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Police catch alleged ice pick bandit

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Co-op City residents can rest easy.

Earlier this month, police nabbed the suspected “ice pick bandit”, who is accused of robbing women in Co-op City while wielding an ice-pick.

New Jersey police arrested John Martinez, 39, of Taylor Avenue, for a parole violation on Saturday, December 4, and quickly extradited him to New York where he faces charges including criminal possession of a weapon, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

According to police, the first robbery occurred at about noon on November 10, at 100 Alcott Place. The assailant took the victim’s cell phone and some money.

Four days later, two other female victims were robbed in similar ways. The first incident was at 140 Benchley Place - jewelry and shopping bags were taken - and the next incident, which took place five minutes later, happened at 140 Elgar place. Money was taken from the 50-year-old victim.

About a month later, similar robberies occurred in Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan.

In all cases, the attacks were similar. The suspect followed the victims into their apartment building’s elevator. He then threatened the victims with the weapon and stole cash, jewelry and other items before fleeing on foot. Most of the muggings occurred during afternoon hours.

According to Bieder, 45th Precinct Community Council President, violent crimes have been on the increase in the past year, and while some of it may be due to the economy, much of it can be attributed to the falling number of police officers in the city.

“We’ve had a 20 percent drop in officers since 2000, and we didn’t have enough officers back then even,” he said. “The police numbers have dropped drastically, and it’s a little scary when you think about it.”

It is reported that Martinez, who is over six feet tall and weighs more than 250 pounds, served 10 years in prison for a 1991 conviction on four counts of first-degree robbery. Then in 2002 he was convicted again of robbery and served eight years before being released on parole in September 2010.

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