Monday, April 20, 2009

Leave the Rolex, take the Blackberry

State Senator Ray Lesniak lives not far from here in a nice neighborhood on the other side of busy Morris Ave. & the Elizabeth River. Lesniak is powerful politician who brings home the bacon, so that makes him a pretty popular Democrat in a Democratic district. Very early Saturday morning he was awakened by two robbers in his house. They entered through the basement window & may have thought no one was home. Lesniak often spends weekends at the Jersey shore. The robbers threatened him, then became fairly civil, took some money, his Blackberry & car keys, & left, declining his offered Rolex & not stealing his Lexus hybrid. One of them said, "We're good people, we're just in a bad place right now." Which is a lie. Good people may fall far enough to steal, but they won't carry guns when they do it. Strange as that was, the tale becomes really peculiar.

Lesniak has no landline phone service or backup cell. He hadn't turned on his alarm system. He apparently had no spare car keys. He got dressed, & rather than awaken neighbors he walked at 2:30 am to Elizabeth Fire Dept. Headquarters, which would have taken him near or directly past a notorious housing project, Oakwood Plaza. Good chance Lesniak's robbers came from Oakwood & went back there.

There's some speculation about the Senator's personal lifestyle. He's a lifelong bachelor. But that's his business. My impression is that he's 98% a political creature, has some strong religious beliefs; over the past few years he's moved to more enlightened positions on capital punishment, gay rights, & environmental protection. I know he hosts a kind of political salon in his home, where politicians have free-wheeling, off-the-record discussions. But he reputedly spends a lot of nights at his Tribeca condo.

The whole episode has an odd quality, something about it doesn't quite hold together. Maybe it's just as he says.

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The Senator's home is in a very nice neighborhood, but it is only one block away from the creepy Oakwood apartment complex. I haven't been at the house in over a decade, but I do remember that the wine collection was stellar.
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