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Car Thief May Be the Bear Hug Mugger, Police Say

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | March 14, 2014 7:29am
Suspect in Queens Robbery Pattern
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QUEENS — A man arrested for stealing two cars in Queens is now being investigated in connection with several bear hug robberies last month in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, police said.

The robberies occurred between Feb. 11 and Feb. 19, police said. Three women were attacked in separate incidents as they were walking down the street at night. The man put them in bear hugs, threatened to cut them and robbed them.

After the NYPD released a video of the suspect on Feb. 20, police officers who had arrested the man for the car thefts recognized him, said Lt. Brian Goldberg of the 112th Precinct at a Queens Community Board 6 meeting Wednesday night.

As of Thursday morning, the suspect, whose name has not been released, had not been charged with the bear hug robberies, authorities said.

The suspect, police officials said, allegedly stole two cars in separate incidents.

The first took place on Feb. 6, police said. The suspect allegedly stole a 1994 Acura after its owner went to a Chinese restaurant on Cross Bay Boulevard in Ozone Park, according to the criminal complaint.

The car was later spotted on Feb. 20 in front of a hotel on South Conduit Avenue in Jamaica.

The suspect has also been charged with another incident that occurred on Feb. 19 at a Getty gas station on Rockaway Boulevard in Woodhaven, police said.

The suspect jumped into a 2000 Mercury when the driver went to pay for gas, according to the criminal complaint. The driver’s wife, who was standing outside of the vehicle, then jumped into the car through the passenger side door.

Her husband also tried to get into the car through the driver's side. After being dragged, he was eventually thrown off of the car, according to the criminal complaint. 

After driving for a couple of blocks, the suspect stopped the car, reached into his jacket pocket and allegedly said to the woman, “Get out of the car or I’ll shoot you.”

The woman got out and the suspect drove away.

According to the criminal complaints, the man has been charged with assault, robbery, reckless endangerment, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and unauthorized use of a vehicle. 

Police said that they are continuing to investigate the man in connection to the bear hug robberies.