A group of four teenagers prowling the streets of Crown Heights caught the eye of a patrolling Shomrim Volunteer who began following them. Nearly an hour later they were caught in the midst of stealing a pair of bicycles.
The incident began at around 12:30am on Motzai Shabbos, a Shomrim volunteer out patrolling – in response to the recent muggings at gunpoint – spotted a group of four black teenagers harassing a young Jewish couple on President Street and Troy Avenue. The couple slipped into a nearby building and the group continued on their way.
Two of the group were wearing backpacks and according to Shomrim that was highly suspicious.
A number of additional Shomrim volunteers joined in and kept an eye on the group, who made their way all around the streets of Crown Heights and eventually making their way down to East New York Avenue.
The group passed 575 East New York Ave. and realized that the parking garage gate was open and a number of bicycles – which were chained – were visible from the street.
The group split into two, one group standing outside acting as lookouts while the two with the backpacks went into the building and began cutting the chains that secured the bikes.
At this point Shomrim immediately called 911 and reported the robbery that was in progress and police responded within moments and together were able to surprise the group and catch them in the act.
The two lookouts were apprehended at the scene, while the other two fled on two bikes that they had just stolen. One fled towards Kingston Avenue and was apprehended by Shomrim a short while later on Brooklyn Avenue between Lefferts and East New York, while the other fled towards Brooklyn Avenue and managed to get away.
Police took the suspects into custody and found a large amount of tools commonly used in burglaries in the backpack of the suspect that fled on the bike.
Shomrim managed to identify the owners of the bicycles and alerted them to the theft, providing the police with ‘complainers’ who would press charges for the theft. They told Shomrim the garage gate had broken on Friday and therefore remained open.
While police placed the three under arrest – some twenty minutes later – an eagle eyed Shomrim volunteer spotted the fourth suspect a block away near Lefferts Park. Once again Shomrim sprang into action and began following the suspect, while police placed the three into a police van.
Officers asked one Shomrim volunteers to join them in the police cruiser so that he can update officers on the suspect’s location. Police caught up with the suspect on Crown Street and Utica Avenue and when taken into custody without incident. Police found he too had a burglary tools in his backpack.
The two teenagers with the backpacks were charged with felonies ranging from possession of burglary tools during the commission of a robbery as well as theft. Police said they were both 18 years of age.
One of the ‘anti-crime’ sergeants thanked Shomrim for their great work and dedication, “you guys are amazing” he said.