Public Employee Press
Three of 125,000 Everyday Heroes
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 toddlers 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.