McKibbin Lofts are party — and crime — central

McKibbin Lofts are party — and crime — central
Photo by J.J. Despain

Gun-toting muggers used a Williamsburg loft building as their personal Best Buy last week, hitting a hipster-filled McKibbin Street building at least three times.

Several armed robbers broke into unlocked rooms and stole thousands of dollars worth of video game systems and laptops at gunpoint in the incidents at 255 McKibbin St. for a total of three crimes in a span of four days — each the result of perps gaining access to the building and entering unlocked apartment doors inside the hipster hive.

The reign of terror began on May 16, two thieves entered a first-floor apartment just before 8 pm to find the tenant playing his video game. The thieves threatened to kill him if he screamed, and began rummaging through his stuff before grabbing the gaming system, plus the victim’s iPhone and wallet.

The next day, a burglar broke into a third-floor apartment at 6:15 pm and swiped a video game console and laptop while the resident was in another room.

Two days later, a violent robber walked into a fifth-floor apartment at 12:40 am to find its tenants watching TV.

“Give me all your stuff, I have a gun, I shoot people,” he shouted before loading the tenants’ laptops, cellphones, iPods and Xbox games into a white shopping bags.

“I been shot three times,” he shared before fleeing.

And that’s just the action inside the building.

On May 14, another robber stole an iPhone from a woman in front of the loft building at 5 pm as she was coming home from work.

The violent robberies brought dozens of police to the block known more for its late-night record release parties, video shoots, and impromptu performance art exhibitions.

The building has unabashedly assumed the label as Williamsburg’s hipster headquarters, or at least its first encounter.

Its tenants, many of whom are college students and new residents to Brooklyn, are attracted to the twin converted factories because of its cheap rent — but find themselves subjected to cramped, subdivided quarters and minimal privacy.

Now they’re worried about its lax security.

McKibbin dweller Roy Cherion, whose apartment was burglarized this week, said it is easy for people to come in and out of his building but few residents are taking necessary precautions.

“We’re definitely more paranoid about making sure we check before letting someone in but so far we haven’t noticed anything drastically different,” said Cherion.

And resident Amelia Trask wasn’t surprised about the robberies.

“It’s a good target,” said Task. “Everybody in here is an artist. Everybody has video or music equipment.”

That could change, said former tenant Ashley Rambo, who is worried that the violence will permanently end the party.

“I want to be open to other people in the neighborhood, but it creates a dynamic where you’re not sure if that’s possible,” said Rambo. “McKibbin was an open place where people kept door unlocked — now it’s almost a gated community.”

Roy Cherian is one of the many unsuspecting victims living in the loft apartments on McKibbin Street.
Photo by J.J. Despain