UPPER WEST SIDE — Police arrested a 13-year-old boy who acted as the ringleader for a group of teens who punched, choked and robbed victims — one as young as 11 — during a two-week neighborhood crime spree, the NYPD said.
The boy, who lives in the neighborhood, was arrested last Friday and charged with robbery, police said. No similar attacks have occurred since he was caught, police added.
The teen, whose name was not released by police, was seen on camera assaulting a victim and grabbing his property while accomplices stood guard, police said.
He is believed to be the youngest member of a group of at least five other teens between 13 and 17 years old who were involved in seven separate incidents across the 24th Precinct from Jan. 22 to Feb. 7, said Capt. Timothy Malin.
Malin did not provide specifics regarding two of the incidents, but said that in at least one case the victim was as young as 11.
In the first incident on Jan. 22, the group approached a 15-year-old boy and put him in a chokehold before stealing his iPhone on West 107th Street near Columbus Avenue about 4 p.m., police said.
Five days later, they stole an iPhone and an unknown amount of cash from a 13-year-old boy after punching him in the face on Columbus Avenue near West 92nd Street, police said.
In their next attack, the teens grabbed the neck of a 13-year-old boy and demanded his phone on Feb. 4 about 7:15 a.m. near West 93rd Street and Columbus Avenue, police said. However, their target resisted and the group ran off empty-handed.
Then, on Feb. 6 about 3:30 p.m., they approached a 13-year-old boy on West 93rd Street near Amsterdam Avenue and demanded he give them what was in his pockets, police said. When the boy ignored them, they punched him and ran away empty-handed, police added.
The next day, the teens started stealing candy from a newsstand at Broadway and West 93rd Street about 7 p.m., police said. When the newsstand worker noticed what they were doing and approached the teens, they pushed him and ran away, Malin said.
The clerk refused medical attention, and police could not say whether any of the other victims required medical assistance. Police noted their injuries were not serious.
Detectives are working with the arrested teen to identify the other suspects, Malin added.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).