Cops arrest four suspects in Brooklyn Bridge Park armed robbery
Three robberies in one week
A rapid and coordinated police response following an armed robbery in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Tuesday night resulted in the quick capture of four teenage suspects. The teens had split up and bolted through Brooklyn Heights after the robbery at roughly 10 p.m.
The armed robbery was one of two that took place inside the park that same night, and both were committed by groups of teens, according to information provided by the 84th Precinct’s Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Adeel Rana, in an email to concerned community members.
“Both were with a firearm, one was attempted and the other completed,” Deputy Inspector Rana said.
Rana said that one of the 84th Precinct’s sectors “had it as a pickup and immediately notified dispatcher. Additional units responded to canvass the park.” Cops set up a perimeter “but unfortunately, it looks like [the suspects] had left the park without being noticed,” he said.
Fortunately, officers from Transit District 30 were on post at the nearby High Street train station on Cadman Plaza West.
“They were actively listening to the radios and knew what they were looking for. They observed the individuals fitting the description and immediately attempted to stop the individuals,” Rana said. “They were able to apprehend one individual who later was found to be in possession of a firearm (which after Evidence Unit processing was discovered to be a BB gun) and the victim’s stolen cellphone.”
The Transit cops also transmitted the description and direction of flight of another suspect who fled the scene. The patrol officers immediately responded and set up another perimeter, Rana said.
“With the help of witnesses, they were able to locate another perpetrator inside a parking garage. Another male was stopped by the TD30 unit trying to exit the train station. The fourth perpetrator was stopped while walking in the street by patrol officers,” he said.
Nailing one in the parking garage
At roughly 10:30 p.m., witnesses in the north Heights heard a flurry of sirens and saw numerous police cars and other emergency response vehicles encircling Cadman Plaza Park and converging at the entrance to the underground parking garage at 200 Cadman Plaza West. Police entered the garage and rapidly apprehended the suspect, cuffed him and put him into a police car.
“They nailed him and brought him right out,” a building employee told the Brooklyn Eagle at that time.
Another man said he was briefly stopped and questioned by the police as he was heading to work on Henry Street that night. Police let him walk after they realized he was a local worker, he said.
“I wanted to highly commend the officer,” Rana said. “Their actions and commitment led to the apprehension of these violent individuals and possibly put an end to future robberies and possibly solved a recent robbery. Officers such as those mentioned above are what make NYPD a great and proud organization.”
Not the first armed robbery in the park
Three armed robberies have taken place in Brooklyn Bridge Park over the course of the past week. One, which took place on Saturday, June 4, at roughly 7:50 p.m., was recorded by several persons who were part of a large group of teens. At least one of the teens posted a video of the robbery on Instagram.
According to an NYPD spokesperson, in this incident a 14-year-old male victim “was approached by a group of unknown individuals. The individuals pushed the victim to the ground, punched him in the face, put a firearm to his head, and forcibly removed the victim’s cellphone, sneakers, hat, debit card, and ID cards.” The victim refused medical attention.
Police are investigating the suspects who were apprehended in the Tuesday robbery as possibly the same perpetrators as those who carried out the Saturday robbery, Rana said.
Huge teen groups in park linked to ‘wilding’ incidents
Over the past two Saturdays and on Memorial Day, police closed down Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park “due to large fights and disorderly crowds throwing bottles and other items at the park officers and the police,” Rana said. “The groups of teenagers were in [the] size of 400-500. Some of the groups then were seen harassing vendors and other shop owners in the surrounding area,” he added.
One business owner in the north Heights spoke to the Eagle on the condition that he was not named because he feared for his safety and the safety of his employees. He said that his night time employee told him a crowd of 30-50 youth crowded inside his store on Saturday and began stealing items and trashing the store.
“They stole, they threw everything,” he said. “We’re not safe anymore. It’s happening every day. The same is happening on Montague Street and in DUMBO. Everybody’s heard about it.” He added, “We’re a family business; we’ve been here since the 70s. Kids come here and their families come here.”
Djana, a cleaning ambassador for the Montague Street BID, told the Eagle that teens running away from police bumped into her as she was doing her job on the sidewalk. Djana does weeding, painting lamp posts and cleaning on the street, she said.
“I don’t know why it’s going on, I just want it to stop,” she said.
Not a new problem
Before COVID-19, Brooklyn Bridge Park had become a magnet for large crowds of youth in the summer, a phenomenon amplified by social media.
In early April 2017, an extremely large, disorderly crowd at Pier 2 prompted police to call a Level 1 Mobilization and evacuate sections of the park.
A previous evacuation had taken place on May 11, 2016. According to an unverified report from a park goer on social media, a fight had taken place involving “bats canes bottles knifes grips it was like world war park.”
On April 15, 2016, police arrested two men following the outbreak of gunfire. The shots scattered crowds enjoying the basketball courts and other exercise facilities.
One person was assaulted on Pier 2 on April 25, 2016, and two days later police again closed down Pier 2, citing large crowds, violent incidents and death threats on social media.
After these incidents, park officials said they were taking a series of steps to remedy the situation, including monitoring Pier 2 for capacity by additional staff members, and controlling access points to the pier. Additional patrols by the 84th Precinct and the Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) were also put in place.
On Thursday, park spokesperson Sarah Krauss told the Eagle they have taken steps to prevent similar violence.
“Public safety is our number one priority at Brooklyn Bridge Park. We are working closely with the 84th Precinct and our dedicated Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) Team and have 22 PEP officers on duty operating seven days a week, three shifts per day,” she said.
Deputy Inspector Rana also said that the 84th Precinct has increased patrols in the park.
“The good news is that we have beefed up our patrol in and around the park. We will have a total of two Supervisors and 24 Officers dedicated for the park. In addition, we will have extra patrol officers in cars in the surrounding area to cover the local streets,” he said.
“The park is still a safe place to be in and our officers will ensure that it remains that way,” he added. “When comparing incidents from previous year to date, we are down 68 percent. Ten incidents in 2022 vs 31 incidents in 2021. We are working closely with Brooklyn Bridge Park personnel and have a great working relationship.”
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