Deputy Mayor tackles alleged mugger

March 4, 2009 9:22:54 PM PST
The deputy mayor tackled a mugger who stole a woman's cell phone in Midtown Manhattan last night. Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler, 35, heard the woman screaming on West 48th Street, between 6th and 7th avenues, just after 8 p.m. last night.

He then saw a group of teens running westbound on West 48th Street, and chased after them.

As the mugger tried to get away, he slipped on a patch of ice. Skyler said he then dropped down on top of the mugger, with the intention of holding him down until police arrived.

"I attempted to tackle him, but he saw me trying to cut him off. ... He slipped and that's when I grabbed him," Skyler said. "I was just trying to keep him down. I was just telling him, 'you know, you're staying here, the police are going to come."'

But then, some of the mugger's friends showed up, Skyler said. There was a brief skirmish before the mugger wrestled free and the group fled down Sixth Avenue. No arrests have been made.

All four teens eventually got away, but not before giving up the woman's cell phone.

Skyler then returned to the 41-year-old woman, who is from West Orange, N.J., and returned her cell phone.

The victim, Victoria Kress, said she had been standing on the street corner at West 48th Street and Sixth Avenue, writing an e-mail on her BlackBerry, when it was snatched by a young man.

Kress, who said she lived in New York City before moving to New Jersey years ago, said the experience made her feel "safer about living and working in New York than I ever have felt before."

"Not because I was a victim of a crime," she added, "but because I had an opportunity to experience so much humanity around me."

No arrests were made. During a canvas, two groups of young men were detained nearby, but the victim was not able to identify them.

Skyler, 35, is the youngest of Bloomberg's seven deputies and one of his closest advisers. His duties include helping the mayor manage the police department, fire department, budget office, labor relations, buildings department and sustainability efforts, among others.

Originally from New York City, Skyler has been at Bloomberg's side since his first run for office in 2001, when he served as press secretary for the campaign. He was press secretary for Bloomberg during the mayor's first term, and was promoted to deputy mayor after Bloomberg was re-elected.

He holds a degree from Fordham University School of Law.