Wednesday, April 30, 2008
"CALL 911, HE STOLE MY BLACKBERRY!"
As I was walking down Henry street in Carroll Gardens, this lady comes running around the corner at Degraw street, yelling, " call 911, he stole my blackberry."
Seconds earlier, this young Latino kid goes galloping by. Stunned for a second, I turn around, dial 911 and start chasing the guy, probably about 18 or 19 years old, maybe younger. He had snatched the woman's phone out of her hand while she was texting, several blocks away. Out of breath and giving details and a description to police, I lost him.
But, here's where it gets interesting. Minutes later, I mean like two, three, four minutes later, unmarked police cars are scurrying up and down the blocks with flashing blue and red lights in their engine grills. The woman, I forget her name, couldn't believe the police reacted so swiftly to what was essentially a purse snatching. I told her they were probably looking for someone else, a murder suspect perhaps. They weren't. Dispatchers had given the cops a description and they were scouring the neighborhood looking for the teen punk.
10-minutes later, one of the dispatchers calls me and wants the two of us to meet with a marked vehicle a block or so away. Cops tell us to hop in the car. We take a short ride to an area near the BQE, where those detectives in the unmarked patrol cars had stopped someone who fit the description. From the darkened windows of the patrol car, we tried to I.D. the kid. We both agreed, too black, too tall, no white t-shirt. Both of us figured he was about 5'7-5'9, Hispanic, wearing a baggy white t shirt, baggy jeans, over sized sneakers and carrying a zipper down red sweatshirt.
The 76Th precinct cops told us they had stopped another suspect, so we jet off to another location not far away. Again, we sat in the car and eyeballed the guy they were patting down. And again, too black, too tall. I'm pleading with the cops, "he's more light skinned, thinner. The victim's screaming, "where's the white t-shirt." Finally, one of the undercovers pulls up the red sweatshirt to reveal a black t-shirt. Not him! Not only that, he didn't have the face of the kid we saw running down the street. This process continued for a few more minutes and a few more stops.
Eventually, the cops dropped me off in the neighborhood and the woman was taken to the precinct station on Union street to fill out a police report. I don't know if they ever caught the kid, but let me tell you this. These cops busted their butts for us. They had no idea who we were. I could have been some big time radio news anchor in New York city. Hey, I am. She could have been some big mucky muck lawyer. Don't know. But, either way, they treated us with respect and they jumped into action in minutes. If you were a bystander in the neighborhood watching this unfold, you would have thought they were searching for a murder suspect. I'm not sure if it was a slow night or if this is the typical response to a report of a blackberry being snatched, but I can tell you this, despite the theft in a pretty upscale neighborhood, I feel much safer having these men and women in blue patrolling our streets. Imagine how they might response if there was a murder in the neighborhood. Better yet, a terrorist!