As a former resident of Noble Street, I’ve long wondered who was responsible for the large number of random papers littering the street every weekend, papers meticulously ripped out, as if with a paper slicer. I never quite made inroads with an investigation. The 94th precinct told me they were actively investigating the case in February, and that the surveillance footage circulating was not “ID-quality.” I left it there.

Now, my own personal Zodiac Killer-style cold case has concluded — the culprit has been revealed. Or rather, the culprit was revealed to Noble Street residents in April but is only now being made public, thanks to reporting from Gothamist.

NYPD Sergeant John Trzcinski is the mastermind behind the phenomenon. Earlier this year, Greenpointers received an unsubstantiated tip that the culprit grew up on Noble Street, but had since moved away. That tracks with what Gothamist found — though Trzcinski grew up here, he moved to Long Island about 25 years ago. The family house on Noble Street was sold in 2016.

Thanks to interested neighbors, a private security firm, and NYPD Internal Affairs investigators, Trzcinski was finally identified, though not given much of a punishment: “An NYPD probe resulted in discipline for Trzcinski: loss of one vacation day, according to public records.”

It seems that Trzcinski’s career bared some weight on residents’ reluctance to publicize the case.


“When asked about the serial litterer, numerous residents said they’d only speak about it on condition of anonymity – or refused to talk about it at all,” according to the article. “Longtime residents said they didn’t want to be seen as criticizing the police – or Trzcinski, their former neighbor.

Last year, Trzcinski earned $177,516 while working at an NYPD auto pound lot. The man’s got too much paper on his hands, in more ways than one.

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  1. The real story here is how do you make $178k at a NYPD auto pound lot? Did he work 24/7 and sleep in the pound? Apparently he wanted to spread the paper but not the wealth.

  2. I can’t judge a man from afar and analyze what sort of inner compulsions or demons were at work here. But to have someone –much less a police officer– keep up this presumably vindictive & obsessive action week after week afetr week for several years tells me that this man needs some help in resolving his anger (and/or arrogance) issues. The Gothamist noted that Noble Street residents were reluctant to discuss the matter once they discovered that the culprit was a cop. This, because they feared some sort of blowback. Blowback for trying to make our police force better, more responsible, and more trustworthy? Really? Obviously we respect, value and need the police. But after all, they work for us. And they in turn need to value and respect us. It needs to be a two way street.. On a much more serious note however, it makes me wonder what ever happened (in terms of seeking and obtaining justice) with the nearby fatal shooting of a unarmed Greenpoint Avenue resident several years ago by a retired cop who lived in his building. This, over a parking dispute. Does anyone know if this neighbor’s death was simply swept under the misguided blue wall of silence? Were there any consequences for taking a human life?

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