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Armed robber attacks top author in Fort Greene Park • Brooklyn Paper

Armed robber attacks top author in Fort Greene Park

Fort Greene Park is a summer idyll, but there’s also a menacing quality — especially in light of several recent crimes.
Photo by Tom Callan

The armed robber who’s been prowling Fort Greene Park attacked two more people last week — including an acclaimed Brooklyn novelist as his children played in the crime-filled greenspace.

The Cobble Hill author said that he was on the steps near the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument at 3:30 pm when the gunman sat next to him, flashed a weapon and demanded cash.

“It was a professional transaction,” said the victim, who asked not to be named to protect his family. “He picked his target well and he picked it very quickly.”

The writer said that his 8- and 12-year-old sons were in the distance when the thug approached him and his wife. He said that he calmly set his money clip on the steps and within seconds, the thug fled with $150, but purposefully left behind credit cards and other personal papers.

The author’s oldest son described the perp as a man in his 40s, wearing all denim, a hat and big gold sunglasses.

“I knew something was up because my dad put his wallet clip out,” the son said. “I was scared obviously, but it was just weird.”

The attack was the sixth stickup to rock the park since Sept. 5.

The lone gunman also robbed a man on Sept. 13 while he and his girlfriend lazed near the tennis courts at 9:30 pm.

The 27-year-old victim told police he was at the DeKalb Avenue side of the park when the thug — who was hiding nearby in the trees — approached him and brandished a silver gun. He gave up $80 and the fiend fled.

He described the suspect as a 5-foot-10, 180-pound man in his 40s.

This summer, muggers have prowled Fort Greene Park so much that cops vowed to increase patrols and a local karate instructor provided self-defense classes in the park itself.

But recently thieves are becoming brazen enough to rob park-goers at gunpoint — in broad daylight.

Cops arrested a 49-year-old suspect on Sept. 10 in connection with three stickups, but the next day another lunatic tried to rob a Brooklyn Hospital nurse at gunpoint as she took a break in the park.

The victim was near Willoughby and St. Edwards streets at 3:15 pm when the robber flashed a gun and demanded cash. He fled without harming her.

Police said they’re adding plainclothes officers to the northern corner of the park, the site of three other harrowing robberies:

• On Sept. 5, a thug ambushed three people near the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument at 8 pm. The goon came from behind, flashed a gun and swiped $200.

• On Sept. 6, he jumped a 30-year-old woman at St. Edwards Street and Myrtle Avenue at 9:30 pm, taking her jewelry and cash.

• On Sept. 9, he attacked a woman on a bench at St. Edwards and Willoughby streets at 3:50 pm and took $44.

Deputy Inspector Anthony Tasso, the 88th Precinct’s commanding officer, said many of the attacks are taking place on the monument stairs and the streets near Brooklyn Hospital and St. Edwards Place.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” he said. “If it takes going a bit out of your way, it’s worth it. This guy is picking dark areas and he’s hiding behind the trees.”

Police said they don’t know what’s causing the wicked spree, but Tasso said the park tends to be a center of robbery activity.

The urban oasis is at a diverse crossroads, bordered by the Ingersoll and Walt Whitman public housing developments, a hospital, and a row of brownstones, with luxury condominiums only blocks away.

Saturday’s victim, the acclaimed author, said that as he approached the north end of the greenspace, a woman was urinating in public near the monument.

“There was enough weirdness on that side of the park that maybe we should have known better,” he said. “The playground was empty and no one was around — and suddenly there was a guy standing right next to us with a semi automatic weapon.”

According to NYPD data, there were 33 robberies in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill over the last month, compared to 16 during the same period last year. And so far this year, there have been 175 robberies, up 24 percent.

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