It was local-crime fighting at its finest.
Police cuffed a man who tried to rob a Court Street bubble-tea shop using a fake firearm on Monday after a good Samaritan reported the suspect to a Brooklyn Heights patrolman, authorities said.
The successful arrest underscores the value of the community-policing program the city is rolling out to foster closer relationships between New York’s Finest and residents, because it shows how locals trust those cops ingrained in their neighborhoods, according to a veteran local officer who was not on the scene when the incident occurred.
“I’ve been in the command for 14 years, a lot of businesses, neighborhood people actually know us,” said Thomas Ruggiero, a neighborhood-coordination officer with the 84th Precinct. “That creates a better relationship with the Police Department, because we get first-hand knowledge directly.”
The passerby called another neighborhood-coordination officer with the precinct around 12:10 pm after spotting the 59-year-old suspect near Atlantic Avenue and Court Street, and the cop — who was off-duty at the time — then alerted the station house’s anti-crime team, which dispatched a four-person squad to investigate.
The four officers in plainclothes followed the suspect towards the tea shop between Schermerhorn and State streets, according to officials, who said the suspect pulled a black mask over his face before marching into the store, where he demanded an employee stuff cash in an empty knapsack he handed her.
The cops then rushed into the business and confronted the man, who brandished a black object in his right hand that police said looked like a handgun, but later discovered to be a glue gun disguised by black tape, according to authorities.
The responding officers demanded the suspect drop what they thought was his weapon, but he ran into a bathroom in the shop, where the boys in blue cuffed him.
Authorities recovered a black mask, backpack, and the tape-wrapped glue gun at the time of the arrest, police said.