Nov. 29, 2017 By Tara Law
The number of robberies and grand larcenies that took place in the 114th Precinct jumped during the past month compared to the same period last year, according to police.
There were 16 robberies and 60 grand larcenies reported for the 28-day period ending Nov. 19, compared to nine robberies and 56 grand larcenies for the same period in 2016.
Captain Osvaldo Nunez, commanding officer for the 114th precinct in Astoria, said that the increase was almost inevitable since crime was so low this time a year ago. He said the jump is not reflective of crime trends overall in the precinct.
He said that the number of reported robberies in the precinct– which covers Astoria, Roosevelt Island and small segments of Long Island City and Woodside– is down 2.6 percent for the year through Nov. 19, compared to same period last year. The number of grand larcenies is down 17.9 percent.
The police arrested nine people on robbery charges during the 28-day period month, including a man who allegedly carried out three robberies in one night, Nunez said.
Keith Lancos, 30, allegedly robbed three people near his apartment at Woodside Houses– by Broadway and 51st Street– between 9:05 p.m. on Nov. 8 and 1:14 a.m. on Nov. 9.
Lancos allegedly approached the victims and asked for a dollar, Nunez said. When the victims complied, Lancos allegedly struck them and demand more money. The victims were three men aged 65, 48 and 26, respectively. The victims were bruised, but were not otherwise injured.
Lancos is known to have mental health issues, police said.
The police also reported an uptick in grand larcenies.
Some of these thefts have taken place at Marshalls, located at 48-18 Northern Blvd. One thief has stolen several wallets out of unattended purses. No arrests have yet been made.
Several of the grand larcenies also involved check washing, Nunez said.
The scammers have been stealing checks out of mail boxes and then using chemicals to write the check out to someone else.
Nunez expects the number of check washing cases to drop as the US Postal Service installs more thief-proof boxes.
Major crime continues to decline in the precinct, with the number of reported crimes down nearly 15 percent for the year through Nov. 19, compared to the same period in 2016. The number of reported burglaries is down 20 percent and stolen autos are down 45 percent for the year to date.