Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One chase, two pounds and a gun

By Kate Pastor



Two men fleeing with duffel bags stuffed with marijuana brought chaos to West 235th Street shortly before noon on April 19, according to witnesses and police.  

Their black BMW was involved in a straight-out-of-the-movies car chase — pursued by a gray Audi  —  as it careened down the street and hit at least two parked vehicles as it tried to speed away, police said.

The BMW was left with its front and back windows smashed out in the middle of 235th Street between Netherland and Arlington avenues — a block better known for its bagels and schmears than for high-speed chases — as both men abandoned it and took off on foot. 

One disappeared into St. Gabriel’s Church and the other fled south down Arlington Avenue, hastily hiding a loaded gun as he ran, according to complaints filed in Bronx Criminal Court. They say he was later apprehended with a more than a pound of marijuana in a duffel bag.

The other is alleged to have tossed away his bag containing a similar amount of the leafy soporific before he entered the church.

Police recovered a .32 caliber semi-automatic pistol loaded with eight live rounds from 3250 Arlington Ave., on the grass near the rectory. 

St. Gabriel’s School — which shares a building with the church — went into its first full lockdown after a teacher looked out the window and saw one of the men running into the chapel, Principal Deborah Pitula said. 

It was the first time precautionary measures put in place after the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School were deemed warranted. 

A law enforcement official said police believe the driver of the gray Audi is a “marijuana player” who had been robbed by the men in the black BMW before he began chasing the thieves. 

“I was getting my haircut. We heard a crash. A big crash,” said Warren Leshen, 66, whose Lexus was parked outside Le Chic salon and was damaged in the mayhem. He said his car suffered almost $10,000 worth of damage.  

The Audi was able to get away and the driver was not apprehended. Police arrested two suspects but blocked traffic from the street for close to an hour as they searched for weapons.

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