He rides the streets of Woodhaven and Ozone Park on his bicycle, looking for opportunities to strike. Our new captain at the 102nd Precinct, Henry “Hank” Sautner, describes the attacks as “disturbing.”
He preys on middle-aged and elderly women, typically attacking them from behind. He rides up quickly and forcibly removes their purses and cell phones. These are more than simple snatch-and-grab robberies. He’s young and strong and the attacks can be violent.
Be cautious and aware of your surroundings. The attacks do not always take place while you are walking on the sidewalk. Be particularly aware of who is around you as you step between cars to cross the street or as you walk into the street to enter an automobile on the passenger side.
According to witnesses he’s young, in his late teens or possibly early 20s. He’s been described as black or Hispanic, riding a mountain bike. That’s a vague description and the quality of the picture of him that’s been released isn’t very illuminating.
But the idea of a suspect photo like this isn’t that you look at it and, later on, while walking the street you see someone who matches the picture. Instead, the hope is that this coward is already known to one of our readers, or to someone passing by one of the shops on Jamaica Avenue that has the poster displayed in their window.
The hope is that this coward lives on someone’s block. Perhaps he is already known to be trouble. The hope is that someone will look at this picture and say “Oh my God, that’s so-and-so.”
Maybe it will be a neighbor who recognizes him. Maybe one of the young adults he goes to school with will recognize him on his bike. If they think that all he’s doing is stealing some items, maybe they believe that they can justify keeping their mouths shut.
But that’s not all that he’s doing. He has hurt people; he has hurt women. He’s hurt them badly and if he isn’t stopped soon he’s going to end up hurting someone so badly that he ends up in prison for the rest of his life. If you’re his friend, if you’re a relative, do him and everyone else a favor: turn him in. Only then will he get the help that he needs.
You can turn him in anonymously by calling the NYPD Crimestoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. You can also submit an Internet tip by visiting nypdcrimestoppers.com. All information will be strictly confidential. You would also be eligible for a $2,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Not that you’d be turning him in for the money, but if that helps tip the scales in favor of making the call, so be it.
The issue of crime in our streets remains a top concern of the residents of Woodhaven and we appreciate all of the hard work the officers of the 102nd Precinct do to keep us safe from criminals like this.
And the residents of Woodhaven are committed to helping the 102nd Precinct with that task by seeking out involvement with the NYPD’s Block Watcher Program. Over 50 residents have signed up so far, and we expect to have an announcement on the next step very soon.
For those who are interested in hearing more about Block Watchers, or who just want to be more involved in our community, reach out to the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association at (718) 296-3735 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.