Attack on Transgender Woman in Astoria Diner Might Be Hate Crime, NYPD Says

By Jeanmarie Evelly on January 16, 2014 7:01am 

 The 114th Precinct in Astoria.
The 114th Precinct in Astoria.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

ASTORIA — A transgender woman and her friend were attacked with a plate inside a popular Astoria diner and police are investigating the incident as a possible bias crime, according to NYPD officials.

The violence unfolded on Jan. 8, at 5 a.m., when a 30-year-old transgender woman and her friend, a 32-year-old man, were assaulted and hit with a plate inside the Neptune Diner at 31-05 Astoria Blvd.

The attack was sparked by a dispute with two women who made derogatory statements toward the transgender woman, according to the commanding officer of the 114th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney.

Both victims where treated at Mount Sinai Queens. The male needed stitches, police said.

Police are looking for the two women, thought to be in their 20s or 30s, as well as a man they were with. They left the location before police arrived.

The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident, Maloney said. 

In other news from the 114th Precinct:

► Police arrested a parolee for a string of bank robberies in Queens in recent months. Robert Umland, 46, was arrested Dec. 20 and is facing charges of robbery, attempted robbery and grand larceny in connection with six incidents where he allegedly handed notes to bank tellers demanding cash, according to several criminal complaints.

Umland allegedly hit banks in Astoria, Sunnyside, Forest Hills and Auburndale between Oct. 25 and Dec. 16 — including one Chase branch in Astoria twice — making off with cash in three of the incidents totaling just over $5,000, the criminal complaints state.

He was also arraigned last week on robbery and attempted robbery charges stemming from incidents at two bank branches in Manhattan in December, according to court documents.

Umland was not armed, according to Maloney, who said the suspect was on parole for previous robbery charges from 2010. A rep for Legal Aid, which is representing Umland, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

► A 38-year-old man was shot in the leg after leaving a nightclub on Steinway Street early Monday morning, according to Maloney.

The victim was approached by two unidentified suspects around 3:55 a.m. outside 34-44 Steinway St., a few doors down from the club, Riviera, when they fired two shots, striking him in the lower right leg. The victim was treated at Elmhurst Hospital for non-life threatening injuries and released, Maloney said.

No suspects have been arrested yet, and the investigation is ongoing.

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