Buddies Take Corpse to Cash Check
Posted by shadmia on January 11, 2008
Virgilio Cintron’s $355 Social Security check arrived at the apartment he shared with his roommate, James O’Hare, 65. There was only one small problem – Virgilio Cintron was dead! So James called up his buddy David Dalaia also 65 and the two went to the local check cashing place to try to cash the check. The clerk told them that Virgilio needed to be present for them to cash the check. At this point most people would have given up on the idea of cashing the check. But not James and David who were both heroin addicts with long histories of arrests dating back to the 60’s.
They returned to the dead man’s apartment. Apparently Virgilio,66, had just died of natural causes, less than 24 hours before. He was undressed at the time of death, so the two men dressed him, as best they could. They put a faded T-shirt on him and pulled on a pair of pants, which they could only get halfway on, and covered the rest of him with a coat. They then managed to get him into an office chair and wheeled him outside, to take him to cash the check. Not only did their effort draw the attention of the many people they passed on the way; but the dead Virgilio Cintron was not cooperating very well.
“The witnesses saw the two pushing the chair with Mr Cintron flopping from side to side and the two individuals propping him up.” said police spokesman Paul Browne.
They arrived at the check cashing place, left Virgilio outside in the chair, and again attempted to cash the check. The clerk again asked for Virgilio and the two men said he was outside and went to get him. In the meantime, while the men were in the store, a crowd had gathered round the corpse. A police detective, Travis Rapp, who was having lunch at a restaurant next to the check cashing store noticed the crowd:
Rapp initially assumed “it was a mannequin or a dummy,” he said. “I thought it was a joke, honestly.”
“I saw this guy sitting in this chair with his head back. He looked very dead,” said Victor Rodriguez, 38, who was working at a nearby restaurant when he saw the commotion outside. “He looked very sick. His eyes were closed. He wasn’t moving.”
Rapp confronted them as they were trying to haul the body into the store. He said that even after he identified himself as a police officer, O’Hare told him, “I have to get my friend in here. I have to cash his check.” He ordered the men to back away from the victim. They feigned surprise when paramedics arrived and declared him dead, Rapp said.
“When they said, ‘Your friend is dead,’ they said, ‘Oh my God, he’s gone?'”
Both James O’Hare and David Dalaia were arrested on charges related to trying to cash the dead man’s check. They may take some consolation in the fact that at least one person thought the corpse was alive:
“He went in regular clothes. I didn’t even know he was dead. I thought he was alive,” said Gerit Ahemed, a clerk at a nearby deli.
Little is known about Cintron, 66, who apparently died of natural causes. An autopsy proved inconclusive, the medical examiner’s office said. Relatives told police that he had recently been hospitalized for Parkinson’s disease. Police said his rap sheet was long, with arrests for burglary, assault and drugs. Locals said that Cintron and O’Hare often frequented a food pantry down the street.