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Man Who Groped UES Sunbather Burglarized 11 Shops in Manhattan: Authorities

By Shaye Weaver | July 12, 2016 5:40pm
 Police say Cronin tried to break into Bagels & Co. on York Avenue.
Police say Cronin tried to break into Bagels & Co. on York Avenue.
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DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

UPPER EAST SIDE — A man who was arrested for grabbing a sunbather's butt at Carl Schurz Park has a long history of committing burglaries by bike, according to authorities.

Thomas Cronin, 53, was arrested on June 6 after he rode up on a bike to a 45-year-old woman sunbathing in the park and grabbed her. He was charged with forcible touching and sex abuse for that incident, and police have since connected him to 11 burglaries across Manhattan, according to a criminal complaint.

Between June 13 and July 2, Cronin stole at least $930 from cleaners, coffee shops, bagel and doughnut eateries and cafes, police said. In each burglary, Cronin rode up to the locations on a bike and threw a rock or brick into a window or door to get in, the complaint says.

"It is pretty brazen," said Jimmy Lee, owner of Jimmy Lee Cleaners at 212 E. 67th St., where Cronin broke a window at about 9:30 p.m. on June 16 and took off with a drawer from the register, which was carrying $70, according to the complaint.

"There's a bar next door, Fox 5 across the street and security around and it's not easy to break this glass. It's double paned," Lee continued.

Police called Lee that night to tell him that someone had broken into his shop, and he arrived to find his front door shattered, he said. Security footage from neighboring properties caught Cronin leaving the shop with the register drawer on his handlebars, according to the complaint.

Cronin is being held at Rikers Island on $2,500 bail for the forcible touching/sex abuse charges and $100,000 for burglary charges, according to court records.

He has a long rap sheet going back to 1981, with charges including stalking, grand larceny, criminal mischief, criminal possession of a controlled substance and fare evasion, police said.

He was due back in court on July 12. His attorney did not return a call for comment.

Cronin was connected to the following burglaries, according to police and a criminal complaint:

► On June 13, Cronin rode up to Gregory's Coffee at 1273 First Ave. at 10:39 p.m. and stole $400 in cash from its register, according to authorities.

► Then on June 16, he broke a window at Jimmy Lee Cleaners at 212 E. 67th St. at 9:30 p.m. and rode off with the entire cash register drawer, carrying $70, on his handle bars, the complaint states.

► A week later, on June 23, Cronin broke the glass door of the DiNapoli Pizza shop at 906 Third Ave. with a rock at 10:50 p.m., but did not get into the building.

► Cronin then threw a brick into a Pret a Manger at 880 Third Ave. at 11:58 p.m. Police did not have information on how much, if any, cash was stolen.

► Later that night at 12:28 p.m., he broke into Le Pain Quotidien at 70 W. 40th St., using a brick to break the door and kicking it in to get through. Cronin broke three cash registers, and was seen by a witness rummaging through things behind the counter. Police did not have information on whether money was taken from this location.

► At 1:56 a.m., he tried to break into Gregory's Coffee at 350 Hudson St. by breaking a window but did not get in. Then at 2:50 a.m., he hit up another Gregory's Coffee at 874 Sixth Avenue. There, he broke the glass door with a brick, broke the cash register, and took its drawer and $60 with him.

► Two days later, on June 25, he broke through the glass door of another Pret a Manger at 319 Broadway at 12:10 a.m. and stole one of three cash register drawers that he tried to remove. Police did not have information on how much, if any, cash was stolen.

► Cronin returned to the Upper East Side on June 28 at 9:36 p.m., where he threw a brick at the door of A Matter of Health at 1347 First Ave., but fled on his bike when an employee came out of his office and saw him kicking the window, the complaint says.

► Then at 9:43 p.m., he rode up to Bagels and Company at 1428 York Ave., and broke its door with a brick and a kick. Cronin was not successful breaking in. A witness was passing by and saw him pick up the brick and ride off on his bicycle.

► On July 2, Cronin shattered the glass door of the Dunkin Donuts at 900 First Ave. with a rock at 11:01 p.m. and pulled out one of the cash drawers. He returned 20 minutes later and got a second drawer. Each one contained $200, according to the complaint.