Chanan Aulov, the man accused of robbing three taxi drivers, was apprehended last week thanks to a special NYPD strategy adopted by the 112th Precinct.
“I hate to say it, but sometimes crime has to happen to catch people, but this is a textbook definition of how the Police Department reacts to things,” Commanding Officer Thomas Conforti said at the 112th Precinct Community Council meeting last Thursday. “We like to prevent crime but when we can’t do that, we analyze and deploy into our areas, and this is proof positive of that.”
Conforti said that on May 3, Aulov, from Forest Hills, hailed a cab near the intersection of 62nd Drive and Yellowstone Boulevard and asked the driver to take him to Manhattan.
It was around 108th Street and Horace Harding Boulevard that Aulov allegedly pulled out a syringe filled with red liquid in it and demanded that the driver give him money.
“Give me all of your money or I’m going to inject you with this syringe and I have the AIDS virus,” he allegedly said.
The driver gave up the money and Aulov fled the scene.
“Then, 25 minutes later near Junction and Queens Boulevard, the individual hailed another cab,” Conforti said. “He produced the syringe again and subsequently robbed that driver and got away.”
It was then that Conforti and Special Operations Lieutenant Ryan Goldberg deployed officers all over the Forest Hills area.
“When we see something like this, something so brazen, we know he’s going to hit again,” Conforti said. “So for an entire week we had a special deployment of officers in the entire area.”
Conforti said he had patrol cars, officers on foot, plainclothes officers and even officers posing as taxi drivers on the lookout for Aulov.
Then, on May 11, Aulov allegedly held up another driver but that time, the driver called 911. Shortly after, Sgt. Frank Dichristina and officers Daniel Soll and David Castro recognized the individual and saw him go into a building at 105-10 62nd Road. The officers followed him up to the fifth floor where they arrested him for the three crimes.
For the first incident, Aulov was charged with first-degree robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and an illegal substance, and criminal trespassing.
For the second and third incidents, he was charged with attempted and first-degree robbery, respectively.
Conforti added that Aulov has a history of using illegal substances but would not elaborate on what those substances are.
In honor of their quick thinking, the three officers were named Cops of the Month at the community council meeting.
“I cannot stress enough the outstanding job these guys did,” Conforti said before the awards were presented. “But I would also like to recognize Ryan Goldberg with Special Ops. When we get up in the ranks, we don’t get the awards, but he was instrumental in catching this individual.”
Conforti also confirmed that the blood in the syringe was tested for HIV and AIDS and both tests came back negative. Aulov is being held on bail set at $75,000.