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Thief Who Stole Laptop From Library Caught With Crack Pipe in Boot: Police

By Maya Rajamani | June 9, 2017 12:11pm | Updated on June 12, 2017 9:44am
 The Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The Port Authority Bus Terminal.
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Flickr/Digiart2001 | jason.kuffer

HELL'S KITCHEN — A thief who stole a laptop from a Midtown library was caught by an eagle-eyed Port Authority police officer who recognized him from a wanted poster, authorities said. 

The Port Authority police officer was patrolling in front of 591 Ninth Ave., between West 42nd and 43rd streets, around 5:04 p.m. on Tuesday when he spotted a man who looked like the suspect wanted for stealing a rental laptop from the Mid-Manhattan Library, according to police and a complaint filed with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

After the officer approached the man, Stephen McClellan, 55, and began escorting him to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, he asked if he was carrying anything sharp on him, police said.

“I have a crack pipe in my boot,” McClellan told the officer, who found the pipe in the suspect's left shoe, according to the complaint.

McClellan was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, and pleaded guilty to that charge on Wednesday, the DA's office said.

He was also charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property in connection with the laptop theft, a second complaint filed with the DA's office said.

McClellan rented the laptop from the Mid-Manhattan branch at 455 Fifth Ave., near West 40th Street, around 12 p.m. on April 26 but never checked it back in, according to the complaint.

Security footage from the library shows him leaving the library "without a laptop, but walking awkwardly with a bulge under his jacket, holding his arm tight to his side,” the complaint said.

McClellan pleaded guilty to petit larceny Wednesday and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, the DA’s office said. He’s currently being held at the Manhattan Detention Complex, city Department of Correction records show.

His attorney on Thursday declined to comment on either incident.

Other recent crimes in the 10th Precinct include:

► A 31-year-old man left his $1,300 piano keyboard, $60 keyboard case and $100 keyboard stand leaning against a pile of garbage in front of 408 W. 39th St., near Ninth Avenue, around 1:10 a.m. on June 4 as he went to park his car, the NYPD said. When he returned to the location 15 minutes later, all three items were gone. The man believes someone may have mistaken them for trash.

► A 41-year-old man was arrested for drunk driving after a police officer spotted him slumped over at the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz on West 29th Street, between Ninth and 10th avenues, around 11:50 p.m. on June 3, police said. The man’s keys were in the ignition, his car was facing eastbound on a westbound-only street, and he had watery eyes and slurred speech. “I was just checking the car to make sure it’s running properly,” the man told the officer. The man was later found to have a blood alcohol content of .175, more than twice the legal limit.

► A 47-year-old man locked his $400 bike to a street sign in front of 243 W. 21st St., near Eighth Avenue, around 8 a.m. on June 2, the NYPD said. When he returned later in the day, the bike was gone. No one had been arrested in connection with the theft as of Wednesday.

► A 40-year-old woman told police she was inside her apartment at the Chelsea-Elliott Houses, on West 27th Street between Ninth and 10th avenues, around 1 a.m. on June 2 when someone threw an object at her window and broke it. No one had been arrested in connection with the incident as of Wednesday.