Criminals From Around The Country Flock To The Big Apple

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some of the country’s most wanted criminals — murderers, rapists, armed robbers — often move to New York City, where they hide in plain sight.

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CBS 2’s Dick Brennan recently went undercover with heavily armed U.S. marshals as they searched for fugitives — among them Emmanuel Martinez, who was wanted for murder in Schenectady and was nabbed in Brooklyn.

Martinez is just one of hundreds of thousands of potentially dangerous fugitives from around the country who come to New York to hide out.

Link: US Marshals’ Most Wanted

Lenny DePaul, chief inspector for the U.S. Marshals Service, said once fugitives are settled in New York, they pose a danger to everyone.

“New York is like a magnet,” DePaul said.

“They’re lurking in the shadows. They’re trying to live here, and that’s why we exist. We try to put that to rest for them, get them off the streets.”

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Take the case of Justo Bermudez for example. Bermudez was wanted in connection with two drug-related murders in Puerto Rico. He moved to the Soundview section of the Bronx, where neighbors believed he was just an average guy.

“That’s very scary and new to know,” a neighbor told Brennan.

The U.S. Marshals Service says it arrests hundreds of fugitives in New York every year. Jon Shane, an assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said most fugitives commit some sort of misstep that allows authorities to track them down.

“Somebody is always coming up for air for something, whether it’s banking, employment, food stamps, government assistances, a telephone call from a cellphone to a friend,” Shane said. “When that cellphone call comes, that’s when law enforcement begins to know where you are.”

“You put that person in handcuffs, it’s a huge relief, and a huge accomplishment for investigators,” DePaul said.

The U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force in New York is a joint unit made up of 350 members from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

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