Cops have beefed up patrols in Fort Greene Park in response to at least eight robberies this month — and have arrested at least three suspects in the spree.
Capt. Anthony Tasso of the 88th Precinct blame students from nearby Brooklyn Tech HS for much of the robbery wave.
“We always have problems this time of year, especially at Brooklyn Tech,” he said, alleging that many of the robberies earlier this month were perpetrated by teenagers from the school, which is on Fort Greene Place near the south end of the eight-square-block park.
The crimes have included these shocking incidents:
• On Sept. 6, two thieves robbed a young couple at gunpoint while the lovebirds were sitting near the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument at 11:30 pm.
• On Sept 14, a group of 12 thugs beat and robbed at man at 5:45 pm.
• Later that evening, another man’s backpack was stolen off of a park bench.
“Normally when you arrest one or two people, you expect [the crime] to stop, but it didn’t,” Tasso said. “We arrested people for three nights before it seemed to stop.”
But in reality, it only slowed. Later this month, another wave of robberies hit the park, including four thugs who beat and robbed a man in broad daylight on Sept. 24.
But officers believe these were isolated incidents, as opposed to the student-led robberies of earlier in the month.
“Just because they happened in the park doesn’t mean they’re connected,” Tasso said.
Despite the September increase, crime levels are nowhere near the violent peaks of 1990, when over 1,500 robberies occurred in the 88th Precinct. Last year, there were less than 200.
And that might be why residents were shocked to hear about the rash of robberies.
“That’s very surprising,” Aaron Finbloom said. “I feel safe here.”
And Finbloom wasn’t alone, even mothers biking with their young children were surprised by the crimes.
“We’ve lived here for seven years,” said Gabriella Sfardini. “Occasionally we hear about people being robbed, but we usually feel very safe in the park.”
©2010 Community News Group
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