C.O. Capt. Ryan Pierce provides update on Vannie Park muggings


During a recent Community Board 8 Parks & Recreation Committee meeting new 50th Precinct Commanding Officer Ryan Pierce provided a window into how the precinct is tackling recent robbery patterns at Van Cortlandt Park.

“We’ve had two different robbery patterns going since basically November,” he said. “The 45th Precinct actually caught the guy from the first one. We haven’t taken a hit on that since like November though. Then we took another five-pattern hit from like December to January. The last hit on that was Jan. 3. So we haven’t actually had a robbery in the park since Jan. 3.”

He says for the most recent robberies the suspect is believed to be a Hispanic male on a moped who brandishes a screwdriver and targets single joggers and usually women who are older.

Pierce said he doesn’t believe the recent pattern to be sudden. He said that from about March 2023 until the end of the year there were almost 20 robberies in the park.

“It’s almost always the same thing,” Pierce said. “It’s a moped in the park because there’s a lot of mopeds cutting through the park and we’ve done like four or five joint ops with parks and with the (47th Precinct). We’ve taken like 40 of them out of the park, confiscated them. There’s almost always mopeds in the park and when you stop these guys nine out of 10, it’s a delivery guy cutting from Yonkers to the Bronx or vice versa through the park.”

The most recent robberies have happened between about noon to 6 p.m. The 50th Precinct has coordinated in joint ops with the 47th Precinct, Westchester and Yonkers and more recently the 34th and 49th Precinct.

Pierce says that anyone who walks into the park by the Golf House will see a light tower. The borough also lent the precinct two smart cars that the NCOs have been manning. Drones have also been used to figure out where they want to map out where to place cameras.

— Eric Harvey

Kingsbridge food market robbed

Police received a report for a robbery at a Kingsbridge food market on Nov. 24, 2023.  Habibi Food Market, located at 237 West 238th St., was where that theft occurred, police said.

A 29-year-old man told police that around 10:50 p.m. an unknown man entered the establishment, approaching the cash register. He proceeded to put his hand in his backpack, simulating having a firearm and threatened the victim.

The unknown man then removed $200 in cash from the register and fled southbound on Broadway while on foot.

No injuries were reported as a result of the robbery. The 50th Precinct is investigating the incident.

— Eric Harvey

Police searching for robber who beat victim

The New York City Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying a man wanted in connection to a robbery and assault in Jerome Park on Jan. 1.

A 32-year-old man reported to police that around 3:15 a.m. he was walking into an apartment at 2724 University Ave. when a man with a knife approached and struck him in the head with a wooden stick. The man stole the victim’s cell phone and about $35, police said, then fled the location. The victim refused medical attention at the scene, police said.

The image police shared depicts a man with dark skin, a gray hood concealing his face, a black jacket, tattered jeans and blue shoes.

Anyone with information to the incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1 (800) 577-8477 or for Spanish, (888) 577-4782.  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

— Eric Harvey

robbery, Ryan Pierce, muggings, Van Cortlandt Park, food market, Habibi Food Market, beating, NYPD, 50th Precinct