Friday, January 29, 2010

Robbery Pattern has Queens Cops on Alert by Stephen Geffon - Queens Chronicle

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What appears to be a pattern of robberies involving livery and yellow cabs in South Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park has police keeping an eye out for at least two perpetrators.

Photo caption: The above suspect is wanted by the NYPD in connection with the robbery of four livery cab drivers. PHOTO COURTESY NYPD

The latest such incident occurred on Jan. 6 at 5:30 a.m. at 134th Street and Van Siclen Avenue, where a medallion taxi driver was robbed of cash by two black males. Deputy Inspector Joseph Courtesis, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, said that five minutes later in the same area a second taxicab driver was also robbed.

“These guys are kind of dangerous. They’re violent,” Courtesis said.

Courtesis told members of the 106th Precinct Community Council at their meeting last week that police are starting to develop a pattern in connection with the taxi robberies and will deploy resources to the relevant locations. The perpetrators appear to be driving around and looking for taxicabs or livery cars that have pulled over in the middle of the block waiting for a call, then walking over and attempting to steal the car, Courtesis said.

He added that police have three cases in which livery cars have been stolen in such a manner and one case in which the culprits attempted to steal a cab.

According to police, the livery car thefts occurred on Dec. 22 at 4 p.m. at 120th Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway in South Ozone Park; Dec. 31 at 1:30 p.m. in front of 116-28 128th St., South Ozone Park; Jan.1 at 8 p.m. in front of 104-75 128th St. in South Richmond Hill; and at 9 p.m. on the same day at 109th Avenue and 134th Street in South Ozone Park.

In a second emerging pattern, the suspects allegedly robbed two cab drivers, Courtesis said. Police have only a partial description of the suspects’ getaway car, which is reported to be silver. Witnesses were unable to give police the license plate number.

The crimes are being investigated in coordination with the 113th Precinct in Jamaica, which has a similar pattern. The case has been referred to the Queens Borough Robbery Squad for investigation.

Courtesis said he is going around to all the taxi stands in his precinct, alerting the drivers to the robberies and asking them to report to police any suspicious individuals that they see.

In the bordering 103rd Precinct detectives are looking for suspects wanted in connection with the robbery of four livery car drivers. On Dec. 27 at 1:48 a.m. a driver was held up by two males with a stun gun in front of 177-18 106th Ave. in Jamaica. Four days later, a second driver was robbed at the same location by a black male in his 30s with a knife who fled with his money. On Jan. 3 at 10 p.m. a cab driver was held up at knife-point by a black man in his 20s in front of 177-20 106th Ave. The suspect in that robbery was caught by a surveillance camera inside the cab. On Jan. 4 at 11 p.m. a black man in his 20s attempted to rob a cab driver with a knife. The driver was able to get away from the perpetrator.

Anyone with information in regards to the crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-(800) 577-TIPS (8477) or text information to 274637 (CRIMES), followed by TIP577.