Speaking to the Forest Hills Civic Association last week, Captain Robert Ramos explained that there has been an increase in the number of instances where shoppers were robbed in the area.
Over a 20-day period, there were four instances of theft at the Rego Center Mall in Rego Park.
“The victims were mostly women who went out shopping and who may have left their purse in the cart alone for a few minutes,” Ramos said. “When they come back, they find that their purse, phone and credit cards are missing.”
In a flyer passed out to residents, the NYPD offered crime prevention tips, such as don’t hang bags on a stroller and pay attention to people who may look suspicious.
Ramos added that there have been several cases of car break-ins in the area recently. After receiving a midnight 911 call about a couple trying to open car doors along 77th Avenue, anti-crime officers were able to spot the man and woman in action on Queens Boulevard.
The pair from Kew Gardens were arrested. Recovered property included an EZ Pass and a GPS.
“What’s happening with car break-ins is people aren’t jimmying the lock and breaking windows because everyone has an alarm on their car,” Ramos said. “Instead, they are walking up and down the streets trying to see if the cars are unlocked.”
The recent spike in pickpocketing and car break-ins come at a time when the precinct has been dealing with unusually serious crimes.
Roman Gorbunov, a 21-year-old Rego Park resident, killed his mother Lyubov Gorbunova after an argument on September 27. Gorbunov disposed of his mother’s body in the water at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Gorbunov confessed to the crime and gave officers the location of her body after he was found by police in Bensonhurst, according to Ramos. On October 8, three days after NYPD divers started searching the area, they recovered Gorbunova’s body from the lake.
The 112th Precinct also arrested a homeless man who called in a fake bomb threat at the 71st Avenue/Continental Avenue station on October 13. Brian Harrison called 911 from a payphone in the station reporting the bomb.
Later, Harrison pressed the emergency help button on an elevator and said the bomb would go off in under seven minutes.
While there was no bomb or device found in the station by transit detectives, the call caused massive delays on the E/F/M/R subway lines. The 56-year-old was charged with making a false report and terrorist threats.
“The moral of the story is if you’re walking or driving around and you see something that doesn’t look quite right, call 911,” Ramos said.