Police moved in on a Canarsie warehouse last Friday, arresting two trespassers, and residents in the surrounding area are in an uproar about a spate of thefts that has them locking doors in a frenzy and looking worriedly over their shoulders.
There have been “at least 17 car break-ins, home burglaries, business break-ins and incidents of vandalism” on E. 93rd Street, between Ditmas Avenue and Avenue B, just in the last couple of months, according to Sophia Hutchinson, who lives on the block.
Hutchinson points her finger squarely at the squatters in the empty warehouse at Ditmas Avenue between E. 98th Street and Rockaway Parkway, which she said was inhabited by homeless people who roam the streets in the vicinity, with shopping carts filled with junk.
“That’s not a coincidence. That’s a trend,” contended Hutchinson, who has had both her car and her house broken into in the past couple of years and who was one of a group of people who brought the problem to the 67th Precinct Community Council’s September meeting last Thursday.
Cops immediately responded, raiding the warehouse the following day, and making the arrests. The two individuals collared by the cops were charged with criminal trespass, said Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues, the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct.
Pegues said that a team of two sergeants and about 13 cops had participated in the operation.
“We are paying particular attention to the location now, to make sure everything is fine,” Pegues added. No drug paraphernalia was found in the location, he said. In addition, as of now, he noted, “We are still working on how many crimes were committed at the location, and who committed the crimes.”
Hutchinson says she is grateful for the police response, but she doesn’t think the problem will go away without a sustained effort. “These people have been living in the community for a long time,” she stressed. “They’re not going to leave the neighborhood that easily. Even the day the police raided the warehouse, my tenant and next-door neighbor had to run someone out of the backyard.”