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  Public Employee Press

PEP Feb 2004
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Three of 125,000 Everyday Heroes
Crime busters


From left, Local 375 members John Romanowich and Michael Kenny with Desmond Spillane, a former member, near crime scene.


Two Local 375 members who ordinarily spend their time monitoring building sites recently leaped into the role of crime busters.

Michael Kenny and John Romanowich, who are Construction Project Managers at the Dept. of Design and Construction, helped thwart a baby snatching by an apparently deranged homeless woman on Dec. 23.

The two hard-hatted professional workers were meeting with their supervisor, former union member Desmond Spillane, about their work overseeing the renovation of the Lennox Hill Senior Center in upper Manhattan. The trio heard screams. They turned, saw a crowd gathering and spotted a woman yanking a little girl from a stroller by the head.

“The woman shrieked, ‘This baby is dead! This baby is dead!’ as the toddler’s terrified mother screamed in panic,” Mr. Kenny said. Mr. Kenny charged in and shouted “Back off! Back off!” at the woman, who let go of the toddler and ran north from the corner of 1st Avenue and 70th Street.

Mr. Kenny and Mr. Romano-wich joined a passing police patrol, which caught up with the woman seven blocks away and arrested her. Mr. Spillane remained at the scene with an Emergency Medical Service worker, who tended to 2-year-old Michelle Chalco and her 16-year-old sister Diana and mother Maria.

The police charged the homeless woman with attempted kidnapping and assault. “This was out of the ordinary, but we just reacted to the situation and did what we could to help,” Mr. Kenny said. “By startling the woman, we prevented her from doing any harm.”

— Gregory N. Heires


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