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Cops in search of bike perp

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Police in Forest Hills and Rego Park said they were looking for a thief who travels by bicycle and was wanted in connection with swiping property from five young victims.

Police from the 112th Precinct said the bandit rode up on his bicycle to his victims, four teenagers and one 21-year-old, grabbed jewelry or a purse from them and fled on his bike. The bandit rode a red bike during the first four incidents and a silver BMX bicycle for the last theft, police said. The incidents took place in July and August.

“This is not a prank, it’s a felony,” state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) said. “When people leave their homes, they should be able to feel safe on their own streets.”

The first of the grand larcenies took place around 3:30 p.m. July 28 at 63-74 Austin St. in Forest Hills, where the suspect approached a 14-year-old boy from behind and grabbed a chain from around the victim’s neck, according to police. In all the incidents, police said the suspect peddled away on his bicycle.

Around 4:45 p.m. Aug. 2 at 66th Road and 108th Street in Forest Hills, the bicycle bandit approached a 15-year-old boy from behind and again snatched a chain from the boy’s neck, according to police.

On Aug. 12 at 7:45 p.m., the suspect stole from his only female victim, a 21-year-old from whom he grabbed a purse, police said. The incident took place at 62nd Drive and Junction Boulevard in Rego Park.

He stole another chain from a 13-year-old around 1:50 p.m. in front of 102-35 64th Road in Forest Hills, according to police.

The last incident happened at about 7:20 p.m. Aug. 28 at 99th Street and 62nd Drive in Rego Park, where the thief again removed a chain worn by a 13-year-old boy, police said.

Heidi Harrison Chain, the president of the 112th Precinct Community Council, said she believes the thief will be found and arrested.

“I am confident that with the public’s help, the NYPD will apprehend this individual,” Chain said.

The number of grand larcenies in the 112th Precinct are down from last year, according to city statistics. There have been 237 grand larcenies this year, compared to 256 last year. Crime, for the most part, is down in the precinct compared to last year. There has been one murder so far, compared to two last year. Rapes have also declined, with two being reported this year compared to five last year. Burglaries have declined by more than 20 percent since last year, with 85 being reported this year compared to 107 last year.

Felony assaults have increased by a little more than 11 percent in the precinct over last year, according to city statistics. There have been 38 reported felony assaults this year and 34 at this time last year.

“Crime in the 112th is down an astonishing amount,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a town hall meeting in Forest Hills last week.

Anyone with any information about the bike thief is urged to call police at 1-800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted to nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting 274637 and then entering TIP577.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 6:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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