QUEENS — A Forest Hills man accused of threatening cabbies with what he said was an HIV-tainted syringe was a cabdriver who once sold real estate on the Upper East Side, his mother said.
Cops nabbed Chanan Aulov, 31, on Saturday, after he attacked the third driver within nine days, police said. The incidents took place in the Forest Hills area, where Aulov lives, netting him about $145, according to police.
Aulov’s distraught mother, who asked that her name not be used, blamed addiction for her son’s problems.
"There is a lot of drugs in this neighborhood... a lot of young people are using drugs... they are sold openly,” she said as she burst into tears. "He tried out of curiosity and now he struggles."
Aulov once sold real estate on the Upper East Side and touted his credentials as a former cabbie in helping people find apartments.
"If you want to find a great apartment, on a great street, in a great neighborhood, you go to a Real Estate agent who started out in New York as a yellow taxi cab driver," read his profile for Triumph Property Group, which no longer appears on the company's website.
"Chanan Aulov is that agent. Kind, honest, and outgoing, Chanan went from taxi-driver to computer technician and from computer technician to mortgage broker, before settling into Real Estate."
Some of the properties he was trying to lease were going for nearly $5,000 a month.
"Chanan has always thrived in positions that allow him to meet new people, entertain his ever-evolving curiosity about the city, and put a smile on the face of his customers," the bio said.
Triumph's CEO, Adam Disick, said that Aulov "was an independent contractor, he wasn't actually an employee."
"I really don't remember anything about the guy," Disick added. "My feeling is he probably didn't work for us for that long and wasn't able to conduct much business."
Aulov's family originally came from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He was born in Austria, and was 9 months old when the family came to the U.S., his mother said.
After graduating from the Chubb Institute to be a computer technician, he started selling real estate. His mother said he thought he was not making money fast enough and started working for a car service company, which he had done in the past.
Allan Fromberg, a spokesman for the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, said in an e-mail Wednesday, that Aulov "is not an active TLC licensee."
Aulov's mothes believes her son is addicted to heroin, which has altered his personality.
“He is very caring and very loving. He always wants to help everybody,” she said. "If I need to go somewhere, I would say, ‘Chanan, take me here, take me there,’ and he was always there for me."
After he was arrested, Aulov, who has a 1 1/2-year-old daughter, called his mother. "He apologized and said he was desperate," she said.
Aulov, who police said has been arrested at least half a dozen times dating back to 2003 on charges that include robbery and assault, was accused of using a syringe to rob three cabdrivers between May 3 and May 11.
In one incident, he allegedly held a syringe filled with red liquid and told the driver: “I have AIDS, I need money. I have a syringe with AIDS blood in it, give me your money, or I’ll push the AIDS blood into you,” according to the criminal complaint.
He and a group of other unnamed individuals were also sued in Brooklyn federal court for hawking fake Rolex watches on Craigslist in 2010.
A $1 million judgment was entered against him and the other defendants on Aug. 22, 2011.
Aulov’s mother said that, as an example of her son’s sensitive nature, a small bird died in his hands when he was a child. She said he later buried the bird and cried about it for days.
"The family was always together," she said. "But now drugs are ripping us apart."
Aulov was charged with robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of cocaine.
He was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail and is due back in court on May 23.