A con artist who attempted to poison a piece of cheesecake to kill her lookalike almost got away with it. And if it weren’t for the detective work of the private eye who found her, she would have gotten away with even worse.
Reporter Peter Van Sant of “48 Hours” discusses the specifics of “The Case of the Poison Cheesecake.”
Olga Tsvyk, a beauty stylist in Queens, New York, fell seriously ill and passed out in August 2016 after Viktoria Nasyrova, one of her clients, visited her and handed her a slice of poisoned cheesecake.
Tsvyk claims she came close to dying while at the hospital. Days later, she woke up, and when she returned home, she discovered that some of her possessions, including purses, cash, and jewelry, were vanished. Nasyrova was at fault, she told the police. Police searched for Nasyrova but were unable to locate her. They were unaware that others were also searching.
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Herman Weisberg was also. The former NYPD cop who is now a private investigator had begun looking for Nasyrova online for a different case.
Early in 2017, he opened his laptop and went to Nasyrova’s Facebook page during a peaceful, restless night. He examined it and discovered something unexpected.
Nasyrova was seated in a car in one of the images, and the headrest behind her had recognizable white stitching.
Weisberg also observed something enigmatic in the sunglasses she was wearing’s reflection.
The dashboard of the car was unusual.
“I never look at what people want me to see on these sites,” Weisberg remarked. I’m used to gazing at everything but the item that’s meant to catch your eye.
Weisberg proceeded to a huge parking lot and began peering into each car window in a fantastic display of traditional detective work. He was looking for the make and model of the vehicle Nasyrova was seated in when the picture was taken.
Weisberg recalled, “I must have been gazing into cars for a solid hour before I had what I was quite sure was it.
Surprisingly, he discovered the dashboard and stitching from Nasyrova’s photograph in a real automobile. A Chrysler 300 was involved. He then pondered whether he could identify the precise Chrysler 300 from the picture.
Nasyrova liked and evaluated eateries in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay, which is home to many Russians, on Facebook, leading Weisberg to believe that she might reside there.
He dispatched a team to search the area for Chrysler 300s with the same interior. He claims that they discovered many, documenting the license plate data.
He ran the plates after receiving a list from them. A name with a Russian sound was one of the outcomes.
He discovered an address connected to the vehicle. He looked at the apartment complex and thought it seemed familiar. When he returned to Facebook, he realized that Nasyrova’s eyeglasses were reflecting the same skyscraper. He dispatched a surveillance crew to keep watch.
Weisberg’s agents observed numerous ladies at the building who resembled Nasyrova, but he needed to be certain. Weisberg claims to have used an unofficial method he had learned about while working for the NYPD.
He claimed, “I was in drugs, where you’re continuously pursuing people. The fact is, nobody ever changes their shoes when they run because they toss away their jacket or flip their shirt inside out. I have a habit of looking at the shoes that everyone is wearing when I size someone up.
Weisberg observed that Nasyrova wore a pair of beige suede shoes in the surveillance tape that resembled a pair he had seen in her Facebook pictures.
The shoes served Weisberg’s needs better than a fingerprint did. He was confident he had located Viktoria Nasyrova.
He alerted Brooklyn investigators on March 20, 2017. As they ascended to Nasyrova’s apartment, he gave them the building’s address and unit number while waiting in the lobby. He claims that a little while afterward, investigators led Nasyrova out of the structure in handcuffs and under arrest.
They discovered an Olga Tsvyk ID card when they investigated her flat. Investigators had come to the conclusion that Nasyrova had planned to murder Tsvyk in order to pass herself off as her.
But why would Nasyrova take part in a murder attempt and identity fraud? According to Weisberg, it has to do with the other case he was working on when he discovered her.
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He had started working with Nadia Ford at the beginning of 2017, who asserted that Nasyrova had robbed and killed her mother in Russia in 2014. He claims that after the crime Nasyrova fled Russia and needed to find a method to remain in America to elude Russian police.
The case of the poisoned cheesecake was heard in court in January after Nasyrova spent nearly six years in detention while waiting for her trial due to epidemic delays. In less than two hours, the jury determined Nasyrova was guilty of attempted murder. The judge gave her a 21-year prison term. Nasyrova may be sent back to Russia to face murder accusations there after serving her sentence.
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