QUEENS — Thanks to quick-acting officers and a special strategy adopted by the 112th Precinct, cops were able to arrest a Forest Hills man accused of robbing cabdrivers and threatening them with what he said was an HIV-tainted syringe, police said.
As part of the police strategy, a number of officers were deployed to the area where the incidents took place. The officers were patrolling the area both on foot as well as driving cabs.
The man they were looking for attacked two cab drivers on May 3 — one yellow cab driver and one livery cab driver — threatened them with a syringe and robbed them.
In one instance, he hailed a cab near 62nd Road and 102nd Street and then, while holding a syringe with red liquid inside, he told the driver: “I have AIDS, I need money. I have a syringe with AIDS blood in it, give me your money, or I’ll push the AIDS blood into you,” according to the criminal complaint.
“It was a very heinous crime,” said Capt. Thomas Conforti, commanding officer of the 112 Precinct, which covers Forest Hills and Rego Park, at a community council meeting Wednesday night.
“Based on our experience, somebody that does something like that, so brazen and so right off the bat, we know he's gonna hit again… But this time we have to be prepared for it,” said Conforti.
On Saturday, May 11, the suspect struck again, attacking another yellow cab driver.
The driver — after giving the suspect $45 — called 911 right away, according to Conforti, who said at that time he had officers in the general area where the man had previously fled to, including Sgt. Frank Dichristina and Officers Daniel Soll and David Castro.
“Those officers recognized the individual and saw him walking into a building,” said Conforti. “They went inside the building and they stopped him on the sixth floor and apprehended him.”
The officers arrested Chanan Aulov, 31, less than 15 minutes after the robbery, Conforti said.
Aulov, who himself worked as a driver for a car service, was charged with robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
His mother told DNAinfo that her son has problems with drugs.
At the community council meeting Wednesday, Conforti awarded the three cops with the “Cop of the Month” award.
“I can’t stress the outstanding job that they did,” he said.
Conforti also said that numerous syringes were found in Aulov’s pockets at the time of the arrest. The blood in the syringe was tested for HIV and the results were negative, Conforti said.
Aulov, who police said has been arrested at least half a dozen times dating back to 2003, was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail and was due back in court on May 23.