By Shayna Jacobs and Patrick Hedlund
MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — The man accused of sneaking into apartments across the Lower East Side and stealing valuables while residents slept appeared in Manhattan court on Wednesday — while the man originally accused of the crime spree waits to have his name cleared.
Police arrested Irving Walker, 32, of New York, last week — months after incorrectly naming another man named Irving Walker who's almost a decade older than the suspect and lives in Virginia Beach.
The older Walker, 41, was officially ruled out as a suspect, but the NYPD has not acknowledged their mistake despite circulating his name, former Bronx address, photo and physical description to the media.
In addition to the age discrepancy, the two men have entirely different physical descriptions. Police described the older Walker as 6-feet tall and weighing 210 pounds. The younger Walker, who appeared in court Wednesday, stands 5-foot 7-inches tall and weighs 165 pounds, according to the Department of Correction website.
"[My client] looks African-American to me, and the other guy looks Hispanic," added Christopher Boyle, lawyer for the 32-year-old Irving Walker. "They don't look anything alike."
The Manhattan District Attorney's office was scheduled to present the case against the younger Walker to a grand jury on Wednesday, but prosecutors had to postpone the presentation until Thursday because two key witnesses could not get to court due to the snowstorm, officials said.
The 32-year-old Walker is charged with three felony counts of burglary after allegedly robbing apartments on East Broadway, Catherine Street and Madison Street last October and November. According to the criminal complaint, Walker was the lookout as co-defendant Kenneth Harden Smith, 22, as they allegedly sneaked inside the apartments and stole cash, credit cards, cellphones, laptops, and other items.
Boyle said that he did not know how investigators ended up with his client after the initial confusion over who was a suspect. He said he believes the case against the younger Walker is based entirely on the confession prosecutors claimed he gave to police upon his arrest.
"Nobody picked my guy out of a lineup," Boyle said Wednesday. "I don't think there was an ID made in this case."
Meanwhile, the 41-year-old Irving Walker is still waiting for some justice of his own.
"They want to keep it hush-hush," he said Thursday via phone from Virgina, "They wanted to show the Chinatown people they were doing their job, but they weren't doing their job."