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Coney robber bust

The Brooklyn Paper
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Cops say they’ve arrested a one-man crime wave who spent his summer targeting senior citizens in Coney Island’s western end.

Detectives from the 60th Precinct said 43-year-old John Walston, who lives on W. 28th Street, was charged on Oct. 15 for six robberies dating back to July that occurred nearby his home.

In every incident, elderly women were robbed of their jewelry after the thief surprised them inside their apartment buildings.

Walston’s alleged robbery spree included:

• Taking an 84-year-old woman’s bags and swiping a necklace from a 74-year-old woman during two separate confrontations inside the same W. 25th Street building between Mermaid and Surf avenues on July 23 and Aug. 24.

• Ripping a necklace off a 74-year-old woman inside a W. 23rd Street home between Neptune and Mermaid avenues on Aug. 13.

• Forcing a 73-year-old woman to hand over her gold chain during a confrontation inside a W. 23rd Street apartment building on Aug. 17.

• Removing two necklaces from two seniors, ages 70 and 75, during two separate robberies inside a W. 30th Street building between Mermaid and Surf avenues. The robberies took place on Aug. 21, then six days later on Aug. 27.

Walston was arrested after an investigation that included surveillance photos being passed to residents in all of the housing complexes in Coney Island’s western end.

His string of robberies helped fuel a rampant crime wave in Coney Island this summer that spanned from its beloved amusement area to SeaGate.

The crime wave has taken its toll: according to NYPD statistics, robberies and burglaries in the 60th Precinct are up by more than 22 percent as of Oct. 3.

Overall crime is up by nearly 12 percent, according to recent NYPD CompStat figures.

Crime conditions were so dire this summer that residents asked the Guardian Angels to augment cop patrols in the area.

Prosecutors describe Walston as a career criminal who was first arrested in 1985 on misdemeanor crimes like criminal mischief and criminal possession of stolen property.

In 1991, he was sentenced to six years in prison on a drug charge, officials said. He wasn’t on parole when he was arrested for the recent spate of thefts, according to prosecutors.

During his arraignment for his most recent robbery spree, Walston was incarcerated on a $25,000 bail.

Attempts to reach his attorney, Vidya Yaraboghu, were unsuccessful by late Monday.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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