Flashback: $100M in music merch seized

BY YANNIC RACK | In 1989, a band of music-minded miscreants made the East Village the center of their activities. No, they weren’t rowdy punk rockers.

“Acting on a tip from tenants who were suspicious of the late night activities of strangers entering their building…police recovered a large amount of property from the basement of an East Village building,” began an article in The Villager on April 20 of that year.

The report detailed how Ninth Precinct officers unearthed around $100 million worth of equipment — everything from stereos, keyboards and about a dozen guitars, to leather jackets, CD’s and some 10,000 cassettes — that made the operation look like a sting on an underground rock club.

But the basement of 157 E. Second St. was quiet most nights, at least if you didn’t count men regularly arriving late at night to unload their cars and vans.

Tenants of the building said this had been going on for a year and a half. But they began to get suspicious once the shady drop-offs increased in frequency after the tenants association took over management of the building and fired its super.

One of the residents recounted how, soon after, he followed two men into the basement to witness two other men watching TV and counting money.

“ ‘They said they were friends of the super and worked in the flea market,’ ” he told The Villager.

The following week, after he had been fired, the super reportedly returned one last time to “get some things” and brought along 10 men, who emptied out parts of the basement until the suspicious residents finally flagged down a police officer.

According to the article, the super denied any involvement in the electronics stash and claimed he had allowed storage of the items as a favor, without receiving any compensation.

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