So your neighbor was arrested. Now what?

By Hong Le  | April 11, 2012 - 12:22PM

New Yorkers are a basically tolerant bunch.

For instance, we tend to understand that living in the same building as a parking fine scofflaw is a bit different than sharing a roof, elevator, laundry room, etc., with a potentially violent criminal.

So what do you do when your neighbor gets hauled away by the cops and you want to find out why?

One UrbanBaby user is facing that very problem, posting: “A search warrant was executed in my building today, and someone was arrested... any way for me to figure out what the crime was?”

Despite being innocent until proven guilty -- a sentiment many of the commenters voiced -- the fact that police showed up (and not just to break up a party), made an arrest, and executed a search warrant makes it a consequential matter.

“Ask the doorman!” was the first suggestion, which makes sense since the doorman should know everyone in the building and most of the happenings, but apparently the commenter didn’t have any luck.

Another suggested calling up the management company to “make sure people in the building aren't doing things to endanger your family.”

Unsure of the protocol here, BrickUnderground checked in with a professional. 

“If you live in the building, you have a legal right to know what happened," says Harry J. Houck Jr, a retired NYPD detective and president of Houck Consulting, whose work these days as a private investigator involves the occasional co-op board client. “It is public information and the fact that an arrest was made should be released, along with who was arrested and what the charges were." 

If the arrest was made by the NYPD, says Houck, "I would suggest you go to the precinct and speak to the captain."  

Regular cops can be reticent to give details, and while the captain might not be at liberty to spill all the dirt, he will at least state the charge, Houck says.

Expect the information trail to be bumpier if the feds are involved.

"You first have to find out the agency who executed the warrant," says Houck. "It could be ATF, FBI, Immigration, Homeland Security, INS, FPS,  US Marshalls and many others. You still have the right to know name and charge, but good luck finding the agency unless someone saw the agency name on a car or uniform."

If you still don’t have any answers after trying the above suggestions, the last resort would be to wait it out until the media reports it. Or, if you’re can’t help yourself, try contacting the media directly (or a local neighborhood blogger) and they might look into it. This way, no one will be left in the dark--and knowing that the arrest was due to unpaid parking tickets will help you sleep at night.

Related posts:

6 rules for dealing with unstable co-op owners (sponsored)

Is your neighbor driving you nuts -- or worse -- here's what to do

The easiest way to get rid of that brothel in your building

How to get arrested at home

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