Officers of the 109th Precinct have warned residents to be wary with their cell phones – even when walking.
According to Precinct Executive Officer Captain Christopher Manson, cell phone snatchings are currently among the most common forms of theft.
“These iPhones are the biggest thing electronically citywide,” he said. “Cell phones as a whole, but the iPhone in particular. Guys on the subway sometimes wait for the doors to start closing, and then they grab phones and run.”
On January 19, Tevin Simmons, 19, from Jamaica, was arrested at the intersection of Main Street and the Horace Harding Expressway after stealing the iPhone of a male passenger on the Q44 bus. Simmons was charged with grand larceny.
Sixteen-year-old Justin Martinez was arrested on Main Street and 39th Avenue on the morning of January 26 for knocking a 19-year-old Asian female to the ground and grabbing her iPhone. The victim suffered scrapes to her knees, and Martinez was charged with robbery.
Officers also detailed several other recent robberies in the confines of the precinct.
Hector Parada was taken into custody on January 3 for breaking into a closed restaurant and taking money from the cash register. The 23-year-old from Flushing was charged with burglary.
On January 11 at 1:43 p.m., Armon Days, 31, was arrested by police for attempting to break into a house on 157th Street.
John Grisales, 21, from Flushing, was arrested with 28-year-old Christian Bermego in connection with a robbery on Maple Avenue at 3 a.m. on January 17. Grisales and Bermego allegedly knocked a 36-year-old Asian male and 38-year-old Asian female to the ground and stole her purse. Both suspects were charged with robbery.
Despite the recent rash of robberies, the precinct reported mostly improved numbers regarding traffic accidents in 2011.
Car collisions were down three percent in 2011, from 6,740 to 6,547.
There were two pedestrian fatalities – cut in half from four in 2010. Both victims were elderly and were struck by cars when crossing the street. In total, 354 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents in 2011.
Detective Kevin O’Donnell stressed the importance of remaining at the scene of an accident, regardless of the situation.
“If you have an accident, stay there. Then it is an accident,” he said. “If you leave, it is a crime.”