Residents in an exclusive Manhattan community are still floundering in the wake of a prominent business founder’s alleged attempt to set two dogs on fire days ago.
According to New York’s Page Six, law enforcement investigators are probing hotel kingpin, Vikram Chatwal, for his involvement in a disturbing animal abuse incident. The accused man is famously known for outbidding Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs for a Picasso piece (valued at $1.2 million) at a Miami art event. Police are seeking a motive for Chatwal’s erratic behavior.
Chatwal, 44, the founder of Dream, Night and Time, a line of boutique hotels, supposedly attacked a woman’s dogs without provocation as she walked them on a public sidewalk. Resident, Isabell Suquilanda, 29, said she observed a woman walking her two canines along Wooster Street when Chatwal accosted them and began complaining loudly about dogs and flea infestation.
An unnamed New York City Police Department spokesperson reported that Chatwal told the woman that dogs should be euthanized for harboring the disease-carrying insects. Chatwal then produced an aerosol can and lighter before aiming flames at the hapless dogs.
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Witnesses said the hotelier yelled, “They must die!” and then proceeded to attack the dogs with fire. Thankfully, several bystanders intervened and separated the man from the woman and her pooches. Police officers say there were “minor injuries,” but it’s unclear who sustained burns as sources reported.
Roxanne Robles says she witnessed the moment Chatwal tried torching the dogs in broad daylight. The horrific incident caught her by surprise.
“I was walking down the street, and I saw this guy crouching and aggressively circling this woman and the dogs screaming at them, with a lighter and aerosol can spraying fire on the dogs.”
“I was screaming my head off, ‘What the f**k are you doing?!’ I interrupted it.”
Robles said the bizarre animal attack left her with difficulty coping with the lingering images of flames aimed at dogs.
“It was like a fire-breathing dragon, shooting out flames 2 to 3 feet long. This isn’t OK. You can’t walk the streets lighting dogs on fire and think your life can go on as usual.”
One witness on the scene reported seeing a personal assistant who works for Chatwal pulling him away from the scene and into his nearby home. Another passerby used their smartphone to record the arrival of at least four police vehicles arriving on the scene.
Officers approached Chatwal, who became belligerent while boasting of his entitled and privileged standing in the community. The Post claimed to have viewed the footage and said the angry man warned cops, “You guys don’t have me, I have you.”
A short time later, a calmer Chatwal apologized to the dogs’ owners for his “despicable acts.”
Sources on the scene talked to another man who spoke to Chatwal after the incident. The unnamed man didn’t witness the attack. Instead, he described his neighbor’s perceived mental state and unkempt appearance.
“The guy was muttering, he was telling me he was on anti-depressants. He said he has ticks and fleas in his apartment and he blames the dogs.”
Police are still investigating the incident and have not yet reported on the man’s mental state at the time of the alleged burning attempt.
Chatwal, who has past romantic connections to supermodels Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen, was arrested in 2013 on charges of drug trafficking and possession, according to People. He reportedly “beat” the felony charges after serving one year in rehabilitation for substance abuse.
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Police did not make any arrests in connection with Chatwal’s burning attempt on the dogs, and it’s unclear if any are forthcoming.
[Featured Image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]