Elderly residents of Sheepshead Bay and its environs are being warned about a mugger responsible for at least ten purse-snatching this year alone. While cops are increasing patrols in the area, Captain Vincent Stella, the commanding officer of the 61st Precinct, encouraged elderly women to take extra precautions as they go about their errands. Were recommending that elderly residents walk in pairs and make sure that they keep on well-lit streets, said Stella. If they feel that someone is following them, then they should walk into a store and ask someone to call 911 for them. The warnings came last week after investigators connected a handful of robberies to the same perpetrator. The suspect follows a particular routine: attacking his victims from behind, knocking them to the ground and running off with their handbag. The thief is often seen running to an awaiting getaway car, which is usually stolen, said police. In one of the most recent incidents, the victim, an 80-year-old woman from Bedford Avenue, told police that she was walking down the 2150 block of East 21st Street at 3:30 p.m. on February 17 when the suspect crept up from behind and shoved her. The victim fell to the ground, said officials. The thief ran off to a blue Dodge Caravan with her bag. Police said that the victim, who was not seriously injured, and a witness gave them a description of the getaway vehicle, but investigators determined later that the Caravan had been stolen from the 3800 block of Shore Parkway earlier that afternoon. Investigators believe that the suspect struck again just before 9 p.m. on February 16, this time at the corner of East 1st Street and Avenue U. Officials said that the victim, 82, was walking by the corner when the thug barreled into her. The victim was robbed of $212 and a Medicare card, officials said. The extent of her injuries as this paper went to press. Police said that they are increasing the patrols between 3 and 11 p.m., when most of the robberies take place. Cops are asking anyone with information regarding these string of robberies to come forward. Calls can be made to either the 61st Precinct at (718) 627-6611 or the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
©2006 Community News Group
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