BHB Reader Robbed at Gunpoint

This disturbing news from a BHB reader:

Last night about midnight, I was robbed at gunpoint while walking my dog at the corner of Aitken and Sydney. After the cops showed up (very quickly I might add) I came to understand that the same perpetrators had robbed a group of three only two blocks away on Joralemon and Clinton a few minutes before me.
While crime is nothing new in New York and I understand that muggings happen even in Brooklyn Heights on occasion, I write this to you with the hope that my story may serve as a wake-up call to my neighbors. I have lived in the City for 5 years and in the Heights for 2.5, and I have always felt safe. I am a taller fellow and have always felt like an unlikely target because of my size. In addition, the dog I was walking is a pitt bull mix and certainly has the ability to intimidate. These factors did not stop the people who robbed me and I doubt that it would stop future people looking for a victim. So please, be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. And if you have the ability to make changes to your building, please check the surrounding areas to make sure that they are well lit.

Update: Here’s a description from the reader:

One male, black, 20-25 years of age wearing all black clothes including a baseball cap and skinny jeans. Slight build and about 6 ft. The gun looked like a glock. Two females accompanied at about 5’7″ of medium build, both black and wearing dark clothes. I noticed them walking on the opposite side of the street (I was walking towards Clinton on the south side of the street) and after they had passed me, the male ran across the street be behind me when my dog started barking. I turned around to see him about 12 feet away with the gun pointed at me. He told me to drop everything and not let go of the leash. I put my wallet and cell phone on the ground and one of the females picked them up. They then told me to continue walking and not turn around. The other party was told to get on the ground and empty their pockets.

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  • jorale-man

    tb, you’re exactly right. And if you keep a weapon around you’re opening yourself up to all kinds of other problems (kids get a hold of it, mishandling occurs, etc.). The best defense is to always be aware of your surroundings, even in the best of neighborhoods.

  • bornhere

    The idea of Heights residents (or, for that matter, most civilians) taking up arms to defend against street crime is crazy. Maybe it’s too many Tarnatino movies. But what’s really scary is, and I will use the word, the “brazen” attitude of these three: they had no problem confronting 3 people on a fairly well-lit street, and then, within minutes, celebrating their victory with another hold-up, this time targeting a none-too-wimpy guy with a none-too-wimpy dog. Within just a couple of blocks. Knowing PD would likely be all over the place very soon. Not a good scenario.
    Street crime is not wholly unknown in the Heights, but it seems to be becoming a more common occurrence. Better lighting and more PD foot patrols might help. It might also be good if anyone found with an unregistered weapon — loaded, unloaded, altered, whatever — whether that weapon were found during the commission of a crime or not, were taken off the streets for a really long time. I do believe the laws are already there. Maybe it’s time they were enforced?
    And Ari, I don’t understand what you mean by “reactionary” police….

  • WillowtownCop

    I have been mugged 5 times, 3 before I was a cop and 2 times after. The last time was the only time I actually had a gun on me. Some jerk tried to snatch my purse one night at the Stillwell Ave train station. I pulled my Glock on him, and he said, “what are you going to do, shoot me?” and walked away. I felt like a total idiot because a) he had no weapon and b) the entry wound would have been in his back. I followed him with my gun in one hand and my phone in the other, calling a sector to come and arrest him. Since then, I’ve left it in my locker.

  • Teddy

    “The best defense is to always be aware of your surroundings, even in the best of neighborhoods.”

    That’s good advice, but it only goes so far. The darkness often masks the danger until it’s too late.

  • No One of Consequence

    You miss the point that J was making that there is virtually zero risk of retal but the victim.

    Bornhere, you’d run up against a (hopefully) strong resistance from gun-lovers with that idea.

    Willowtown says that the force has been reduced by 6000. Gun control laws are a failure. So you’re at the mercy of these skels with no ability to defend yourself. So what if the cops are there in 10 minutes? This is just lucky that it’s no more than a robbery (not to belittle it for those involved). What if they got to you at your front door?

    So I don’t think it’s crazy to consider taking steps to protect yourself, unless you don’t value your liberties (which if you don’t if you’re not willing to fight for them). But perhaps this can go in the TK Small is a Republican thread.

  • WillowtownCop

    I have no problem with responsible armed citizens, and I certainly wouldn’t shed any tears for armed robbers killed in the line of duty, but I just don’t think in this case that having a gun would do you any good. The gun is pointed at your head before you even know it, from far enough away that no one could knock it out of the guy’s hand. So you would have to draw, turn around, aim, and fire before he could figure out what you’re doing and pull the trigger. And he had two other people with him, who may well have been armed themselves. So your only choice is to lay down and do what he says. So now the gun is still to your head and they’re going through your pockets, and they find the gun that you couldn’t get to fast enough. Now they’re scared they’re going to get shot, or that you’re a cop, etc. so they shoot you anyway. Or they just take it and now there’s another gun on the streets. And even if by some miracle you get a shot off, you have no cover and its much more likely he’s going to start shooting back at you. And now you’re having a wild west shoot out over $200 worth of junk. Let him take your credit card and cell- he’s going to use them, or sell them to someone else who’ll use them, the people he calls will rat him out or the store with catch him on video, and that’s how he’ll get caught. The credit card company will pay for fraudulent charges and your cell phone will be replaced by insurance.

  • jorale-man

    Having more guns on the streets is simply not the answer to combating crime. Statistics back this up time and again. What happens far more frequently is people are careless with their weapons and leave them where kids can access them or a spouse, who in the heat of an argument, grabs a gun and does something stupid. Willowtown Cop also makes a lot of good points too about the practicality of using one in a mugging. (Never mind the fact that guns are illegal in NYC.) Let’s just be reasonable. This isn’t the Wild West here.

  • PJL

    Any word on whether the perpetrators were arrested?

  • No One Of Consequence

    Guns are not illegal in NYC. Only in Chicago and that will prove to be unconstitutional.

  • bornhere

    nooc – I am against private gun ownership, although this is not a thread for discussion on that; but — do you really think that street-crime perps are using weapons registered to them? Possession of an unregistered gun is a crime.
    More on topic, if cops were taken off things like property runs or purely administrative duties that could be performed by civilians, there might be more cops on the street. And, no, I don’t know where the money should come from to hire civilians to free up MOS. And even more on topic, some of the permanent posts in the 84 seem odd — is it really necessary for there to be a Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage or Tillary/Adams post? Why not a permanent Court and Joralemon post? It would seem that repeat goings on in the area between Borough Hall and Court to Atlantic would argue for assigned coverage.

  • John Wentling

    It’ll be interesting to see when NYC HAS to issue weapons permits to peons – never hear of muggings and iPod robberies in Arizona, far too risky for bad guys, they could get shot, and justifiably so.

    It is refreshing to see a few people advocate self-defense though, after all, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

  • Duck N. Cover

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Dinkins.

    Funny you should mention Arizona, JW. Just this morning I heard a report of an Arizona rancher and his dog, both of whom were shot and killed by an illegal alien. Wonder if Obamacare will pay for the funeral.

  • No One Of Consequence

    Of course they’re not using weapons registered to them. And therein lies the failure of gun control.
    You can be against it if you like, but be prepared to sacrifice a few more rights in the meantime. But they will probably be replaced with great ideas like the “right” to healthcare, which you must exercise or be penalized.

    I think that all rights should be required or face a fine. “You’re not exercising your freedom of speech and truly speaking your mind. Fine $650.” “You’re not allowed to be Athiest, you must select a religion. Fine $650.” “Annie, where is your gun? Fine. $650.”

    There is no more money to be had from anywhere other than the printing presses. Or maybe from the aforementioned fines.

    Was that rancher in AZ armed at the time? One might assume one with the title of “rancher” would be, but it’s possible he was not.

  • Duck N. Cover
  • Quinn Raymond

    I’m not sure which is more upsetting– that NYC’s recent uptick in crime is affecting our neighborhood, or that we seem to have a sizable population of racists and gun-nuts nearby. Frankly it’s always embarassing to see a few people making everyone else look bad.

    The appropriate solution, as the WillowtownCop points out, is more cops on the beat. Sorry to hear about this.

  • Duck N. Cover

    What I find disturbing, Quinn, is that you hyperbolically label someone who expresses (through words) their support of the 2nd Amendment, a “gun nut.” I don’t own a gun but I strongly support the right to own one. Your panties are in a twist because “a few people” disrupt your Utopian lock-step liberal world view. How very open-minded you are.

    By the way, the recent uptick in crime that is affecting “your” beloved Heights, is happening because of liberal policy. I pray (does that make me a nut, too?) that I’ll be able to survive it before I leave, along with the rest of the tax-base, to safer and sounder pastures.

    Lastly, I assume your tag of racism has to do with the mention of our esteemed former mayor, David Dinkins. With the exception of Abe Beame, I can not think of a more ineffectual presence in Gracie Mansion in the last 50 years. David Dinkins’s mayoralty was a horror show.

  • lifer

    I’m sorry this happened, but glad it has brought up discussion, back in November when the older woman got pistolwhipped on Pierpont st, there was more attention being paid to Gruder and the graffiti crusade.

  • Quinn Raymond

    In these matters I think it’s best to listen to the opinion of the police officer who chimed in, who has a little more real-world experience with firearms.

    Based on the tone of some of these commenters the last thing they need in their hands are deadly weapons.

  • daffyduck

    Duck N. Cover wrote
    “By the way, the recent uptick in crime that is affecting “your” beloved Heights, is happening because of liberal policy.”

    what in the world are you smoking???

  • Eason

    Btw isn’t there a gun range a few blocks north of south of Atlantic Bren Clinton and court?

    Anyways, just know that these kids don’t sound like they are on a fast track to success, so hopefully they won’t hurt anyone(or get hurt themselves) before they get put away. This has Darwin written all over it.

  • Duck N. Cover

    Liberal policy, Daffy, is all about entitlement. And when the economy goes south, which it has, (also because of liberal policy — see link below) and people begin to lose their entitlements, they turn to crime.
    In a liberal head, one is entitled to health care, entitled to a college education, entitled to own a home, entitled to a job that pays well, entitled to television sets and more. When these entitlements dry up, these people, who have never fended for themselves, decide to TAKE, because they don’t understand that these are things that they are not really entitled to, but rather things that are earned.

    Liberal policy at work:

    Note to Eason: The perpetrators are described as between 20-25. Hardly “kids.”

  • nabeguy

    Duck, what you define as the mindset of the “liberal head” sounds pretty much like the American dream. What exactly is the problem with these ideals and trying to achieve them not only for ourselves but for all of our citizens?
    If you do pray as you mention, then I assume you’re a person of faith, be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever. Isn’t the central tenet of most faiths that the welfare of our fellow man is the most important thing we can concern ourselves with? It infuriates me when people vehemently profess the strength of their individual faith, yet can’t recognize the narcissism inherent in those very statements. Last time I checked, most faiths in the world do not preach turning your back on others, only your cheek.

  • John Wentling

    Duck: funny that you mention that, and in response to the murder of that rancher, we’re putting forth legislation to further strengthen our self-defense statutes. Thus far this year, we’ve strengthened our firearms preemption statutes (cities/towns cannot have laws that differ from or are more stringent than state law) which the Governor will sign in the next week or so. We’re also eliminating the concealed weapon permit requirement – while at the same time, strengthening the law against criminals. Shouldn’t need a permit to untuck your shirt (it’s legal to carry openly).

    Very little “street crime” here, the fear of retribution runs deep.

  • nabeguy

    John, I’m glad that you’re state has come into line with your views. But as an ex-New Yorker, do you really think that they apply to us here or in any other large urban center, where the socio-economic diversity lends itself to higher crime rates irregardless of any attempts that have been thrown up to combat it? Allowing the arming of the non-criminal citizenry may prove a deterrent…or it may simply increase the criminal population by putting guns, and the powers that they bestow, into the hands of people that would choose to abuse that privilege. I respect your faith in the inherent goodness of mankind, but there’s a reason that most cops support gun control…they’ve seen the other side of that coin all too often.

  • No One of Consequence

    John, what state are you in?
    What Duck is describing may be the American Dream except for the part about entitlement.
    Owning a home, going to college, etc as part of the American Dream should be AVAILABLE, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatic.

    More cops on the beat isn’t going to happen unless you wanna fork over another 5% of your salary. (ok, I just made that number up)

    Let’s let the copper say how she and her fellow officers feel about guns in the public’s hands. She has already said she’s in favor of responsible gun ownership which doesn’t sound to me to favor stricter controls. Naturally, NO ONE thinks that criminals having guns is a good thing, except the criminals, but they already have them and will continue to get them easily enough in spite of the law.

  • No One of Consequence

    I just wanted to add that this seems to be going the way of the Dock Street line of arguments, which is a stalemate.

    Be that as it may, I believe that the gun-nuts are ok with the no-gunners choosing to not exercise their right to gun ownership (except for me as I think that a rights should be forcibly exercised, see above) as long as the no-gunners can respect the fact that it’s ok for law-abiding citizens to own and even carry (yes, that’s right) firearms.

    Probably won’t happen, but I’ll put it out there.

  • Heights Resident

    Regarding the Sidney Place robbery, perhaps the victim and/or police may want to review videotapes from O’Keefes bar on Court Street. That whole place is under constant video, and some of the “unsavory folk” sometimes come from there. Victim may be able to identify.