Originally published Oct. 19, 2012 in the Mott Haven Herald. By Nicholas Wells and Ann Marie Awad.
Smart phone thefts
Police are asking Mott Haven residents to be extra careful about displaying their smart phones in public, especially around housing projects and subway entrances and exits, in the face of a stubborn wave of robberies targeted at the devices. Residents reported a new flurry of such robberies during the week of Oct. 8 to Oct. 14:
– A 25-year-old man was jumped for his Droid cellphone at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 13 on East 149th Street near Bergen Avenue, police said. The victim was approached by three teenaged males, one of whom punched and kicked the victim, police said. The suspect said, “Give me your phone,” then fled with the other suspects after the victim handed it over. The victim suffered cuts to his left thumb and knee.
– A 19-year-old man’s iPhone was snatched out of his hand while he was walking down the street near Brook Avenue and East 140th Street around 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 8, police said. The suspect, who police described as approximately 20 years old, approached the victim from behind, grabbed the phone and then fled down the street.
– A 21-year-old resident of the Melrose Houses was pushed to the floor in a fifth-floor stairwell by a knife-wielding suspect around 6 a.m. on Oct. 9. The suspect threatened the victim with a black kitchen knife and stole his cellphone, a Samsung Galaxy, police said. The victim was taken to Lincoln Hospital to be treated for undisclosed injuries.
– A 14-year-old male was robbed of a Samsung Gaxlaxy on his way to a bus stop near Westchester Avenue and Prospect Avenue around 4 p.m. on Sept. 24, police said. He was approached by two suspects, one of whom flashed a gun, police said. The victim handed over his cellphone and the suspects fled with it. Police say they are unsure why the victim waited to report the robbery.
A 16-year-old boy was hospitalized after he was shot multiple times around 1 p.m. on Oct. 14 in the Betances Houses courtyard at 400 Brook Ave., according to police. Police arrested Christopher Daniels, 32, of the Abraham Lincoln Houses in East Harlem, and charged him with attempted murder, according to the district attorney’s office. The victim was taken to Lincoln Hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds, a broken femur and bleeding, police said. No further information was available on his condition or a motive for the shooting.
Police arrested two men on robbery, assault and harassment charges after they mugged a 44-year-old man riding his bicycle near the corner of Cypress Avenue and East 133rd Street on Oct. 10 around 4:30 p.m., authorities said. Naysean Chavis, 20, and Donald Ciru, 16, both of Mott Haven, allegedly pulled the victim’s bike out from under him and punched him in the head. Ciru kicked him in his stomach, knocked him to the ground and put him in a headlock so Chavis could hit him over the head with a metal golf club, according to police and court records. Chavis and Ciru then allegedly went through the victim’s pockets, taking his wallet and $85, as well as his bike, the records show. When the victim tried to call the police, Chavis and Ciru allegedly took his phone too, authorities said. Chavis and Ciru were held in lieu of a $5,000 bond after they pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on Oct. 11, according to the Bronx district attorney’s office.
Arrest in Knife Assault
A 45-year-old man suffered multiple knife wounds near the Mott Haven Houses after a verbal altercation turned ugly around 5 p.m. on Oct. 13, police said. Shawn Elliott, 41, of Mott Haven, was arrested and charged with third-degree assault after allegedly slashing the victim multiple times on his forearm and stomach, according to police and the Bronx DA. The victim told police that Elliott hid the knife in the sleeve of his shirt, police said. The victim was taken to Lincoln Hospital to be treated for his injuries. Elliott pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Oct. 14 and was released on his own recognizance, according to the DA’s office.
An 18-year-old hearing-impaired man was attacked about 4 p.m. on an uptown 6 train on Oct. 10, police said. The victim boarded the train at 23rd Street in Manhattan and rode to 125th Street, where a group of approximately five men boarded the train. Police said the suspects tried to engage the victim in conversation, then grabbed him and threw him to the floor when he did not respond. The suspects kicked and punched the victim, stole his earphones and $10 from his pockets, and got off the train at 138th Street and Third Avenue, police said. No arrests have been made.
A 14-year-old male was mugged on East 149th Street on Oct. 10, police said. The victim was walking to McDonald’s when he was approached by two suspects. The suspects did not display a weapon, but one reportedly told the victim, “I’ll cut you if you don’t give me your money,” according to police. The victim handed over $23 and the suspects fled, police said.
Stray Bullet Injuries
A 26-year-old man told police he heard multiple gunshots as he crossed East 141st Street by the Mott Haven Houses about 1 p.m. on Oct. 8, police said. When he reached East 138th Street, he realized he had been grazed by three bullets in the stomach and hip. The victim made his way to Mount Sinai Hospital to be treated for his injuries and reported the incident to police around 11 p.m.
–A Ford Econoline van belonging to a construction company was stolen from the parking lot of the McDonald’s at 85 Bruckner Blvd. around 5 a.m. on Oct. 14, police said. It was parked in the lot around 5:30 p.m. the previous day, but when the driver returned around 6:30 a.m., the van was gone. Police said a nearby security camera showed a man enter the van and drive off, but it was unclear how he got into the van. The vehicle has not been recovered, police said.
–A 2012 Nissan Maxima was stolen from the parking lot at the New York Post printing plant on East 132nd St. at about 5 a.m. on Oct. 8, police said. The vehicle was found half a mile away at East 132nd Street and Brown Place sometime later. It was unclear what condition the car was in when it was recovered.
Someone broke into a home on Elton Avenue and stole approximately $1600 worth of electronic equipment and appliances while the owner was away on vacation between Oct. 5 and Oct. 12, police said. The victim found the backdoor broken in and two televisions, a microwave, and part of a stereo system missing, police said.
Credit Card Scam
Police received a report from a 30-year-old woman saying that on Sept. 27 she received a letter notifying her that someone had opened a Discover credit card in her name. According to the victim, $827 had been charged to the card.