By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police are on the lookout for four men who robbed a man as he was leaving the Bank of America ATM at East 21st Street and First Avenue last Friday night.
The crime, one of two robberies at ATMs in the 13th Precinct in the last month, was reported by Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, the precinct’s commanding officer, at the most recent Community Council meeting on Tuesday. Timoney said the other robbery took place at an ATM on Seventh Avenue recently.
In the incident across from Peter Cooper Village, Timoney said that a man went into the vestibule around 11:30 p.m. and got $60 in cash. As he was leaving and was about to get on his skateboard, he said that four men approached him and a scuffle ensued. Police searched the area for the suspects, who were all described as black, at the time but no arrests have been made. Timoney said that officers are planning to search the area again for new leads.
“Be aware of your surroundings when you’re going in there,” he advised. “If you see a group of people outside the ATM, maybe go to a different one.”
Crime down overall in 13th Precinct, except scams
In terms of overall crime in the precinct in recent weeks, Timoney reported that crime has decreased 24 percent in the last 28-day period and is down 7 percent for the year. He noted that while robberies have increased, with 10 in the previous 28-day period compared to four during the same time last year, he said that four is “unusually low.”
“It sounds like a big increase but we usually average three to four robberies a week,” he said.
Felony assaults have decreased 36 percent for the year and 47 percent in the last few weeks. Grand larceny has also decreased in the last month but Timoney said that the precinct is still struggling with scams.
“People get called up and they think they’re going to be millionaires,” Timoney said of the scams. “If anyone calls giving you free money, hang up the phone.”
Timoney also advised the community to be vigilant during the warm weather, both outside in the parks and not leaving property unattended as well as not leaving doors and windows unlocked even for short periods.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Special Operations Lieutenant Bekim Kalicovic presented the Cop of the Month awards for March and April to officers who made notable arrests for strings of burglaries in the area and the theft of multiple cell phones.
Officer Brian McCarthy was presented the award for March after identifying a career criminal found to be responsible for a number of burglaries from 24th to 26th Streets and 14th to 17th Streets on the East Side. Kalicovic said that surveillance footage was available of the suspect using one of the stolen credit cards and McCarthy, who is in the anti-crime unit, recognized the man as someone who had been arrested three years previously for trespassing in a residential building.
Eric Demery, an officer on the cabaret team, was given the award for April after busting a man for a number of phone thefts in area nightclubs. Kalicovic said that the suspect would carefully scope out the clubs to find spots where there was no video surveillance and would target women, asking them to dance. When he was busted, Kalicovic said that one of the stolen phones was tracked and the suspect was in possession of a number of different cell phones.
“These were phones with pink and purple cases,” he said. “He definitely didn’t own these phones.”