Police Watch: Man busted for assault at Associated, Police looking for men targeting cab drivers

Police arrested 23-year-old Thomas Commender for assault in front of the Associated Supermarket at 409 East 14th Street last Monday at 11:12 p.m. An employee at the store told police that she got into an argument with Commender because he was refusing to leave the store. Commender then allegedly ripped the employee’s pants. Police said that he was also flailing his arms and scratched the victim’s neck and left arm. The incident caused her to fall to the ground and bruise her knee, but she refused medical assistance.

Police are looking for a group of men believed to be responsible for multiple robberies throughout Midtown and Union Square, specifically targeting cab drivers. The most recent known incident was on Friday, July 22 around 10:30 a.m., when two men approached a cab that was stopped in traffic in front of 853 Broadway just south of Union Square Park. One of the men approached the driver’s door and asked to go to Brooklyn and while he was distracted, the second man opened the passenger’s side door and snatched cash from the center cup holder. The driver attempted to stop him but the first man punched him in the face and both men fled on foot west on 14th Street.
On the same day not long after, around 11:20 a.m., the two men reportedly stole a cab driver’s backpack when they entered his cab in front of 894 Sixth Avenue at West 34th Street.
The first in the string of robberies took place on Sunday, July 10 at 4:40 p.m. when two men got into a cab at 400 Fifth Avenue near West 36th Street asked to be taken to the Bronx. They stole the driver’s iPhone 6S from the seat and cash from his shirt pocket and fled.
One of the suspects hit another cab driver on Fifth Avenue at West 35th Street on July 14 at 2:30 p.m. when the driver was dropping passengers off at the intersection. The man got into the front seat of the cab and grabbed the driver’s wallet, and fled north on Fifth Avenue towards West 36th Street.
The two suspects reportedly entered a cab at Sixth Avenue and West 38th Street on Saturday, July 16 just after 10 p.m. and grabbed cash that was on the armrest. They fled south on Sixth Avenue.
Two days later, three men reportedly robbed a driver who was dropping off passengers around 11 a.m. in front of 349 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street. Police said that one of the men entered the cab on the passenger’s side and took cash off the center console, fleeing west on 34th Street. The two other men fled south on Fifth Avenue.
The men are described as black, in their late teens to mid-20s, with slim builds and medium complexions. One of the men has a tattoo of the Batman logo on the inside of his left arm.
Anyone with information in regard to these incidents is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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