Man jumps to death at Times Square hotel

The body of a man who leaped to his death at a Times Square hotel was found Thursday morning behind the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not sign, police sources and witnesses said. The man was seen on video jumping from the balcony Tuesday but his decomposed body wasn’t found for two days, a source said. Emergency workers found the corpse behind the sign three floors above street level next to the 44-story Times Square Hilton on W. 42nd St. at about 11:25 a.m., the sources said. "Firefighters told me he probably jumped or fell last night and landed up there above Ripley's. He wasn't found until this morning," said Roseleen Cifuentes, 26, an employee at Ripley's. "It's crazy. So sad. He probably aimed for the sidewalk and landed up there. It's messed up." There was no note found, the sources said. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Possible drug overdose eyed in Florida pastor Zachery Tims’ death in Times Square hotel room: source

The Florida pastor found dead in a Times Square hotel room may have died of a drug overdose, according to a police source. A small glassine envelope containing a white powder was found in Zachery Tims's pocket, the source said. The powder will be tested to determine if it cocaine, heroin or any other drug. An autopsy on Tims was inconclusive, and further tests are being conducted. Tims, 42, the senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, was found dead Friday evening in his 37th-floor room at the W Hotel on Broadway. He was lying face up in a walkway between the bedroom and the living room area, the source said. His body had no obvious signs of trauma. Based on what family members told police, none of Tims' jewelry was missing, and it does not appear he was robbed of any other belongings. Police believe he was alone when he died because hotel staff had to break through the door's security bar, which can only be put in place from  inside the room. The hotel had no comment. But a second source said police are checking to see where Tims had been during his stay in the city and who he called. He had come to the city for a meeting and was due to leave Thursday for Texas. The source said he did not check out that day. On Friday, hotel workers went to his room and discovered his body. Tims and his wife, Riva, founded the church in Orlando in 1996. It now has 8,000 members. Two years ago, the couple divorced after he admitted having an affair with a stripper. Riva Tims, who shared custody of their children, could not be reached yesterday for comment. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Dentists, Times Square Hotels are spitting mad at Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade move to 6th Ave.

Organizers of the country's largest dental convention are gritting their teeth in anger over the decision to move the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to Sixth Ave. "People won't come to the city because their hotel rooms won't face the parade," said Dr. Robert Edwab, organizer of the Greater New York Dental Meeting, which is held every Thanksgiving weekend and draws 58,000 people from 132 countries. "Not only my meeting - I think the economy will take a shot. And we don't need that in this economy." The parade route will change from Seventh Ave. to Sixth Ave. beginning in 2012. Times Square hotels are bellhopping mad, too. Marriott expects to lose $2 million to $3 million from the shakeup, according to Mike Stengel, a Marriott vice president. He said the company's two Times Square hotels, the Marquis and the Renaissance, will no longer be able to charge premium rates, enforce minimum 2-to-3 night stays or rent out restaurant space on Thanksgiving weekend. "There's no rhyme or reason why the parade is moving," Stengel fumed. "We're certainly not going to move New Year's Eve, and that's a far larger celebration." Dan Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership, was supportive of the change. "There are those huge open plazas which allow more people to stand and a wider route for balloon handling," he said. A Macy's spokesman said Sixth Ave. is a safer, less complicated alternative for the parade and will allow spectators an "upclose and personal" view. The Ritz-Carlton New York on Central Park is one of the few hotels offering views of Sixth Ave. About 30% of the hotel's 259 rooms face the avenue. "We're anticipating it being a very busy time," said David Taylor, director of sales for the Ritz-Carlton. Meanwhile, next week's St. Patrick's Day Parade will be shortened, ending at 79th St. instead of 86th St. That means it will stop just shy of the American Irish Historical Society on Fifth Ave. between 80th and 81st Sts. The move is Continue Reading

Man hiding scares Times Square hotel maid after jumping out of closet

A maid in a Times Square hotel had a brief scare when a sneaky bandit tried to hide in a closet of the room she was cleaning earlier this week, sources said.The woman was tidying up the 10th-floor room at the Marriott Marquis hotel on Broadway after the guests checked out about 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, police and a hotel spokeswoman said.The sly bandit - who was checking for open doors on another floor with a partner when they realized a security team spotted them - slid into the room and shut himself in the closet, sources said.But the maid opened the door."She screamed - then, he screamed," a source said. The man pushed her to the side and ran out of the room."Obviously, she was very upset, but she was not physically injured," said hotel spokeswoman Kathleen Duffy.Once downstairs, the man made a getaway towards a door near a rear stairwell, where a guard confronted him. The suspect slapped the guard and fled.His partner left undetected. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Major drug kingpin caught leaving Times Square hotel with $1.3 million in cocaine

A major drug kingpin, caught leaving a Times Square hotel with $1.3 million in cocaine packed in two suitcases, and 10 other narco traffickers were under arrest Friday following a 10-month wiretap probe, officials said.Ricardo Gonzalez-Santiago was the prime target in the investigation into a crime ring responsible for distributing drugs across the city, officials said.He was busted March 25 after flying into Kennedy Airport from Puerto Rico. Cops and agents who had followed him, pulled his car over a short distance from the Paramount Hotel on W. 46th St. and recovered the two suitcases - stuffed with 36 kilos - or 79 pounds of cocaine.They said the blow, bundled into 18 packages, was covered in carbon paper to avoid scanner detection at airports.Philadelphia.The investigation by the NYPD's Vice Squad and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration began with undercover buys of ketamine, ecstasy and oxycodone at East Village club Webster Hall, Hell's Kitchen lounge Pacha NYC and other Manhattan nightspots. Agents worked up the ladder into the drug ring, officials said.Four ring members were also previously arrested, and five others rounded up on Friday. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Westin Times Square Hotel baker awarded $3M by federal jury because hotel spied on him

A hotel baker who claimed he was tormented with vile taunts and even physically abused at work was awarded $3 million by a federal jury Wednesday.But Moises Mendez's tale of being mocked for stomach scars and his ethnicity at the Westin Times Square Hotel isn't what swayed jurors.Instead, they decided he deserved a whole lot of dough because after he complained, the hotel installed a hidden camera over his work station. The jury awarded Mendez $1 million for pain and suffering and ordered Westin and parent company Starwood Hotels to pay him $2 million in punitive damages. "It is like a big building has been lifted from my shoulders," Mendez said. "They spied on me and wanted to find ways to get rid of me. It shows what I went through just trying to do my job."He still works at the hotel and plans to show up to work today, his lawyer Ken Thompson said."This hotel spied on a man who dared complain about how he was treated. That's something that shouldn't happen in America," said Mendez' lawyer Ken Thompson.Starwood's lawyers said they would seek to have the verdict overturned. At first, management said the camera was supposed to protect Mendez from harassment and was approved by his union. They later corrected the statement to note the union never signed-off on the camera."If fact, when we found out about it, we demanded that it be removed immediately, and it was," said John Turchiano, a spokesman for the New York Hotel Trades Council. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Police nab suspect in Time Square hotel murder

A serial sexual predator suspected of killing a young woman and leaving her nude body in a Times Square hotel room was collared by cops and federal agents last night in Manhattan, law enforcement sources said. Clarence Dean, 35, may have met the victim, whom he's accused of beating and strangling, through an online dating service, the sources said. He was taken into custody about 8:40 p.m. at 54th St. and Park Ave., they said. Dean checked out of the Carter Hotel on Wednesday, leaving behind a naked corpse stuffed in garbage bags, cops said. A maid cleaning the room found the body under a bed. The slain woman's identity was still unknown last night. Dean was being questioned at the Midtown South Precinct stationhouse. Law enforcement sources believe Dean also is responsible for the January rape in Alabama of a college student he met through an online dating service. The sicko Southerner was first busted in the mid-1990s for raping a 12-year-old girl, law enforcement sources said. He is listed as a sex offender for crimes involving children in both Florida and Alabama, and he is wanted in Alabama for failing to register. Dean used the Internet to find his victims, a law enforcement source said. He was particularly fond of, the source said. "He was wooing them in chat rooms, and getting his way with them," the source said of the victims. "Looking at the pattern, he was getting more and more violent." Dean had been traveling in a car he allegedly swiped from a woman in Clarksville, Tenn., on Aug. 13. He had lived with the woman as a home health aide since February before making off with the car, her credit cards and cell phone. He also cleaned out her bank accounts before fleeing, the woman said. "I learned he was a pedophile, that he was a monster, after he stole my car and I called the local police," said the woman, Bettie Martie, 40. Martie said it was only after Dean fled that she found out he had spied on her 17-year-old Continue Reading

Sex offender charged in death of woman at Times Square hotel

Investigators have charged a convicted sexual predator who is wanted in two states with killing a young woman and hiding her nude body in a Times Square hotel room, police said yesterday. Clarence Dean, 35, checked out of the Carter Hotel on Wednesday. The woman's naked corpse later was found by a maid in the room Dean had occupied. The body had been stuffed in garbage bags and placed under the bed, police said. Cops believe the woman, who was beaten and strangled, met Dean through an online dating service. She was believed to have been working as a call girl, a police source said. Dean was taken into custody Friday night at 54th St. and Park Ave. He had been traveling in a car he allegedly stole from a woman in Clarksville, Tenn. He told detectives he was being scapegoated for the killing because of his past arrests for sex crimes, and he refused to tell cops where he had stashed the stolen car, a police source said. Cops have tentatively identified the woman but have not yet notified her family, police said. Investigators described her as white, 5-feet-11 and 130 pounds, with long, brown hair. She was missing her right index finger from a previous injury.Dean, who was waiting to be arraigned, frequently trolled Web sites looking for women and was particularly fond of, law enforcement sources said. Authorities also were investigating whether he sexually assaulted an Alabama college student he met online in January, sources said, noting he hasn't been charged.Dean, whose last known address was in Alabama, was first arrested in the mid-1990s for raping a 12-year-old girl, the sources said.He is listed as a sex offender for crimes involving minors in Florida and Alabama. He also is wanted in Alabama for failing to register as a sex offender.After he allegedly swiped the car in Tennessee, Dean repeatedly used a stolen cell phone, cops say, allowing investigators to track him to New York. But they lost his trail on Aug. 18, just days Continue Reading

Sex offender sought after woman’s body found in Times Square hotel

Police are searching for a fugitive sex offender who checked out of a run-down Times Square hotel on Wednesday, and may have left a woman's dead body behind in his room. The corpse, wrapped in plastic bags, was discovered yesterday by a chambermaid at the Hotel Carter who reached beneath a bed and felt a foot. Investigators were still trying to learn the woman's identity. Police described her as a white female, nearly six feet tall and very thin — about 130 pounds. The woman was missing her right index finger, but police said it was an old injury. She was beaten and strangled, and her death has been ruled a homicide, city medical examiner’s office spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said today. Police officials announced that they were looking for the room's last registered occupant, Clarence Dean, who departed abruptly Wednesday afternoon after a nearly two-week stay. Dean, 35, is no stranger to police. He was required to register as a sex offender at his last known address, a motel in Alabaster, Alabama, because of an attempted lewd act involving a child under age 12, committed in the mid 1990s in Palm Beach, Florida. He's been a wanted man in Shelby County, Alabama, since March, when sheriff's deputies performed a check and realized he had moved out without informing officials. He also failed to appear in court in a property theft case, according to sheriff's department Capt. Chris Corbell. Police Department spokesmen in New York did not name Dean as a suspect in the woman's death, but said he was wanted for questioning. The death wasn't a first for the Hotel Carter, a threadbare accommodation that stands as a throwback to Times Square's seedy past. A clerk at the Carter was charged in 1999 with killing a co-worker with a knife and a hammer during a brawl at the hotel's front desk. A half-undressed woman with her hands tied behind her back was pushed out a window and fell to her death in 1987. Over the years there have been small fires and Continue Reading

Syracuse University athlete from Queens found dead in Times Square hotel

An overachieving Syracuse University track sprinter was found dead in a Times Square hotel Saturday morning following a night out with friends, officials said. Sabrina Cammock, 21, of Queens, was discovered inside her room at the Hotel Edison on W. 47th St. about 9:20 a.m. Cammock, a senior on spring break, was sharing a room with a group of girlfriends when she died, a police source said. “They all went to sleep,” the source said, “and when they woke up, she didn’t wake up.” Cammock was found in her bed. The cause of her death was not immediately clear, officials said. Her family was stunned. “She’s better than anybody you know,” Cammock’s cousin Kemal Brown, 34, said quietly as he stood in a daze outside of the young woman’s home in Jamaica Estates. “She’s a baby and she's gone.” "I’ve never seen anything like this around me before,” he said. There were no signs of trauma on Cammock’s body, according to police sources. No drugs were found in the room to suggest an overdose, the officials said. An autopsy has been scheduled to find out how she died, officials said. Cammock was studying public health at Syracuse’s David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, according to her college website. She was also a member of the women’s track and field team where she excelled at the 60-meter to 400-meter sprints. Cammock recently placed second in the 60-meter dash at the 2015 Upstate Challenge with a time of 7.62. She also finished second in the 60-meter dash at the Cornell Marc Denault Invitational, with a time of 7.69. Her best time was in her junior year, when she ran a 60-meter race in 7.55. She was also among a team of track runners who broke her school’s 4x100-meter relay record last year. Her teammates were Continue Reading