Police beat: Oct. 18-26

Although violent crime remained down across the area in October, officers at the 41st Precinct station house on Longwood Avenue advise residents to be vigilant to guard against two familiar crime patterns that have resurfaced in recent weeks: purse snatchings and car-mirror thefts. 

Here were some of the more noteworthy crimes reported during the week of Oct. 18-26. 

Bag grabs on Westchester Ave. 
A lanky assailant who appears to be about 18 years old has been stealing purses off the shoulders of victims where Hoe Avenue and Sampson Street meet Westchester Avenue, according to police. Over roughly a month and a half, at least four people were robbed of their belongings by the male suspect with a deep tan. The victims are typically women in their forties. Two of them were knocked to the ground while struggling with the assailant. Police urge residents not to fight back if targeted. 

After stealing bags, the suspect typically flees northbound on Simpson Street, towards West Farms Road. The NYPD reports a potentially related purse robbery occurred near Longfellow and Westchester Avenues on Oct. 14. The victim’s head was struck with an unknown object, requiring stitches.

Car mirrors stolen
Over the past year, the 41st Precinct has seen a rash of car mirrors stolen to the north and south of Westchester Avenue on Tiffany Street and Fox Avenue, as well as near Leggett Avenue and Kelly Street when nearby schools are not in session. Police say the mirrors are typically sold to auto glass shops.

Armed robber rattles Fratelli’s 

The night manager of Fratelli’s Pizza Shop at 404 Hunts Point Ave. was rattled after a man brandishing a black firearm demanded she and her coworker hand over their cash drawer’s content at 7:45 p.m. on October 18. A coworker refused, according to the night manager, who spoke to the Express on the condition of anonymity, and the aggressor cocked his gun. However, after getting spooked by security cameras that he noticed, the man only managed to make off with a tip jar containing $15.

Though shaken, “[the night manager] keeps coming to work because she needs to support her family,” said manager Bala Nathan, 55. Nathan, who lives five blocks from the restaurant, still considers the neighborhood a safe one.  “Every five or 10 minutes, the cops have been here over the past 20 years,” he says. The suspect appeared to be black and around 5’5. 

Female felon flees Fox Street with taxi
On October 26 at 12:30 a.m., a 66 year-old male taxi driver was forced to leave his cab at gunpoint by a 37 year-old woman. After making off with the vehicle, the woman was later apprehended when she crashed it into several parked cars near Trinity Avenue between East 163rd Street and East 165th Street. 

Theft from vehicles
Five cars were broken into on local streets last week. Police say that in most cases, the windows were broken. The most severe case happened overnight on Friday, Oct. 19, when someone shattered the rear window of a parked car some time between 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 19 and 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 20 near Spofford and Longwood avenues.  About $1,600 and a duffle bag were stolen from the car.  

In another case on Oct. 19, a victim left her car door unlocked while she and her husband were working. She came back to the car around 2 p.m. and found that her purse had been taken. 

The next day, at Dawson Street and Longwood Avenue at 9 p.m., a victim discovered that the back driver’s side window had been shattered and credit cards in their glove compartment stolen. 

A 13-year-old boy was walking along Coster Street and Spofford Avenue on Tuesday, Oct. 23 when another 13-year-old approached him with a knife and demanded his book bag. The victim tossed the backpack at his assailant and walked away. 

In a turn of events, the young assailant walked back to hand the victim back his cell phone, but was instead greeted by police, who promptly arrested him. Police say he resisted the arrest initially but was ultimately booked and arraigned in family court on Sheridan Avenue and 161st street as a juvenile delinquent.

Commercial burglary
Thieves broke into a warehouse on 967 Longfellow Ave. by entering through the roof. They removed power tools and a Mercedes Sprinter work van, which was recovered in front of the historic BankNote building on 1231 Lafayette Ave on the afternoon of Oct. 22. 

Domestic assaults
On Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m., a man allegedly hit his estranged wife with a black folding chair and choked her after she came to pick up belongings from his home, police say. 

An 11-year-old boy reported that a male peer threw a rock at him at around 2:30 p.m on Oct. 25 near Kelly Street and 163rd Street. The dispute began when the perpetrator allegedly threw a rock at the victim’s sister. The victim approached the assailant, who then threw an even larger rock at the victim, causing a large gash on the side of his face.


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