Cop collars hanging sneakers

This cop’s a shoe-in for local hero of the week.

After reading a story in the Bronx Times Reporter about a Van Nest resident complaining about sneakers hanging from a power line on Morris Park Avenue, Detective Vic DiPiero, the community affairs officer at the local 49th Precinct, took matters into his own hands.

He hotfooted it to the scene on his cop scooter to the spot at Holland Avenue, and snagged the silver Nikes just two days before the annual Columbus Day Parade there.

“I assessed the situation,” he said in his best cop lingo, “and instead of calling around, I figured why don’t I just do it myself.”

Sneakers on wires are nothing new in New York City, but city agencies are tied in a bureaucratic knot over who should remove them, said Community Board 11 Jeremy Warneke, who has in the past gotten footwear removed by calling in favors with the local Fire Department.

Van Nest resident Sonia Pichardo had already lobbied 311, ConEd and local politicians to get rid of the Morris Park Avenue pair, but to no avail.

Pichardo decried the sneakers as an eyesore and a signal that the neighborhood is headed in a bad direction.

“People see the sneakers and think that they can get away with anything,” she said at a recent Van Nest Community Council meeting.

Enter DiPierro, who has been on a shoe-sade, so to speak, taking down four pairs of sneakers in precinct area over the last two weeks, keeping the bounty in the trunk of his scooter.

So far he’s snagged sneakers on Van Nest Avenue at Garfield Street and at Wallace Avenue, as well as a pesky pair in front of the Bronx House on Pelham Parkway.

These particular silver Nikes presented a special challenge, DiPierro said. His usual strategy is to stand on the back of his scooter and fish the sneakers down with a broom or long pole borrowed from a local hardware store, but the wet weather on Friday, October 11 made such a move too dangerous.

He tried snatching the sneakers while standing on the ground with the pole, but his six-foot frame came up just a few inches short.

Then he spotted a Parks Department van across the street. Using two extendable tree cutters, DiPierro and the Parks staff were able to corral the Nikes while the police scooter blocked traffic.

“Hopefully I helped make that woman happy, and make everyone happy before the parade,” he said.

Pichardo said that she was pumped to see the sneakers finally pushed from their perch. But the mother of two’s own shoe-sade is not over.

She said that she’s still strung out on a pair of sneakers hanging at Rheinlander and Bronxdale Avenues.

“It’s a small victory, so that’s nice,” she said. “But there are still sneakers on wires in this neighborhood.”

Ben Kochman can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3394