A 19-year-old Ozone Park man trying to get his car out of the snow after last Friday’s storm was offered help by another teenager, who police say then carjacked and robbed him after asking for a ride. Police then chased the suspect through a Brooklyn neighborhood after he allegedly ditched the car when it got stuck in the snow while fleeing the scene.
Police were called to the scene of the robbery at the corner of 75th Street and Pitkin Avenue on the Queens-Brooklyn border at around 3:32 p.m. on Friday.
They discovered the victim had been shoveling to free his green 2001 Honda Civic from the snow on 75th Street in Ozone Park, when Gerardo Placenia, 18, offered to help push the car out of the snow while the victim was in the driver’s seat accelerating.
As soon as they freed the vehicle from the snow, the suspect asked the victim for a ride to 75th Street and Pitkin Avenue, a short distance away. Upon arrival to the location, the suspect demanded the victim’s property at gunpoint. The victim handed over his iPhone5 and $60 and the suspect fled the location with the car.
Cops from both Brooklyn and Queens canvassed for the suspect in both boroughs. The stolen vehicle was discovered a short time later abandoned at Logan and Atlantic avenues in the Cypress Hills section of Brooklyn, about a mile away from the scene of the robbery. The car had apparently gotten stuck in the snow at that location.
Cops believe Placenia traveled along North Conduit and Atlantic avenues from the scene of the crime deeper into Brooklyn to escape, possibly toward his home a few miles away in the borough’s Brownsville neighborhood.
Police later obtained surveillance video footage in the vicinity of where the suspect fled from the vehicle and observed him running on Logan Avenue towards Dinsmore Place, one block north of where he had allegedly abandoned the car.
While tracing the route, officers discovered the weapon they believe was used in the robbery — a black 9 mm High Point gun — tossed aside at the corner of Dinsmore Place and Logan Street.
As officers continued to canvass, a witness informed them that a male had run into an auto body shop at 250 Richmond St., less than a block from where the gun was found. There, Placenia allegedly discarded his black jacket and fled wearing a red hooded sweatshirt with white cow-printed sleeves.
Police later saw a Hispanic man inside a laundromat located at 204 Chestnut Street — one block away from the auto body shop — fitting the description of Placenia. He fled through the rear of the location, leaving his shoes behind when police entered. Brooklyn cops then joined the search and discovered the suspect two blocks away, in the basement of 115 Logan Street with most of his clothes off.
The suspect was later positively identified by the victim and the suspect’s clothing, including the red hooded sweatshirt, was discovered in a garbage bag along with the victim’s cell phone.
The suspect was removed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for treatment related to the cold weather conditions. He was later arrested on charges including first-degree robbery, two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, four counts of criminal possession of stolen property and one count of resisting arrest.