The New York City Police Department has spent the past month or so searching for a pair of individuals riding on a dark-colored moped and mugging parkgoers at Van Cortlandt Park for their cell phones.
The only lead they may have is surveillance camera footage that shows two individuals in the park that might be connected to the string of robberies across three precincts.
The two suspects are described as males with dark skin complexion, last seen wearing all black and riding a dark-colored moped. Police say five out of the eight robberies took place in the confines of the 50th Precinct.
The first incident, which was previously reported in The Riverdale Press, occurred on Dec. 19 in the vicinity of Van Cortlandt Park West and Dickinson Avenue. A 67-year-old woman told police that around 2:30 p.m. she was approached by two unknown individuals riding a dark-colored moped. The individuals held up a knife, forcibly took her phone, then fled on the moped, police said.
The second incident occurred on Christmas Eve around 2 p.m. in the vicinity of West 252nd Street and Broadway. A 38-year-old woman told police two unknown individuals on a dark-colored moped approached her and displayed a sharp object. They then took her phone, she told police and fled.
The third incident occurred in the 34th Precinct on Dec. 27 with two victims. A 31-year-old woman and 28-year-old woman were walking in the vicinity of Henry Hudson Parkway and West 180 Street when once again two people on a dark-colored moped approached. While displaying a “sharp object,” they robbed the 31-year-old of her bag containing credit cards and the 28-year-old of her phone, police said.
The fourth incident occurred on Dec. 31 around 3 p.m. in the vicinity of 115 Van Cortlandt Park S. A 26-year-old was robbed of her phone by two unknown individuals who stuck up a sharp object, the victim told police.
The fifth incident occurred on Jan 2. around 5:30 p.m. in the vicinity of Van Cortlandt Park South and Dickinson Avenue. A 19-year-old woman told police that two individuals on a dark-colored moped forcibly took her phone while displaying a sharp object.
Just a day later two individuals of the same description robbed a 31-year-old woman of her phone around 5 p.m., this time in the vicinity of 115 Van Cortlandt Ave. W.
The last two incidents both occurred in the 49th Precinct on Jan. 4 and broke the pattern of young female victims. The first of the two took place near Bronx Park while the second took place in Van Cortlandt Park.
The first of those two incidents occurred in the vicinity of 2970 Bronx Park E. A 16-year-old boy told police that around 3:45 p.m. two individuals on a dark-colored moped tried to steal his backpack while displaying a sharp object. They then fled.
On the same day a 51-year-old man told police that two individuals tried to take his wallet in the same way, this time in the vicinity of Van Cortlandt Avenue East and East 233 Street and around 3:55 p.m.
Police say that neither of the eight described incidents resulted in any injuries.
Anyone with information in regard to the robbery pattern 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.
While a NYPD news release cited eight incidents, there were two more moped-related robbery incidents that occurred in December that the police did not mention.
On Dec. 13 a 67-year-old woman reported that four individuals on two mopeds robbed her of her phone, while a 51-year-old man reported on the same day that three unknown individuals on two mopeds took his phone and keys. According to DCPI, both of these robberies are still being investigated.
The Van Cortlandt Park Alliance previously shared safety tips for park goers in response to the string of robberies. Those tips included, going to the park in a group, not wearing headphones, keeping your phone out of sight and leaving valuables at home.