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Greenpoint Spike in Robberies Linked to Crew Activity From Queens: Police

By Gwynne Hogan | September 26, 2016 6:17pm
 There were seven robberies in the usually tranquil precinct last week.
There were seven robberies in the usually tranquil precinct last week.
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GREENPOINT — A normally tranquil North Brooklyn neighborhood saw a spike in robberies last week, confirming fears from residents about an increase in violent crime in the area.

There were seven robberies in the 94th Precinct between Sept. 19 and Sept. 25, five times as many as an average week last year, or so far this year. 

Police believe the crime increase is linked to robbery crews coming into the area from Queens.

"A huge amount of our robberies are committed by people who come from other precincts," 94th Precinct Inspector Pete Rose said.

His officers are working with Bushwick's 83rd Precinct, which has also seen a recent surge in robberies thought to be committed by people coming into the area from Ridgewood, Queens, with links to the "Cashing Out" crew.

Two 17-year-olds, who are believed to have connections to the Ridgewood crew, were arrested for back-to-back robberies late Wednesday night into Thursday morning in the 94th Precinct, police said.

The pair took a cab from Manhattan into Williamsburg, robbed the taxi driver at gunpoint near the intersection of Kent Ave and North Fifth Street, prosecutors and police said.

Then a few blocks away, one of the teens was charged with robbing a 27-year-old man at the intersection of North Sixth and Metropolitan Avenue, telling the man he'd shoot him if he moved, prosecutors said. The robber took the man's credit cards, MacBook Pro, sunglasses and MetroCard, prosecutors said.

The teens then took a cab to Bushwick where they robbed another person and were later arrested, Rose said, though prosecutors haven't charged them with that incident. 

“They were on a crime spree,” Rose said.

Their lawyers couldn't be reached immediately. 

The 94th Precinct that includes part of Williamsburg and all of Greenpoint, north of Metropolitan Avenue, usually sees just one or two robberies a week, according to police statistics, compared with the seven last week.

No one else has been arrested for the remaining robberies, four of which took place in the early morning hours on Sunday and are also being investigated for possible connections to the Cashing Out crew, Rose said.

Here's some details on the locations and times of the other robberies last week. Four for them occurred in the early morning hours on Sept. 25.

►Sept 19, 7:00 a.m. Woodpoint Road near Skillman Avenue  —  A man came up behind a 57-year-old woman and grabbed her purse causing her to fall to the ground causing minor scrapes to her legs. 

►Sept 25, 3:00 a.m. Jackson Street and Meeker Ave — Four men approached the 26-year-old victim from behind, slammed him to the ground and took his bag, iPhone, camera, books and a skateboard. 

►Sept. 25, 4:15 a.m. Jewel Street near Meserole Avenue — A 34-year-old man was approached by three men who hit him in the face with an unknown object and stole his iPhone, wallet and $300 cash. 

►Sept. 25, 4:30 a.m. Leonard Street at Driggs Avenue — Two suspects pulled a knife on a 33-year-old man and demanded money. One of the perpetrators had a skateboard and a southern accent. They took the man's iPhone and credit card. 

►Sept. 25 4:30 a.m., Meserole Avenue and Diamond Street — Two men snuck up on a 32-year-old male victim from behind and then punched him in the face and went through his pockets, taking his phone, wallet and credit cards.

The bump in robberies comes a few days after a crowd of concerned Greenpoint residents called a meeting to address recent violent incidents in the neighborhood, including one assault that was rumored to be a rape on social media, though police maintain that they still have no report of rape.

The recent robbery surge follows a murder on by the waterfront on Sept. 6, the first murder so far this year in the precinct. The violent incidents lead the local state assemblyman to write a letter to Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill asking for an increased police presence in the area. 

"Police staffing levels have not kept on pace with the increases in visitors and residents to these communities," wrote Assemblyman Joe Lentol in a letter from Sept. 22. "I urge you to provide more police officers and resources to these precincts."

Despite last week's spike in robberies, crime in general was still down 6 percent from the same time last year.