Sanitation Workers Catch Cellphone Thief, Cops Say

By Carla Zanoni on October 13, 2011 9:57am 

Sanitation workers helped police arrest a 15-year-old suspect who allegedly robbed a woman's iPhone out of her hand on Isham Street on October 8, 2011.
Sanitation workers helped police arrest a 15-year-old suspect who allegedly robbed a woman's iPhone out of her hand on Isham Street on October 8, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Carla Zanoni

INWOOD — A group of sanitation workers helped cops catch a suspected thief after he allegedly snatched a woman's iPhone near an Inwood farmer's market over the weekend, police sources said.

The workers tackled the 15-year-old boy outside the Tenth Avenue Sanitation Yard after he allegedly swiped the phone from the woman's hand near the Inwood Greenmarket at Isham and Cooper streets, about six blocks away.

The Department of Sanitation workers stepped in when they saw the suspect being chased by the victim, who was not injured, and a man who had witnessed the incident, police said.

The members of New York's Strongest then held the teen until officers from the 34th Precinct’s anti-Crime Unit, who were patrolling the area, arrived to arrest him.

The teen was charged as a juvenile with robbery.

The Department of Sanitation was looking to indentify the workers.

Neighbors were rattled after learning about the incident, which occurred as the victim left the bustling greenmarket, which takes place every Saturday.

Residents said they are increasingly concerned about growing crime in an area generally considered safe during the day and a busy weekend event.

“It used to be that I just thought about being careful late at night or in more quiet areas, but now the parks don’t feel safe, the streets don’t feel safe, I don’t feel safe at any time of the day,” Inwood resident Tanya Moore, 34, said.

The incident comes just days after another woman was attacked and robbed by a group of teens for her cell phone in broad daylight on Sept. 28 on Park Terrace West, steps from Saturday’s attack.

Although overall crime is up 16.37 percent in the 34th Precinct year-to-date, robbery rates have practically stayed the same as last year, with 207 incidents reported this year as opposed to 202 last year, according to NYPD statistics for the week of Sept. 26 to Oct. 2.

Despite only a slight increase, residents said they have been on edge for months, after a string of high-profile sexual assaults and attacks took place over the summer and said they want to see a greater police presence in the neighborhood.

A 15-year-old allegedly snatched an iPhone out of a woman's hand as she left the Inwood Greenmarket on October 8, 2011.
A 15-year-old allegedly snatched an iPhone out of a woman's hand as she left the Inwood Greenmarket on October 8, 2011.
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Flickr/neatnessdotcom

“I'm just waiting for my number to come up,” wrote one parent on a local parenting email list.

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