Police broke up a crew of violent thieves that has been driving around and ripping off restaurant deliverymen, stealing their e-bikes – and their means of making money.
The NYPD said the group had struck seven times on the Upper West Side since August. One of the robbers was seen on camera seconds after he knocked a deliveryman off his bike, with an accomplice coming along and taking the vehicle.
“They were all delivery guys, and they all had just finished a delivery inside a building,” said NYPD Sgt. Stephen Schoefer. “They would come outside and they would be approached, and they would be attacked” before the suspects took off their e-bikes.
One of the deliverymen, a man who only identified himself as Eladio, said through a translator that the robbers were violent, jumping out and putting him in a chokehold as they demanded he give up his bike. Eladio said when he resisted and tried to fight back, the driver got out of the car and started punching him.
One victim fortunately was able to get a picture of the license plate – giving cops all they needed to find the suspects.
“Using the license plate readers we have on traffic cameras around the city, we were able to track that car going to the Bronx over the 145th Street Bridge,” said Capt. Neil Zuber.
Sure enough, the car was seen heading over the bridge, with the bike hanging out of the trunk. Cops also noticed the car had parking tickets in the same area in the Bronx over and over again, tipping officers off to where the suspects lived. All that was left was to find them, so officers set up on the 145th Street Bridge.
“I went across the street to Lenox Avenue, watching both avenues approach to the bridge and within 30 seconds, the BMW crossed right in front of us, right onto the bridge going right back into the Bronx,” said Zuber.
When the car was pulled over, bike locks from their ill-gotten goods were found inside.
Restaurant owners were thankful those responsible were arrest, as they were unable to keep putting their staffers lives at risk.
The bike is their livelihood. Taking that from someone like that affects their ability to feed their children, and it effects my ability to employ them,” said Erin Bellard, of E’s Bar on the Upper West Side. “It’s hitting a group of people who are already struggling.”