By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police have arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with the theft of an e-bike from a restaurant on East 14th Street over the weekend.
The arrest comes after the New York Times reported last Friday that at least 24 e-bikes have been reported stolen throughout the city since last September. The NYPD told the Times that nearly two dozen delivery workers have been attacked and their e-bikes have been stolen by the same two men, who police said ambushed the riders with pepper spray or at knife point. The bikes stolen from the workers can cost as much as $2,000.
Although not an e-bike, Peter Cooper Village resident Adriana Hammonds also reported the theft of her new cargo bike just after Christmas. The family had taken out a loan to pay for the $3,000 bike and it was stolen the first day they took it out for a ride. The bike was meant for Hammonds to use to bring her 6-year-old son Sebastian to school and after assembling it right after the holiday, she and her son took it to visit a friend and locked the bike on East 18th Street and Irving Place. When they returned two hours later, the bike had been stolen.
The Bronx resident who was arrested for the recent e-bike theft was caught at the corner of Second Avenue and East 15th Street on Sunday, January 5 at 7:53 p.m. after a witness chased him from the restaurant where he took the bike.
The suspect was caught on video surveillance casing the Halal Guys restaurant at 307 East 14th Street and he reportedly removed an e-bike from where it was parked by a delivery man who had entered the restaurant to pick up the order.
The suspect rode off on the e-bike but he was followed from East 14th Street by a witness. When he realized he was being followed, the suspect dropped the bike and ran off, and the witness continued following him until police arrived at Second Avenue and East 15th Street, where he was arrested.
The NYPD is also looking for two individuals in connection with other recent e-bike thefts, two of which took place in the West Village in December, but police could not confirm if the suspect arrested in the East Village is one of the two wanted for the other thefts.
In one of the other recent incidents, police said that a 31-year-old delivery person left an e-bike unattended in front of 16 West 8th Street on December 17 around 2 p.m. when two unidentified men grabbed the bike and fled west on West 8th Street.
Another victim reported that at 9 p.m. on the same day, he was riding an e-bike near 79 Greenwich Avenue when he was approached by one of the suspects who held onto him while the other suspect grabbed his bike. Both suspects fled east on West 11th Street.
According to police, the suspect arrested on Sunday has a criminal record, with arrests in 2017 for farebeating and in 2019 for multiple domestic assaults, robbery and other charges.
Police confirmed that the suspect received a desk appearance ticket and was charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, as well as unlawful possession of marijuana.