MANHATTAN — An eagle-eyed off-duty cop helped nab a group of thieves who tried to steal a truckload of counterfeit sneakers from a Midtown office building located a block away from a police precinct early Thursday morning, police said.
The officer, who had just gotten off work a block away at the Midtown South Precinct, noticed two men with hoods acting suspiciously in front of 224 W. 35th St., near Seventh Avenue, at around 2:40 a.m., police said.
The cop then called his boss for backup, and when the other officers arrived they noticed two more men break the lock and bust into the store, according to police.
Afterward, a truck pulled up and the cops spotted four men putting boxes into the vehicle, police said.
When cops approached, the suspects took off but were caught nearby, police said. Some 50 boxes of counterfeit Nike Air Jordans were recovered, according to sources.
It was not immediately clear if there were other stolen goods inside the building.
Amadou Diol, 28, of the Bronx, Douda Dieng, 25, of Harlem, Serigne Goumbala, 22, of East Harlem, and Papa Coulibaloi, 26, of Morningside Heights, were charged with burglary, possession of stolen property and resisting arrest, police said.
Diabel Samb, 26, of Morningside Heights, was charged with burglary and possession of stolen property.
The arrests came a day after a judge shut down a fake modeling agency that was based in the same building on West 35th Street and was ordered to pay nearly $1 million in fines for ripping off unemployed models and actresses for more than six years.
The Department of Consumer Affairs found that the agency placed 910 false advertisements over a six-year period beginning in March 2005.