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More than a dozen victims ambushed by teen robbery crew during months-long spree at NYC park: cops 

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A teen robbery crew ambushed more than a dozen victims – most around their own age – during a months-long violent mugging spree in and around the Bronx’s Claremont Park, police said this week.

Three boys, 13, 14 and 17, plus an 18-year-old, Sincere Johnson, have been arrested in connection to the string of callous crimes that began back in January, the NYPD said — adding cops are still hunting for at least two more suspects.

Most of the victims — some of whom were punched or threatened with knives during the muggings — were teenagers, as young as 14, though two were middle aged men, cops said.

The most recent stick-up linked to the vicious crew took place Saturday at around 1 a.m. when four thugs stormed up to a 17-year-old girl walking at College Avenue and East 171st Street, ripped her cellphone out of her hands and threatened they’d shoot her if she didn’t keep walking, according to police.


Four teens — the youngest only 13 — have already been busted in the spree that began in January, police said.

Also this month, the 17-year-old suspect who has since been arrested targeted a boy his own age walking inside the park at around 9:20 a.m. on May 7, cops said. He allegedly snatched the victim’s iPhone 11, valued at $500, while pushing him in the chest, cops said.

Police charged him with robbery, criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, one for intent to sell.

About 24 hours earlier, also inside the park, two muggers grabbed a 14-year-old boy’s iPhone 13 and air pods from his hoodie pockets before pummeling him in the face, cops said.

Two of the thugs demanded money from a 44-year-old man at College Avenue and East 170th Street around 12:30 a.m. April 30, chased him, grabbed his arm and pressed a sharp object against his ribs — before ripping off his wallet holding $250, plus a $40 MetroCard, police said. 

The NYPD this week released surveillance images of the two suspects wanted in connection to that case. 

Meanwhile earlier that month, five ski-mask wearing muggers – including the now-busted 13-year-old – surrounded a 58-year-old man sitting on a park bench, put him in a chokehold and put a knife to his throat, cops said.

Cops interrupted the broad-daylight robbery and arrested the young suspect — as the other four took off, the NYPD said.

The boy was charged with two counts of robbery, one as a hate crime, and criminal possession of a weapon for the mugging, which took place April 15 at around 11:30 a.m. The NYPD was unable to provide any more details on what led to the hate crime charge.

The vicious spree dates back to Jan. 11, when five brutes came up to two other boys, 15 and 16, from behind in the park, slugging the older teen and then robbing the pair of their cell phones, air pods and $10 in cash, cops said.

Later that month, on Jan. 24, a 15-year-old boy who was walking into the park from Clay Avenue and East 170th Street, was pushed and then put in a chokehold by a stranger — who grabbed his iPhone 14 Plus and Apple Watch from his pockets before demanding at knifepoint that he log out of his phone, police said.  

On Feb. 6, one culprit put a 16-year-old boy in a chokehold and placed a knife against his throat while another grabbed his phone at Clay Avenue and East 170th Street inside the park, cops said.


The NYPD released photos of the suspects wanted for violently robbing a 44-year-old man at College Avenue and East 170th Street April 30.
The NYPD released photos of the suspects wanted for violently robbing a 44-year-old man at College Avenue and East 170th Street April 30. dcpi

There were several robberies tied to the crew in March, including one on the morning of March 4, when a mugger demanded a 16-year-old boy’s cellphone — and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t cough it up — before running off toward the park’s basketball courts with the $1,100 device, police said. 

In a broad-daylight March 11 heist, two suspects threatened to stab a 14-year-old boy before taking off with his backpack – holding his wallet, $50, a debit card, and Jordan sneakers valued at $200, cops said. 

Then on the evening of March 17, three Citi Bike-riding crooks threw a 15-year-old boy to the ground in a tunnel in the park and mugged as if they had a gun before making off with the victim’s $1,200 iPhone 14, plus a purple North Face jacket worth $200, authorities said. 

A 14-year-old boy was nabbed in connection to that case and slapped with a second-degree robbery charge, cops said. 

Johnson was also busted in this case and charged with first-degree robbery and criminal possession of a loaded firearm, police said.

Two other suspects threatened a 15-year-old boy with knives inside the park just before 3 p.m. March 26 and snarled, “Run your pockets” — before a third mugger slugged the victim in the face, cops said. 

The crew ripped off the boy’s $800 iPhone 13, as well as his $120 air pods, police said. 

A crew of five is also suspected of robbing a 17-year-old boy at gunpoint as he sat on a bench inside the greenspace at Teller Avenue and East 172nd Street around 12:45 a.m. March 31, cops said. 

Three of the menaces allegedly slapped the teen in the face before they ripped $100 out of his hand, police said.

Anyone with information on the series of violent crimes is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).


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