GRAMERCY — Robberies and assaults are on the rise in the 13th Precinct, after a recent crime spike that included a double shooting near Madison Square Park and an unsolved robbery pattern, police said.
There were 21 felony assaults in the 13th Precinct — which covers Stuyvesant Town, Gramercy and part of Chelsea — from the beginning of this year to Feb. 16, compared to 15 during the same period last year, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, the precinct's commanding officer, said at a precinct community council meeting last week.
Robberies were up as well, with 14 during the same period, compared to eight last year, Ehrenberg said.
The assaults were mostly arguments that escalated into violence, Ehrenberg said
“They’re mostly verbal disputes that are getting out of hand,” Ehrenberg said. “There’s not much we can do when they’re verbal disputes.”
The latest crime statistics include two men who were shot outside an unmarked after-hours club on West 24th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues early on the morning of Feb. 7. The two men got into an argument with another man and left the club, promising to return later, Ehrenberg said. When they returned at about 6 a.m., the man shot them in the legs.
There had been no arrests in connection to the incident as of last week, and Ehrenberg said the victims have not cooperated with the investigation.
The increase in robberies in the 13th Precinct includes two gunpoint thefts that occurred just hours apart on Jan. 7, in which a suspect bound employees of a jewelry store and then a Starbucks using zip ties, Ehrenberg said.
The suspect started at Patty Tobin jewelry store, 108 W. 17th St. near Sixth Avenue, at about 6 p.m., waving a gun at an employee before tying her up with zip ties and taking off with undisclosed property, Ehrenberg said.
Police believe the same man then hit a Starbucks at 145 Third Ave. near 15th Street, where he showed a gun to two employees about 9:30 p.m., bound the employees' hands with zip ties and took $3,000 from the register, police said.
The robber was last seen wearing square-framed glasses and a sweatshirt with an "Ecko" logo on the front, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or submit tips by visiting WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.