DNAInfo.com/By Rachel Holliday Smith
Gun-toting thieves robbed a laundromat, restaurant and smoke shop in the neighborhood this week in a series of commercial robberies that police believe are linked.
The three stick-ups took place within three days in Crown Heights, police said.
The first took place in a smoke shop at 1188 President St. between Rogers and Nostrand avenues around 11:30 p.m. Saturday night, according to a police report. A 34-year-old worker told police a man came in armed with a black handgun and demanded money while a second man stood in the doorway as a lookout, police said.
After the worker gave them the men about $200, the pair fled on foot.
The next morning around 5:50 a.m., a laundromat at 644 Utica Ave. near Winthrop St. was robbed. A 27-year-old employee at the Cycle King facility told police he was approached by three men, one armed with a handgun, who demanded money. The worker handed over $80 in cash and his wallet and the group fled southbound on Utica Avenue.
A day later, on Monday, police say the crew struck again, this time at a West Indian restaurant at 294 Rogers Ave. between Crown and Montgomery streets.
Workers at the eatery said three men entered the restaurant around 11:20 p.m. One of the men guarded the front door, one stood by a door leading to the basement and the third man, armed with a black handgun, tried to open the cash register. When he couldn’t get it open, he removed the restaurant’s laptop.
No one was injured in any of the robberies, police said.
Investigators say the pattern of commercial robberies are related and are searching for the responsible suspects.
Anyone with information about the stick-ups are encouraged to contact the police department through the city’s Crime Stoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS or by calling the 71st Precinct at (718) 735-0511.
Overall, robberies in the 71st Precinct are down 36.9 percent this year over last, according to the latest NYPD crime statistics, from 157 robberies reported at this time in 2015 to 99 robberies reported so far in 2016.