By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Robberies by roving groups of teens have been a problem, especially in local parks, for the last month, according to the 13th Precinct’s top cop.
Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman made the announcement regarding recent crime stats at the 13th Precinct Community Council’s monthly meeting last Tuesday.
“Grand larceny is usually the driving force in our crime, accounting for more than 70 percent of crime in the precinct, but there have been developing issues in other areas,” Hellman said. “We’ve identified and established a pattern of street robberies with groups of young males, especially in the parks in the neighborhood.”
Town & Village reported at the beginning of this month that three teens were arrested for a robbery that took place in Bellevue South Park and the same week, three other teenagers were caught for an assault at the Asser Levy playground. Both incidents were at the end of September.
Hellman noted that one of the more recent incidents included a robbery in Stuyvesant Town earlier this month. As Town & Village reported in last week’s issue, a 14-year-old boy was arrested after getting into a fight with two Stuy Town residents in front of 410 East 20th Street on Friday, October 12 at 9:49 p.m. and attempting to steal one of their phones.
The teen who was arrested was held at the location by Stuyvesant Town security until police arrived but the two other boys weren’t caught. Hellman said that the two outstanding arrests are what differentiate this and other recent incidents to other robberies from the last few months, resulting in the precinct establishing a pattern.
“(Previous robberies) were closed to arrest but now we have multiple that are still open where suspects haven’t been arrested,” Hellman said. “At the last meeting, 60 percent were closed to arrests but we can’t say that now. We don’t know if it’s all the same perps, but the incidents are similar enough for it to be a pattern.”
Two other incidents from the last week fit into this pattern as well, although suspects were caught in relation to these incidents.
One of the teenagers was arrested for a robbery that took place at the corner of the FDR and East 23rd Street on Thursday, October 18 around 6:30 p.m.
The victim told police that the teen approached her at the intersection around 6:30 p.m. and said, “Give me your stuff, I have a gun.” The victim told police that he said this multiple times as he pulled out an imitation pistol, which looked real to the victim. The teen then grabbed her bag from her hands and demanded her cell phone. Police said that he then ran off with the victim’s property, and when he was arrested shortly after, the phony pistol was recovered.
The teen’s name is being withheld due to his young age, but police said that the teen is a resident at the Administration for Children’s Services facility in Kips Bay.
Nineteen-year-old Jallah Jaaber and two other teenagers were arrested for an alleged robbery at the corner of East 28th Street and First Avenue on Friday, October 19 at 1:44 a.m. Police said that Jaaber and the two other teens approached the victim in a stairwell inside 344 East 28th Street around 1 a.m. and forcibly removed property from him before fleeing. One of the younger teens was also charged with possession of stolen property and police said that the other younger teen gave a false birth date. He was charged with impersonation.
Although the incident happened inside a NYCHA building, none of the teens who were arrested were residents there and all live at the ACS building.
Hellman noted that a number of homeless men in the neighborhood have also been targeted by teenagers, as well as by other homeless individuals, in recent assaults in the last month.
One incident in the last week was the assault of a 43-year-old woman by a homeless man who was going through the trash. Hellman said that the man, 54-year-old Juan Martins, was looking through bags in front of 205 Third Avenue near East 19th Street last Wednesday in the early morning hours when he got into an argument with the woman about a chair that was on the sidewalk. Hellman said that the victim spotted the chair and wanted to take it home but Martins allegedly attacked her, causing her to fall to the ground and fracture her ribs.