A brazen robbery of two youths in Colucci Playground at night has the community concerned about safety in the well-used recreation area.
The park, which closes at dusk, was the scene of a robbery where an armed gunman and his accomplice stole the cell phone of a 15-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy’s Blackberry, along with $57 on Tuesday, August 30.
A third potential victim who was there when the robbery occurred at 10:40 p.m. told the perpetrators that she did not have a cell phone, but in fact had one hidden, said 45th Precinct Capt. Russell Green.
“We have been visiting that park, but our focus for the whole summer has been our two main parks: Pelham Bay and Ferry Point parks,” Green said. “We don’t have too many patrols in this park because it is a little bit off the beaten path, but since this happened, we have directed patrols there, and there have been no other incidents.”
The young people have reviewed photographs of known robbery suspects fitting the description given of two male blacks in their 30s that are approximately 6-feet tall and 170 pounds, Green stated.
There are also subpoenas into the phone companies for records of calls made after the robbery that could provide leads, Green said.
After hearing about the robbery, Councilman Jimmy Vacca met with the parents at Colucci Park and then joined with them during a meeting with Capt. Green at the 45th Precinct on Thursday, September 8.
Additional signs have been placed in the park alerting people that it closes at dusk, and Vacca urged anyone with information about the robbery to come forward.
“Capt. Green is looking for any type of assistance available, he is interested in getting information from anyone who can help, and has structured patrols and directed attention to the park,” Vacca said. “I think that we need cooperation from the community. They should obey the closing at dusk signs.”
About half of the signs that he had the Parks Department install after the robbery were stolen in less than 24 hours,
Parents need to make sure that their children obey the rules and stay out of the park after it closes, Vacca said.
In terms of staying safe, Capt. Green said that it is important to read and follow all signage in the park as to when it closes.