Marble mayhem masterminds still on the lam

A front window at the Tremont Diner remained cracked Tuesday after an unknown group of individuals lauunched marbles at the windows of almost 30 different establishments and an MTA bus Sunday night.
Community News Group/Arthur Cusano

The NYPD is looking for unknown individuals who lobbed marbles at more than two dozen Bronx businesses and a Bronx MTA bus in the evening hours of Sunday, January 8.

The seemingly random attacks caused chaos and no shortage of costly damage to glass windows across the borough.

Altogether, there were 28 incidents in less than 90 minutes across ten of the 11 Bronx NYPD precincts, with just the northernmost 47th precinct spared damage.

The mischief took place between 7:15 a.m. and 8:40 p.m. Sunday night.

One of those establishments was the Tremont Diner, where one of its large front plate glass windows was cracked.

Manager of five years Charlie Katechis said his store was hit not long after 7:30 p.m.

He said he was still waiting to see how much it would cost for the glass to be replaced.

“They came in and said they would get back to us,” he said. “What are you gonna do?”

Another marble shattered a window at the Applebee’s restaurant in the Throggs Nest Shopping Center that overlooks the Hutchinson River Parkway.

Local resident Sandi Lusk was in the restaurant celebrating her husband’s birthday when the incident occurred.

“All of a sudden, people were screaming and everyone ran to one side of the restaurant. They thought maybe it was gunshots. It was scary,” she recalled.

Lusk said the manager immediately asked patrons to leave the store out of caution.

“They didn’t know what was going on,” she said.

The restaurant manager declined to comment, directing inquires instead to the corporate headquarters.

The Target department store in the same mall was also hit.

Other northern Bronx establishments vandalized included a Dunkin Donuts, Autozone and a VIM sneaker store, all along East Tremont.

A large number of the attacks also took place on East Fordham Road, including White Castle and Burger King restaurants and a Chase Bank.

The suspects also targeted a Bx 42 bus at the intersection of East Tremont and Dudley avenues at around 8:30 p.m., according to MTA spokeswoman Marissa Baldeo.

The window was cracked, but the driver and passengers on board at the time were not injured, she added.

“The bus was removed from service and taken to the depot for inspection,” she said.

The police said the suspects operated from a white four-door sedan with dark tinted windows, as well as a dark-colored SUV seen in surveillance video outside the Target store.

It is not known whether the marbles were thrown or if they were launched using some kind of gun or slingshot.

Bronx Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Nunzio Del Greco said the incidents were an unfortunate bump in the road for many small businesses.

“It’s tough enough doing business in New York City, we don’t need additional problems to deal with,” he said.

Del Greco said that while such acts temporarily hurt the quality of life for residents, they would not derail the ongoing economic rebirth of the Bronx.

Del Greco said security cameras were the best deterrence to such crimes, and said he was contemplating the chamber hold a workshop on small business security, as well as cyber security, during the new year.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 742–4584. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.

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