As if an attempted murder and a rash of burglars breaking into homes through fire escapes weren’t enough for Central Queens residents, a robber has begun targeting women walking around late at night.
According to police, three women have been robbed of their purses in Kew Gardens and Forest Hills over the last two weeks, with two of the victims being held up at knifepoint.
The first incident occurred at 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 11 at the intersection of Lefferts Boulevard and Metropolitan Avenue in Kew Gardens.
According to authorities, the suspect pushed the woman against a fence, displayed a box cutter and stole her purse before escaping on foot.
A second robbery occurred at 11:45 p.m. at the intersection of Continental Avenue and Dartmouth Street in Forest Hills on Feb. 12. The suspect exited a dark-colored, four-door sedan and bear-hugged the female victim, removed her purse and threatened to slash her, even though no knife was displayed. The suspect escaped in the same vehicle he had exited minutes before.
The latest incident happened at 1:45 a.m. on Feb. 19 as the victim walked past 71-25 Austin St. in Forest Hills. Much like the previous robbery, the suspect bear-hugged the victim and stole her purse at knifepoint before escaping in a dark-colored vehicle.
Luckily, none of the victims were injured during the robberies.
According to police, the three incidents are the only reported crimes concerning the new robbery pattern and only the purses and their contents were taken.
A Feb. 22 post on the 112th Precinct Community Council’s Facebook page mentions that a suspect has been arrested while another media report notes a man has been questioned for the crimes, but police say no arrest has been made at this time.
“There has not yet been an arrest related to this pattern,” NYPD spokesman Det. James Duffy said Tuesday.
This recent string of robberies not withstanding, Central Queens has seen a rise in theft-related crime in 2014 when compared to this time last year.
Through Feb. 16, burglary was up, ironically, 112 percent in the 112th Precinct, with 34 such crimes reported compared to 16 in 2013.
Additionally, grand larceny and robbery have jumped 15 percent and 33 percent, respectively.