A woman who lives three doors down from "the Butcher of Brooklyn" said yesterday that Levi Aron had tried to kidnap her young son right off their block, but that she scared him away with her screams. A Facebook "friend" told the iPad news publication The Daily that Aron had written on the site that "he likes Brooklyn more than Tennessee because there are more boys here."
Brooklyn mom says Levi Aron previously tried to kidnap her boy
REUVEN FENTON, JOSH MARGOLIN and DAN MANGAN • New York Post
A woman who lives three doors down from "the Butcher of Brooklyn" said yesterday that the madman had tried to kidnap her young son right off their block, but that she scared him away with her screams.
"The story is true. We're going through a lot of trauma here," Zisa Berkowitz told The Post from her East Second Street home, steps from where Levi Aron admittedly suffocated 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky with a bath towel in Aron's Kensington attic apartment.
NYPD detectives spoke to the mom on Wednesday, just hours after Aron was arrested for Kletzky's murder and dismemberment.
The alleged kidnap attempt occurred within the past two years, sources said, and is further evidence of Aron's longtime freakish fascination with young boys.
A former neighbor who grew up across the street said the "oddball . . . used to give kids rides in cars."
Aron later moved to Tennessee, where his creepy stare freaked out customers at the kosher deli where he worked as a butcher. He was married briefly before bolting back to Brooklyn.
A Facebook "friend" told the iPad news publication The Daily that Aron had written on the site that "he likes Brooklyn more than Tennessee because there are more boys here."
Aron went after another local boy in a failed kidnapping attempt about a week before the Leiby murder, sources told The Daily.
He stalked the 11-year-old in Borough Park with the same Honda he used to abduct Leiby, the sources said.
"[He] was walking home on his block when he noticed a gold car was tailing him," a source said. "He kept turning around, feeling suspicious, and kept noticing the car was there, so he broke into a run and quickly went home to tell his parents."
Leiby wasn't so lucky.
The lost child asked Aron for directions and was instead driven to the madman's house. Aron fed the boy and left him home Tuesday while going to work.
That night, Aron panicked over the intense search and media coverage of the boy's disappearance and suffocated him.
But Leiby put up a fierce struggle against his killer, leaving scratch wounds on Aron's arms and wrists as he tried to save his own life.
Sources yesterday described the subsequent butchery in greater detail.
They said Aron cut off the boy's entire legs so the body would better fit in a small suitcase. He then severed the feet and placed them in the freezer as a sick souvenir.
Aron later tossed the suitcase into a Dumpster two miles away in Sunset Park.
He was arrested that day and charged with murder.
He spent yesterday in the Bellevue Hospital prison ward undergoing a court-mandated psychiatric evaluation. He wasn't allowed any visitors, and no member of his Orthodox Jewish family even tried to see him.
At Leiby's house, the boy's parents continued observing the traditional Jewish seven-day mourning period known as shiva.
The Kletzky family posted a statement for reporters saying, "We are forever grateful and thankful to HaShem (G-d)."
"We would also like to express to each and every individual -- to our friends and neighbors and our fellow New Yorkers and to all the volunteers and all the agencies from the local, city, state and federal who assisted us above and beyond physically, emotionally and spiritually -- and to all from around the world, who had us in their thoughts and prayers," the statement read.
"From the depths of our mourning hearts, THANK YOU!" it concluded.
Additional reporting by Larry Celona, Jamie Schram and Josh Saul.
[Hat Tip: Seymour.]