He reported that a suspect first struck after hailing a yellow taxi near 62nd Drive and Yellowstone Boulevard on Friday, May 3. After reportedly telling the driver to take him to Manhattan, the suspect pulled out the syringe near 108th Street and Horace Harding Boulevard.
Conforti reported that the suspect told the driver to, “give me all your money otherwise I’m going to inject you with this syringe, and I have the AIDS virus.”
“The taxi cab driver gave him some money, he complied and let him go and then he fled the location,” Conforti said.
When asked by a resident at the 112th Precinct Community Council meeting if the needle was tested for the disease, Conforti responded that, "it came back negative, but you know it’s the same thing as when someone goes into a bank with a note saying they have a bomb.”
Roughly 25 minutes later, the suspect hailed a livery cab at Junction and Queens boulevards and did the same thing, according to reports.
“When you see something like this, based on our experience, somebody that does something like that so brazen and so frequent right off the bat, we know he’s going to hit again,” he said. “This time we had to be prepared for it.”
Over the course of the next week, Conforti said the precinct sent out special deployment in the vicinity of the robberies, some of whom were undercover cab drivers.
Lo and behold, the suspect struck again that Saturday, May 10, around 3:15 p.m., according to Conforti, however this time they were prepared.
“Thank god the cab driver called 911 real fast, because not only did I have police officers driving around in the area, I had police officers on foot in the area,” he said.
Officers Dichristina, Soll and Castro were on foot at an area where they had tips the suspect had fled during the previous attacks and later made the arrest, according to reports.
“I can’t stress the outstanding job they did,” Conforti said. “This is textbook definition of how the police department reacts to things.”
The suspect is career criminal, charged on all three robberies and is currently being held on $75,000 bond, according to Conforti.