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Armed robber attacks top author in Fort Greene Park

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The armed robber who’s been prowling Fort Greene Park attacked two more people last week — including an acclaimed Brooklyn novelist as his children played in the crime-filled greenspace.

The Cobble Hill author said that he was on the steps near the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument at 3:30 pm when the gunman sat next to him, flashed a weapon and demanded cash.

“It was a professional transaction,” said the victim, who asked not to be named to protect his family. “He picked his target well and he picked it very quickly.”

The writer said that his 8- and 12-year-old sons were in the distance when the thug approached him and his wife. He said that he calmly set his money clip on the steps and within seconds, the thug fled with $150, but purposefully left behind credit cards and other personal papers.

The author’s oldest son described the perp as a man in his 40s, wearing all denim, a hat and big gold sunglasses.

“I knew something was up because my dad put his wallet clip out,” the son said. “I was scared obviously, but it was just weird.”

The attack was the sixth stickup to rock the park since Sept. 5.

The lone gunman also robbed a man on Sept. 13 while he and his girlfriend lazed near the tennis courts at 9:30 pm.

The 27-year-old victim told police he was at the DeKalb Avenue side of the park when the thug — who was hiding nearby in the trees — approached him and brandished a silver gun. He gave up $80 and the fiend fled.

He described the suspect as a 5-foot-10, 180-pound man in his 40s.

This summer, muggers have prowled Fort Greene Park so much that cops vowed to increase patrols and a local karate instructor provided self-defense classes in the park itself.

But recently thieves are becoming brazen enough to rob park-goers at gunpoint — in broad daylight.

Cops arrested a 49-year-old suspect on Sept. 10 in connection with three stickups, but the next day another lunatic tried to rob a Brooklyn Hospital nurse at gunpoint as she took a break in the park.

The victim was near Willoughby and St. Edwards streets at 3:15 pm when the robber flashed a gun and demanded cash. He fled without harming her.

Police said they’re adding plainclothes officers to the northern corner of the park, the site of three other harrowing robberies:

• On Sept. 5, a thug ambushed three people near the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument at 8 pm. The goon came from behind, flashed a gun and swiped $200.

• On Sept. 6, he jumped a 30-year-old woman at St. Edwards Street and Myrtle Avenue at 9:30 pm, taking her jewelry and cash.

• On Sept. 9, he attacked a woman on a bench at St. Edwards and Willoughby streets at 3:50 pm and took $44.

Deputy Inspector Anthony Tasso, the 88th Precinct’s commanding officer, said many of the attacks are taking place on the monument stairs and the streets near Brooklyn Hospital and St. Edwards Place.

“Be aware of your surroundin­gs,” he said. “If it takes going a bit out of your way, it’s worth it. This guy is picking dark areas and he’s hiding behind the trees.”

Police said they don’t know what’s causing the wicked spree, but Tasso said the park tends to be a center of robbery activity.

The urban oasis is at a diverse crossroads, bordered by the Ingersoll and Walt Whitman public housing developments, a hospital, and a row of brownstones, with luxury condominiums only blocks away.

Saturday’s victim, the acclaimed author, said that as he approached the north end of the greenspace, a woman was urinating in public near the monument.

“There was enough weirdness on that side of the park that maybe we should have known better,” he said. “The playground was empty and no one was around — and suddenly there was a guy standing right next to us with a semi automatic weapon.”

According to NYPD data, there were 33 robberies in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill over the last month, compared to 16 during the same period last year. And so far this year, there have been 175 robberies, up 24 percent.

Updated 5:26 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ilovebrooklyn from Park Slope says:
"Deputy Inspector Anthony Tasso, the 88th Precinct’s commanding officer, said many of the attacks are taking place on the monument stairs and the streets near Brooklyn Hospital and St. Edwards Place."

Then why aren't there cops stationed there? This is getting ridiculous.
Sept. 20, 2011, 9:34 am
Dave from Downtown says:
Umm What the hell is with the description??? A man in his 40's wearing sunglasses; a 5-10 man in his 40's????

Could you tell us if he was black, white, Asian or hispanic?, Could you at least tell us what color hair he had?

I assume that the description is being left off for some sort of ridiculous Political Correctness- but uhh its USELESS.
Sept. 20, 2011, 9:52 am
ilovebrooklyn from Park Slope says:
Takes a big man to make racist comments on an anonymous message board.
Sept. 20, 2011, 9:58 am
Kalahari Dessert from Brooklyn says:
Capt. Anthony Tasso needs to be fired. Can you imagine this unfocused "leader" keeps claiming crime is down in the 88th? I can only surmise he's cooking the books to protect the mostly lazy, incompetent cops in the 88th. You're lucky if they even come when they're called. Watch them reading the Post in their cars. Look up Tasso's salary and see if he's earning his worth.
Sept. 20, 2011, 11:04 am
UmadBro? from wat says:
No but really guys. The Guy was black.
Sept. 20, 2011, 11:27 am
ilovebrooklyn from Park Slope says:
(My comment above was addressed to other comments that have now been deleted.)
Sept. 20, 2011, 11:59 am
umadbro from wat says:
go on...
Sept. 20, 2011, 1:35 pm
jeff from Boerum Hill says:
Seriously, why couldn't the writer supply a complete description of the robber? That seems extraordinarily relevant! Good job, guys.
Sept. 20, 2011, 1:39 pm
obvious from E Wbg says:
Could not the NYPD send for a walk in the park some officers? plainclothes officers dressed like some Brownstone Brooklyn Author or some trust fund art student or Yoga mom at different times of day or night. Sooner or later some would get mugged.

And the same goes for the South Slope rapist. Some petite NYPD female officers walking in plainclothes at night? It would be more useful than just distributing leaflets.

That seems so obvious to me.
Sept. 20, 2011, 2:23 pm
Suzanne from FG says:
My young kid practically lives on that St. Edwards playground, and up by the Monument. I can't think of when I have EVER seen a cop from the 88th near the playground, bathroom, park entrance, etc., on that side (St. Edwards). They drive around quickly in their cars every once in a while, but nobody on foot.
Sept. 20, 2011, 3:22 pm
Suzanne from FG says:
And sorry to go on, but "be aware of your surroundings" is all Tasso can say? I am VERY aware of my "surroundings", thank you--I am in a public park, in the daytime. Sometimes--gasp!--there are other people. UNtil they flash a gun and ask for my money, what is there to be "aware" of? What kind of stupid, do-nothing response is this?
Sept. 20, 2011, 3:26 pm
Wtf from Bk says:
Screw that park. Bunch of lowlives running around stealing instead of looking for a job.
Sept. 20, 2011, 4:30 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
has anyone figured out who the author is? My guess is Mo Willems.
Sept. 21, 2011, 1:29 pm
JLS from Fort Greene says:
As long as the community turns these crimes into an excuse for race baiting we won't be able to work together on reducing crime and making our neighborhood safer for everyone who lives here--safre for everyone, that is, except the criminals.
Sept. 21, 2011, 1:53 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
someone on Gothamist guessed Arthur Phillips...I think they are correct.
Sept. 21, 2011, 3:26 pm
J from Fort Greene says:
i live in Fort Greene and all you commentators talking about race here are all FULL OF S$*($_#)T. This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with crime. White, Black, Asian or Hispanic it makes no damn difference. If residents are being attacked at gunpoint in broad freakin daylight then I don't care what race the person is. The cops need to get off their fat asses and out of the DeKalb subway station and do something.
Sept. 22, 2011, 1:26 pm
JacobStellaBK from Clinton Hill says:
Welcome to Brooklyn Circa 1991.
Sept. 22, 2011, 1:46 pm
UmadBro? from wat says:
@J. I'm just saying more times than not, the guy holding the gun, he's black.
Sept. 22, 2011, 2:16 pm
Latin Guy from Fort Greene says:
I find it disturbing that people aren't aware of their small mindedness.

While no one wants crime, it is part of living in a large city while going through one of the worst downturns in the economy in recent history.

Crime always increases when there are less jobs and opportunities. Race has nothing to do with crime, it has to do with poverty.

It comes with the territory folks. If you want less crime move to Westchester or Vermont.
Sept. 22, 2011, 8:21 pm
UmadBro? from wat says:
@Latin Guy

I'm sorry but you can't just blame it all on poverty. There is a culture that thrives in black neighborhoods that glorifies and promotes crime and violence.
Sept. 23, 2011, 9:28 am
GreeneBoy from Fort Greene says:
To Suzanne, be aware of your surroundings makes sense if you were born on this planet or even NYC. It's called street sense or even common sense to some, either you have it or you don't. Not everyone is a flower sniffing, "everything is great" clueless person like all of the neighborhood transplants. There are bad people in this world who care very little about you or the reasons they chose to be that way. Wake up!!!!!!!
Sept. 23, 2011, 9:35 am
Joseph Lopes from Fort Greene says:
Stop the political correctness BS and just give an accurate description of the person robbing people. I'm going to be on the lookout for a 5 foot 10 Asian man, because thats who I'm "imagining" the person to be. Have some "balls" here.
Sept. 24, 2011, 9:02 am
MP from Fort Greene says:
I've lived on South Oxford near the park for 12 years (and I grew up in NY)---the situation is way worse here now than when I arrived. The problem is the 88th precinct and their complete incompetency!! Anyone who lives here knows they don't give a crap about us. Even regular shooting etc don't get them off their asses! Their attitude is "You asked for it by living here."

No one who lives here even seems to know what's happening---forget undercover cops, we don't even get LEAFLETS. I've been thinking of printing my own, actually. I've mentioned the crime wave to about 6 people recently who live in Ft Greene or Clinton Hill and not one of them even knew what was going on.

I don't give a crap about race, I give a crap about not getting clocked on the head for sport or money. When crime is this brazen, being aware of your surroundings only goes so far. I don't wear fancy clothes, nice jewelry, wear headphones or use my phone outside. That doesn't mean I won't get mugged, unfortunately.
Sept. 27, 2011, 6:08 pm

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