Two men were arrested yesterday in New York's Hell's Kitchen district after failing to convince staff at a "check-cashing store" to honour the welfare cheque of a deceased friend, the New York Times reports.
Virgilio Cintron, 66, recently popped his clogs at his apartment at 436 West 52nd Street. His roommate James P. O’Hare and friend David J. Dalaia, both 65 and unemployed, saw an opportunity to get their hands on his $355 hand-out.
Their cunning plan was simple enough: stick their pal in an office chair, wheel him round the corner to the Pay-O-Matic at 763 Ninth Avenue and leave him on the sidewalk while they cashed the cheque. However, their short journey quickly attracted the attention of passers-by "startled by the sight of the body flopping from side to side as the two men tried to prop it up".
The whole thing went completely titsup when the clerk told the pair Cintron would have to cash the cheque in person. According to police spokesman Paul J. Browne, when asked where he was, O'Hare replied: "He is outside."
Which was true, but by this time a small crowd gathered around the corpse had been spotted by detective Travis Rapp who was "eating a late lunch at a nearby Empanada Mama". He alerted the Midtown North station house, and when police and an ambulance arrived they found the two perps "trying to maneuver the corpse and chair into the check-cashing office".
A quick cuffing ensued, and police say they're considering charging the hapless duo with "check-cashing fraud".
Regarding poor Mr Cintron, he was apparently dressed in "a faded black T-shirt and blue-and-white sneakers", with his trousers at half mast and a jacket covering his "midesection". A subsequent post-mortem revealed he'd died of natural causes.
Browne concluded: "Hell's Kitchen has a rich history, but this is one for the books." ®