Police released images on Monday of a man allegedly responsible for a series of purse snatchings across northeast Queens.
Law enforcement sources said the perpetrator approached each victim from behind on the street and forcibly removed their handbags. On a few instances, he was observed entering a waiting sedan — operated by an unknown driver — that fled the scene. Most of the robberies occurred during afternoon or evening hours.
According to authorities, the first robbery occurred at 8:45 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2017, when the crook attacked a 46-year-old woman in the area of Oak Avenue and Parsons Boulevard in Flushing. He grabbed the woman by the neck and removed her handbag, which contained her wallet and cellphone. The victim was not injured.
Five days later, at 6:50 p.m. on Dec. 21, the bandit returned to Flushing and robbed a 26-year-old woman in the vicinity of Burling Street and Oak Avenue. Police said that he grabbed the woman’s purse from off her arm; the bag contained her wallet and personal affects. No injuries were reported.
Detectives said the robber waited until after the new year before striking again in Flushing. At 11:50 p.m. on Jan. 11, authorities stated, the suspect grabbed a 39-year-old woman by the neck at the corner of Booth Memorial Avenue and 150th Street and removed her purse, which contained her wallet and personal effects. The woman was not injured.
Twelve days later, at 4:50 p.m. on Jan. 23, law enforcement sources said, the crook returned to the same location and snatched a purse off the arm of a 44-year-old woman, then fled the scene. The bag contained the victim’s phone and various personal items.
Police said the bandit traveled to Little Neck for his next robbery, which occurred at 6:20 p.m. on Jan. 25 at the corner of Manor Road and East Drive. The suspect encountered the 56-year-old woman and yanked her purse off her arm.
Law enforcement sources said the suspect then visited Fresh Meadows at 6 p.m. on Feb. 15 and robbed a 50-year-old woman in the area of 181st Street and Union Turnpike. The suspect forcibly removed the victim’s purse off her arm.
Finally, at 4:45 p.m. on March 5, the crook robbed a 59-year-old woman in the vicinity of 41st Avenue and College Point Boulevard in Flushing. Police said the bandit, while forcibly removing the victim’s purse, caused the woman to fall to the ground. He was last seen heading on foot westbound along 41st Road. The victim was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian Queens hospital for treatment of cuts and bruises.
A security camera near the scene captured the suspect’s image as he walked through the area.
Police described the purse snatcher as a black man between 20 and 30 years of age, standing about 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray baseball cap, a black hooded sweatshirt, a red jacket and black pants.
Anyone with information regarding the pattern or the suspect’s whereabouts is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA), visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.