By Christina Carrega
A Woodhaven woman was arrested on Thursday for allegedly stealing almost all the appliances — including the kitchen sink — meant for an East Harlem public housing apartment.
In September 2018, investigators from the Department of Investigations (DOI) received a tip that Eva Torres renovated her Woodhaven kitchen using appliances and cabinets that belong to New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
Torres, 42, was a supervisor with NYCHA's Wagner Houses since 2013 and has resigned.
“This NYCHA supervisor misused her position to give her personal kitchen a makeover, realizing the renovation with stolen equipment and an appliance from NYCHA and denying residents what was rightfully theirs,” DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said.
DOI investigators inspected Torres’ Facebook post. In one photograph of Torres is holding a bouquet of flowers in her kitchen and the items were similar to the ones that are purchased from Canada-based Crotone Kitchens Inc. for NYCHA apartments, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors with the Queens District Attorney’s office said the kitchen sink, cabinets, refrigerator — worth $1,355 — were the exact model that had never been sold privately to anybody, including Torres.
The cabinets cost $616, a stainless steel double sink cost $190 and the General Electric white refrigerator cost $549, according to the criminal complaint.
“The defendant is accused of taking advantage of her trusted position to steal from her employer. Torres’ alleged scheme didn’t just rip off NYCHA, but also the thousands of residents who rely on the agency for housing,” Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.
As a result of DOI’s observations, a search warrant was executed on Thursday to search Torres’ 88th Road apartment. All the items found matched serial numbers to items purchased by NYCHA for a 16th floor apartment in the Wagner Houses, prosecutors said.
A Queens judge released Torres on her own recognizance on Thursday evening. If convicted, she faces up to four years in prison.