MANHATTAN — The so-called “Ice Pick Mugger” accused of attacking women inside elevators at Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village and the Bronx once threatened to stab one of his victim’s children if she didn’t give him more money, prosecutors said at his arraignment.
John Martinez was extradited from New Jersey on Tuesday and arraigned in Manhattan during night court around 12:20 a.m. on Thursday. Prosecutors said the 39-year-old ex-con allegedly entered an elevator in Stuyvesant Town on the afternoon of Dec. 2 with a woman and her young son, where he told the woman, “Give me your money, jewelry and credit cards.”
After the woman turned over the items, he continued, “It’s not enough. Take me to your apartment or I will stab your son,” Assistant District Attorney Ariel Pizzitola said.
Prosecutors said Martinez had already menaced another mom with her two small children in an elevator earlier that day, telling the woman, “I won’t kill you if you give me all you diamonds and money.” In that case, he allegedly took the woman’s ring and her wallet before fleeing.
The two attacks took place within 15 minutes of each other in separate buildings within the Stuyvesant Town complex — the first at 17 Stuyvesant Oval and the second at 525 East 14th Street, according to the criminal complaint against Martinez.
The alleged ice pick mugger is also accused of holding up a 60-year-old woman in the nearby Peter Cooper Village during the early evening of Nov. 22. He was caught on camera threatening his victim with a knife and demanding money before making off with $700, Pizzitola and the complaint said. Police claim Martinez also carried out three prior attacks on women in elevators in the Bronx.
Pizzitola called Martinez a “persistent felon” who was paroled from prison in September after spending time locked up for a robbery conviction. Martinez faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted of the latest round of crimes, she said.
He was arrested in New Jersey over the weekend after violating the terms of his parole, police said.
Martinez’ lawyer Liz Beal said he has struggled with mental illness for his entire life and said he had family in New Jersey. She said he was living in the Bronx and looking for work.
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Marc Whiten ordered Martinez held on $950,000 bond. Martinez is due back in court on Dec. 14.