Tween bandits terrorize shoppers in P’Heights

The Brooklyn Paper
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A band of little girls is making a mockery of their gender’s reputation as “sugar, spice and everything nice” by terrorizing full-grown adults in Prospect Heights, sparking a police investigation into the attacks and raising concern among residents that the crimes might comprise a new and unnerving trend.

In at least three instances over the past two months, a group of adolescents headed by one or two young girls has approached pedestrians and either hit them over the head with a blunt object or pointed what looked to be a toy gun in their direction.

The perpetrators demanded nothing. Indeed, they appeared to have no motive beyond the sheer fun of harassing pedestrians, according to victims and the police.

“It seems odd,” said Deputy Inspector John Cosgrove, commanding officer of the 77th Precinct, where all three incidents occurred. “Generally, there’s a demand for money, or some other accompanying demand, that’s the stimulant for an assault … Or there’s generally some [back]story that makes the attack seem plausible. Absent that, it seems odd.”

Cosgrove added that the prominent role of young girls is “uncommon.”

Victims seemed just as bewildered.

“They literally came out of nowhere,” said Jess Eddy, a 29-year-old graphic designer who was only two blocks from home when she was assaulted on May 15 at about 10 pm.

“I was on Prospect Place, near Vanderbilt Avenue, when I got struck on the head from behind,” she said. “I turned around, and there were six to eight kids, with two little girls in front, who were between 12 and 13 years old.

“They were waiting for me to do something. I was taken aback. I mean, the normal reaction is to attack, but they were so young, and girls.”

After hesitating, Eddy rushed at the girls, prompting a counter-attack by two slightly older boys who had been lurking in the background.

When they tried to hit Eddy on the head, she yelled “like a crazy woman,” and one of the boys pulled out a small silver gun that Eddy presumed was a toy because of its size and the boy’s age. Eddy fled across the street. The kids ran in the opposite direction.

Eddy has since heard of similar attacks and told The Brooklyn Paper, “I fear it’s the start of a trend.”

Indeed, her story is eerily similar to that of a woman who calls herself “Flo” and posted her account on a neighborhood message board,

Four days following Eddy’s attack, Flo was walking along St. Johns Place, between Washington and Classon avenues, at around 4 pm, when she was “struck in the head” with an unidentified object.

“I was stunned. Literally,” she wrote.

When Flo turned around, she saw three or four young girls between 15 and 20 years old fleeing across the street. Flo followed, but to no avail.

The third assault occurred about two months ago to a man named Raymond Alberts and his wife as they were walking along St. Marks Place between Classon and Grand avenues.

“As we were walking, we saw a kid hiding behind a Dumpster,” Alberts told The Paper. “My wife says, ‘He’s got a gun.’”

Alberts, 56, estimated the kid was between 13 and 17 years old. He was accompanied by an “overweight boy” of about the same age.

“I turn around, and he points the silver gun at me … We kept on walking … He was just smiling.”

Alberts promptly reported the incident to the cops, who sent out an officer to investigate.

“He comes back and says it was a toy gun, and he said it wasn’t a boy, it was an ugly girl,” said Alberts.

In retrospect, Alberts believes that “If they had arrested the kid, these other attacks wouldn’t have happened.”

Cosgrove said the precinct is investigating the assaults. And Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) reminded residents to “alert elected officials and come to precinct council meetings.”

But one neighbor had more homespun advice.

“I guess, kids do bad things at times,” said Bob Biegen of the Prospect Heights Association.

“It would be great if they could be caught and someone could just sit down and talk to them about life and how it should be lived.”

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

local says:
This is a horribly written article. Is it really necessary to reference "sugar spice and everything nice" with a cartoon attached?
March 15, 2008, 10:29 am

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