Update: Police have released a photo of the suspect.
By Sabina Mollot
Cops are on the lookout for a man who robbed three women in one night, two in Stuyvesant Town. One of the robberies happened at 15 Stuyvesant Oval, the other on the sidewalk near 330 First Avenue, and another took place in the East Village. All the incidents happened on Monday, October 10 from 2-3 a.m.
The crimes were discussed by the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, on Tuesday night at a meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council.
Timoney noted, however, that one of the Stuyvesant Town victims successfully fought the mugger off, knocking him down before he got away. This was near 330 First Avenue.
“She threw the guy around a little,” he said.
He added that in this incident, the mugger was unsuccessful in his attempt to grab the 26-year-old woman’s bag. The woman didn’t report this incident although a cop did hear the victim scream. Ten minutes later, the same man followed an NYU student into her building, Timoney said, and tried to take her bag. In the struggle, the 20-year-old woman’s phone fell to the ground and the man snatched it before fleeing.
The robbery spree actually began in the vicinity of 90 East 10th Street, where police said the man struck a 51-year-old woman over the head with an umbrella and pushed her to the ground. He then fled with her cell phone. Police added that in the other incidents, the victims were also pushed to the ground.
Timoney warned neighbors in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting that it could take some time to catch the mugger since he’s not currently someone the NYPD is familiar with.
The suspect is described as being black, about six feet tall and 30-35 years old.
Rick Hayduk, general manager of Stuyvesant Town, later said that in one of the aforementioned incidents in the complex, the creep managed to “piggyback” his way inside building. In the second incident, the victim had held the door for the suspect when she went inside her building and once they were in the elevator, he demanded her phone.
He said there would be an alert sent to residents to remind them not to open the door for people they don’t know.
“Don’t let anyone come in behind you. It’s not rude,” said Hayduk, who was at Tuesday’s meeting along with Stuyvesant Town Public Safety Chief Bill McClellan.
Hayduk mentioned that there was also another attempted robbery in the complex, which police at first thought might have been committed by the same man. At 3:30 p.m. on October 16, a 16-year-old resident rode his bicycle into the 20th Street Loop and locked it to a pole before entering the terrace side of 18 Stuyvesant Oval. A mugger then followed him as he went inside and they both got onto an elevator. That’s when the mugger demanded the victim’s backpack. The resident turned it over but then followed the suspect as he went back into the lobby. The mugger then told the teen, “I know you have drugs in here,” while rifling through his bag. He then dropped it though and fled, making his escape in a champagne colored 1990s era sedan with tinted windows.
In other local crime news, Timoney reported that crime was down 9 percent overall in the precinct for the year except for a recent spike in rapes, with two rapes being reported within the last month. The incidents, however, occurred in 2014, and neither were committed on the street. Both suspects were known to the victims and Timoney said NYPD was taking incidents of domestic violence very seriously.
There have also been a couple of recent bank robberies that were hit by someone Timoney believes was “a thorn in my side” when he was the commanding officer of downtown’s 1st Precinct. He said in 2014 the man went to a bank, filled out a bank slip and presented it to the teller, with the paper demanding $2,000. The teller turned over the money, but only $1,000 of it. The next day, Timoney said, the same man returned to the bank and proceeded to complain. “He said he was short-changed.” The man is believed to be responsible for a recent attempted but unsuccessful robbery at a local bank Timoney didn’t name.
He also discussed a new scam being perpetrated by a man and possibly also a woman working as a team in the ATM areas of banks. Customers have been asked to deposit the person’s check for them, only to discover later that it was fraudulent and bounced.
There’s also been an ongoing problem of thefts from dance studios and gym lockers. New York Sports Club has been an especially hard hit establishment. Timoney said in some cases thieves break the locks, but in other cases have just stolen things from unlocked lockers. He recommended that gym members use master locks that require keys.
Thieves who swipe phones while riding bikes are currently an ongoing concern, with recent phone snatchings reported on Fifth and Seven Avenues.
There was also a recent spate of office burglaries, with a suspect arrested.
Police had been looking for the individual, Shakir Young, for some time since he had a history of burglaries, but he’d changed his name in jail, Timoney said.
He added that Young was believed to be behind a series of burglaries that began in October 2015, from 23rd Street to 34th Streets.
Cops put up fliers in office buildings, and after that, an alert employee recognized the suspect and called cops. Cops arrived at the building, “and off the elevator comes Shakir Young,” Timoney said.
He’d been dressed in a janitor’s uniform since he’d kept the uniform from a company where he used to work and then went to places he was familiar with, Timoney said.
“People were saying, ‘why are you arresting our custodian?’ They thought he worked in the building,’” the deputy inspector said.
Police Officer Jeff Mayard, a second generation cop, who made the arrest in the case, was named Cop of the Month.