A Fresh Meadows man was arrested on Oct. 16 and booked at the 109th Precinct in Flushing in connection with a robbery spree and police are now looking for two other members of his crew that targeted pedestrians in northeast Queens in the last three months.
Jianwei Chen, 20, of 163rd Street, was allegedly one of the three masked men who investigators believe targeted a 23-year-old man as he walked in front of 141-36 South Dr. in Malba at around 12:15 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 28. One member of the crew pulled out a handgun and demanded his property, police said. The three men then punched the victim multiple times in his face and forcibly removed his high-end wrist watch and other property with a total value of approximately $37,000.
The perpetrators sped away from the crime scene in a gray Honda four-door sedan in an unknown direction, police said.
EMS responded to the scene and transported the victim to New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition with minor injuries.
The three men returned to the same neighborhood in Malba at around 12:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22, where they pulled up alongside a 22-year-old man as he walked in front of 24 Center Dr., just a block away from their first robbery. This time, the three suspects got out of a white Hyundai Sonata and punched the victim multiple times in his face and body and tried to forcibly remove his wrist watch, but failed, police said. They did, however, drive off with his cell phone and other property that was valued at approximately $3,900.
The victim suffered minor injuries but refused medical attention at the crime scene, according to authorities.
The three men struck again on Monday, Oct. 16 at around 9:43 a.m. over in Whitestone, where a 30-year-old man was walking in front of 2-23 148th St. They surrounded him and demanded his property and proceeded to punch him multiple times in his face and body before forcibly removing his pricey wrist watch and other property that was valued at $63,000, police said. The three perpetrators sped away from the crime scene in a gray Mercedes sedan.
The victim suffered minor injuries and refused medical attention, police said.
The NYPD released surveillance video on Oct. 24 showing the three men heading to the gray Mercedes after the third robbery. It is not clear which one of the men in the video was Chen.
Police continue to look for his two accomplices. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Through Oct. 22, the 109th Precinct has reported 258 robberies so far in 2023, 11 more than the 237 reported at the same point last year, an increase of 8.9%, according to the most recent CompStat report.