Suspect in police custody for trespassing in Manhattan hotel, leaving suspicious substance behind

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Man in custody forleaving suspicious substance at NYC hotel: Police
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The man who is accused of leaving a powdery substance as an NYC hotel is in police custody. Police say the substance made a hotel employee sick on Tuesday.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The man accused of leaving a suspicious powdery substance at an NYC hotel is in police custody.

55-year-old John Taddei of Queens has been charged with theft of services and criminal trespass.

Taddei told detectives during questioning that he used talcum powder after taking a shower in the hotel room that he did not pay for.

He speculated to detectives that the powder is what a worker encountered while cleaning the room after he left.

Detectives now believe the worker, who ended up at the hospital, had had a psychosomatic reaction to seeing the powder.

Taddei was identified through surveillance video recovered from the hotel, and officers quickly caught up with him at the 57th Street subway station at Sixth Avenue, in possession of the three duffle bags of possessions he carries around with him.

The incident happened at the Park Hyatt Hotel, located at 153 W 57th Street.

Police say a family checked out at around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 22.

Investigators believe the family, which had five hotel room keys, may have dropped one of them while they were checking out.

Police say Taddei swiped into the 11th floor room several hours later around 8:30 p.m. and then left around 10:30 a.m. the next morning.

A housekeeper encountered a powdery substance when she went to clean the room, police say. She got sick and ended up at the hospital, where she is expected to survive.

FDNY personnel were initially called to the scene to check the room.

The substance had already been swept up so there was no powder residue, but the original test of the remaining residue came back positive for traces of an explosive substance.

Authorities then evacuated the 11th floor as the NYPD tested multiple surfaces. All subsequent tests of the substance came back negative and the initial test was ruled a false positive.

The hotel was looking into why the room key card was not deactivated after the prior guest ended their stay.

Police say Taddei has a history of trespassing in hotels, using misplaced or old hotel key cards to access rooms and steal guests' property.

He has 16 arrests for similar "low-level crimes."

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Police say surveillance video captured footage of the suspect and they were able to identify him. The man has 16 previous arrests for low level crimes and was described as homeless.

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