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Teen Driver Accused in Death of 4-Year-Old Arrested Again

Franklin Reyes, now 18, was arrested on a petit larceny charge along with his father, prosecutors said Saturday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Robert Mecea
    Franklin Reyes, right, appearing in court in June 2013 after being charged with manslaughter in the SUV death of 4-year-old Ariel Russo. Reyes has been arrested again in an apparently unrelated case.

    The unlicensed teenage driver accused of fatally striking a 4-year-old girl on a Manhattan sidewalk last year has been arrested again in an apparently unrelated case.

    Franklin Reyes, now 18, was arrested on a petit larceny charge along with his father, prosecutors said Saturday. Prosecutors say he and his father targeted the apartment of a dead resident in the Chelsea building where his father is a superintendent. They are accused of taking a camera, alcohol, jewelry and cash from the apartment.

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    Reyes' lawyer, Martin Schmukler, said the allegations were not true.

    "It is a groundless arrest, and the case will not survive in court," he said Saturday.

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    Reyes was released on bail in June 2013 over the objections of the family of Ariel Russo. Reyes has said he is not guilty of manslaughter in the little girl's death. 

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    Russo and her grandmother were hit on the Upper West Side on June 4, 2013. Prosecutors say the high school student allegedly struck them while trying to evade police after he was pulled over for reckless driving.

    Russo's family expressed anger after the bail hearing last year. 

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    "My daughter's dead and this guy's going to be free," said Alan Russo, Ariel's father. "He's going to have the summer, he's going to be home, he is going to play video games, he is going to eat his mom's home-cooked food." 

    "I'm never going to have my daughter back," he said. 

    At the time, Schmukler said he told the judge: "He's not dangerous, he needs to go back to school. He's a kid. A terrible thing happened. It's just very, very unfortunate. Let him go."

    Reyes, who only had a learners permit at the time of the crash, was ordered not to drive while he is out on bail.

    Officials say "human error" within New York City's 911 system caused a more than four-minute delay in dispatching an ambulance to help Russo. The Department of Investigation found that the dispatcher may have been distracted.