'Weekend at Bernie's'-like scheme in NYC?

January 9, 2008 3:10:07 PM PST
Two men were arrested Tuesday after wheeling a dead man through the streets in an office chair to a check-cashing store and trying to cash his Social Security check, police said. David J. Dalaia and James O'Hare pushed Virgilio Cintron's body from the Manhattan apartment O'Hare and Cintron shared about a block away to Pay-O-Matic, spokesman Paul Browne said witnesses told police.

"The witnesses saw the two pushing the chair with Cintron flopping from side to side and the two individuals propping him up and keeping him from flopping from side to side," Browne said.

The men left Cintron's body outside the store, went inside and tried to cash his $355 check, Browne said. The store's clerk, who knew Cintron, asked the men where he was, and O'Hare told the clerk they would go and get him, Browne said.

A police detective who was having lunch at a restaurant next to the check-cashing store noticed a crowd forming around Cintron's body and "it's immediately apparent to him that Cintron is dead," Browne said.

The detective called uniformed New York Police Department officers at a nearby precinct. Emergency Medical Services technicians arrived as O'Hare and Dalaia were preparing to wheel Cintron's body into the check-cashing store, Browne said. Police arrested Dalaia and O'Hare at the store, he said.

Cintron's body was taken to a hospital morgue. The medical examiner's office told police it appeared Cintron, 66, died from natural causes within the previous 24 hours, Browne said.

"He was deceased in the apartment when he was removed by these two," Browne said.

Dalaia and O'Hare, both 65, were being held by police and faced check fraud charges, Browne said.

A telephone number listed for Cintron at the apartment he shared with O'Hare went unanswered Tuesday evening.

Police said they didn't have an address for Dalaia or attorney information for him or O'Hare.


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