QUEENS — An armed man has been preying on livery cab drivers in Queens over the past four months, calling them to bogus pickup sites on a quiet residential block and robbing them of more than $500 in cash, police said.
The suspect's first reported robbery happened at 12:43 a.m. on Oct. 12, when he called a driver to 27-44 Ericksson St. near 29th Avenue, hopped into the back seat and drew his gun, police said.
The 49-year-old man behind the wheel handed over $500, his car keys and cellphone, police said. The suspect fled without harming the driver, police said.
The suspect tried the same ruse on Jan. 8 about 12:15 a.m. near 1716 Stephen St., but the 43-year-old driver refused to cooperate, so the suspect struck him in the face and ran away empty-handed, according to the NYPD.
The driver reported minor injuries, police said.
On Jan. 21, the suspect called a car to the same East Elmhurst block about 5:30 a.m. and asked that the 43-year-old driver pop the trunk, police said.
The suspect then pulled out his gun and made off with $30 and credit cards, the police spokesman said.
On Jan. 24, the suspect was rebuffed again, after he summoned a cab to the same area on Ericsson Street and the 43-year-old driver refused to cooperate, police said. That driver was unharmed, police said.
Investigators released surveillance video of the suspect from the Jan. 21 incident. He has short dark hair and was last seen wearing a puffy coat with a hood, according to the photo released by police.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).