The police described the perpetrator as a 5’9” black male weighing approximately 180 lb. He was allegedly wearing a black mask, a gray hooded sweater, and a black backpack.
A representative of the police said, “There’s an open investigation. All I can say is that it is being actively investigated by the Police Department. If we find any footage, we will open it up to the public.”
The victim, a 23 year old man, was leaving his apartment for work. He says the perpetrator was waiting in the sixth floor of his apartment and crept up from behind while entering the elevator. The perpetrator demanded his possessions while threatening him with a wooden bat.
“One hand is out to reach for my phone, the other has the bat,” he recalled. “He looks at me kind of dead in the eyes, grabs all the possessions that he wants. He says, ‘Give me your (explicative) keys. Give me your (explicative) wallet.’ He really wanted my luggage and my work laptop.’”
The victim was struck by the unusual nature of the crime, which felt like an intentional and targeted act, although not necessarily targeting him.
“This is outright strange for this area and for this technique,” he said. “Usually one gets mugged when going into a building. In public domain anyone can attack you there.”
He, however, was robbed while leaving his apartment and entering the elevator on the sixth floor, a relatively private and difficult-to-access area. “The burglar put the effort into waking up really early in the morning, getting into the building, and waiting for somebody –and probably somebody in particular.”
As the perpetrator entered the building without forcing open the door, the victim said that he was likely admitted into the building by a tenant. The perpetrator did not rob the tenant, implying that he had specific target in mind.
“He had no interest in the tenant that let him in,” he said.
The victim said that the “somebody in particular” may not be him, however, as he claims to own nothing remarkably valuable. His assault and robbery, then, would be a case of mistaken identity.
Instead, he stated a theory which the police have allegedly followed, that the suspected target may be a Russian jeweler who lived next door to him.
“The police have notified the tenants on our floor of the incident and are going with the theory that the robber was likely targeting the rich Russian jeweler,” he said. The police were not able to comment when asked about possible leads for the case.
The victim has been working with officers from the 112th Precinct, but professed his skepticism over their effectiveness: “The police are a state government. There’s bureaucracy,” mentioning that he had been, “passed from detective to detective,” and that, “no one can see it through.”
He was encouraged, however, by the insight that the police gleaned from the video footage so far. Several days after the incident, posters were hung up and residents notified about not letting strangers into the building to ensure greater safety.
But he was resigned about the unlikelihood of catching the suspect. “Statistically, it’s not likely,” he said. “The best that you can do is prevention.”