By LISA HAGEN and JEANE MACINTOSH
August 14, 2013
An East Village thief was caught on surveillance video committing a brazen broad-daylight heist, in which he climbed up on a table and removed a city parking sign from its metal post in order to steal a bicycle that was chained to the pole.
A thief identified by police as Haram Guzman, 51, wowed witnesses as he pulled off the theft near East 13th Street and Avenue A just before 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
“He’s just so nonchalant,” said Larry Watson, owner of Percy’s Tavern, who caught the nearly 15-minute theft on his bar’s video surveillance.
“I don’t know whether to lock him up or give him a job.”
“If the guy put as much effort into a job as he does being a thief — I was in awe of him. He was a genius,” said Watson, who arrived at his bar to find the sign dismantled, and realized he might have film of the culprit.
Watson’s video shows a man police said is Guzman rolling up on his own bicycle — and eyeing the other bike chained to a pole.
After leaning his bike carefully against a railing, the thief cuts a $50 cable that holds Watson’s outdoor chairs and tables together.
He then takes a cafe table and carries it to the pole.
Climbing up, the thief spends several minutes using a hand drill and screwdriver to remove the parking sign, occasionally looking over his shoulder.
Nobody approaches Guzman.
At one point, the thief gets down from the table and moves his own bike down the block. He clambers back up on the table and works the chained bike free.
Lifting the bicycle over the top of the pole onto the sidewalk, the thief then walks calmly away, stopping to collect the bike he rode in on.
Watson marveled: “It’s like he’s got all the time in the world. He doesn’t just take the bike and run off. He puts his tools away!”
Watson doesn’t know if the stolen bike made it back to its owner.
Guzman was charged with petit larceny and possession of burglary tools after witnesses picked him out of a lineup, according to cops.
Additional reporting by Natasha Velez