missing the point. He committed a violent crime, so stop with all the “just because he’s black” bulls***.

    20 years is a good sentence for this piece of s***, ghetto trash low-life.
    I’d rather see him go to the electric chair, that would be more deserving!

  26. Steve says:

    LOL! That happened to me years ago. I told the “drunk” to go pack sand. Public drinking is illegal, right? He can sue me.

  27. Black&Proud says:


    Next time someone tries to hustle you and then pulls a knife and sticks in your face lets see how much sympathy you have for the criminal.

    You utter moron.

    1. John Sebastion says:

      utter fool

  28. keith says:

    I lost $20 to a street scamer as I walked out of my Manhattan office building. Even before I left the building, I saw a young Black kid, about 20-years-old, waiting in one of the sections of the revolving doors. I pushed through the revolving door to get to the street, which then hit the Black kid. I’m not sure if his eyeglasses flew off his face naturally or he flung them off with his hands, but as soon as I left the building and entered onto the street, he said to me, “You broke my eyeglasses. I need eyeglasses to see. These cost $90. You have to pay.” I replied, “I didn’t break anything.” His glasses had cracks like they were smashed with a hammer, not just dropped to the street. I tried to rebuff him by walking away but he was persistent, and followed me; in hindsight, I should have returned to my building and called the police. Instead, I gave him a $20 bill and he ran away. I saw in the newspaper recently that this is a known scam that scammers use to accuse pedestrians of breaking their eyeglasses and bullying them into giving them money.

    1. Americaisstuck says:

      why is it necessary to tell us he’s Black? what does that have to do with anything? Does this mean that if a white guy does this to me, it’s probably not a scam?

      1. Liberal Jew says:

        Pardon the pun, but let’s call a spade a spade. He mentioned he’s black because he was black, and most blacks pull this scam. When was the last time you saw a white guy hustling three card monte?

  29. DeeMee says:

    Think 20 years a bit harsh there unless I’m missing something here.

    1. HARLEM GOING H.A.M. says:


      1. Joe says:

        cheaper for who? the people like us with our tax money? or the rich guys making billions off of prison construction contracts

    2. Jasper says:

      You did miss something ,Parson is black

      1. Blasterific says:

        No he is a criminal

      2. jack tripper says:

        the darker the berry the sweeter the juice

      3. John Sebastion says:

        of course he is

    3. Reality says:


      What you are missing is what goes thru your mind when your life is threatened by a knife wielding ne’er-do-well. Once you experience that, 20 years seems appropriate.

      1. DeeMee says:

        I have been car jacked by gunpoint years ago I know the feeling Wesley snipes scammed the gov and only got 2 years for millions while this guy gets 20 years hmmm guess I am losing my mind

    4. Bill B says:

      Yes…you are missing a brain!!!

    5. jtorres says:

      Yes you did miss something… he admitted tio pulling this scam “hundreds of times” If he gets out in 1, 3, 5 years, you don’t think he’d go right back to doing it? Maybe the next victim would be you or someone you love. Would you feel sorry for him then?

    6. Americaisstuck says:

      I agree with you DeeMee. Why do we take away soemeon’s life (which is what happens when you put them in Prison fro 20yrs at the age of 43) when he didnt even scratch someone? So because someone scared another person, they need to go away fro 20yrs, but you can kill someoen under the right circumstance and only get 8yrs???? They dont even mention him having a criminal record they just say that HE ADMITTED to doign this several times but not that he has a record or other witnesses sayign that he’s pulled a knife on them! This is ridiculous.
      Its always funny to me how NY’ers claim to be these loving compassionate people who fight for rationalism adn respect for those abroad – and even voted for the Black president, but then i read the comments fro stories similiar to this and have to shake my head…
      Admittedly im readign this at work adn yes, ive graduated from college but i wonder how many people here are really just high school dropouts or barely graduted from college adn are unemployed making these comments.

      1. Barney Frank says:

        U R Gay.

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