Police Blotter, Week of April 24, 2014

Gang beats and robs stranger on a train
It could’ve been you, your friends or anyone who doesn’t think twice about riding the subway late at night, or in the wee hours of the morning.

But early Sunday morning, April 20, it was one unsuspecting man who faced the urban nightmare of being surrounded by 12 thugs on a quiet train car, and then pummeled and robbed with no one there to stop it, according to police..

The victim, 29, told cops he boarded the southbound 1 train at Christopher St. around 1:30 a.m., along with the dozen men who at first seemed to present no danger. But after the train had passed the next couple of stops and was on its way to Franklin St. in Tribeca, the attack began.

All 12 of the men suddenly surrounded the defenseless victim and began repeatedly punching him all over his body, and then snatched away his wallet while he was down, police said. The assault continued until the Franklin St. stop, when the vicious group reportedly got off the train, leaving the beaten man alone on the train.

Minutes later, the victim —  who suffered minor injuries but refused medical attention — got off at Chambers St., and immediately called police to report the nightmarish incident. Officers responded to the scene and hunted for the suspects along both Franklin and Canal Sts., but initially came up empty.

But then, cops decided to check out the suspects’ point of origin, around the Christopher St. station — and that’s where they spotted five of the 12 alleged criminals, apparently hanging around and waiting for their next mark. With the victim providing a positive identification at the scene, police arrested five suspects between 18 and 23 years old, although they didn’t recover the wallet.

All five men were charged with second degree robbery.

The seven other suspects are still at large, police said.

Police are searching for this individual who allegedly assaulted and robbed a man on the Lower East Side

Police are searching for this individual who allegedly assaulted and robbed a man on the Lower East Side

L.E.S. senior beaten and robbed
Police are also searching for an unidentified man who allegedly beat up and robbed a senior citizen inside his Lower East Side apartment building April 15, leaving the elderly man hospitalized.

The suspect, shown at right in video surveillance footage, reportedly followed the 65-year-old man into the building at Madison and Pike Sts. around 6:20 p.m., and menacingly cornered him in the fourth-floor stairwell. Police say after the robber demanded money, he punched the senior, causing him to fall down the stairs and suffer a fractured knee, for which he was later treated at NY Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital (formerly Downtown Hospital).

When the elderly man was down, the suspect reportedly swiped his wallet — containing $1,600 in cash and multiple credit cards — and fled the scene. Cops described the suspect as a black male in his 30s, approximately 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, last seen wearing red sweatpants, a red hooded sweatshirt, a black jacket and a red baseball cap.

Knifepoint robbery
A young man was robbed at knifepoint in the Financial District on April 16, police said.

The victim, 18, told cops he was walking north on Cliff St., between John and Fulton Sts., around 8:30 p.m. when he was approached from behind and surrounded by three men wearing ski masks. Two of them then pulled out knives and demanded the man’s cash, after which he complied and handed over $169 out of his wallet, police said.

The masked muggers then fled south on Cliff St. and turned east on John St., according to the victim.  Initial searches for the suspects have been unsuccessful, but the investigation is ongoing, police said.

Bank robbery
An unidentified man claiming to have a gun robbed a Tribeca bank on April 19, police said.

A female teller at the Capital One bank, at 96 W. Broadway, told cops that the man walked in around 1:30 pm. and passed her a note stating, “I have a [freaking] gun give me $3,000.” The teller, in fear, took out the cash and handed it over, after which the suspect fled out the door and dashed into the nearby Chambers St. subway station, police said.

Initial searches for the suspect have been unsuccessful, but the investigation is ongoing, police said.

Phone snatcher
A fleet-footed thief targeted a young man from Boston on April 21 near a busy Canal St. intersection, police said.

The victim, 19, told cops he was lost while walking along Greene St., just below Canal, around 2:45 p.m., and was looking up directions on his iPhone. While the out-of-towner was focused on the screen, the unknown thief snuck up from behind, snatched the phone right out of his hands and took off running, police said. The victim told cops he chased after the suspect, but soon lost him amid the crowds of Canal St. — and now, police are continuing their own search.

Coincidentally, the crime occurred the day of the Boston Marathon, one year after terrorists killed runners and spectators at the race.

—Sam Spokony

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