Two Brooklyn teenagers identified as Robert White, 17, and Christopher Tomlinson, 19, “strong-armed” the teen and told him to, “Give me your phone and whatever else you’ve got,” according to reports. After the boy resisted, the attackers told him they had a gun and would shoot unless he complied, officers said.
“One of the perps had his hand in his pocket like he had a gun,” said 104th Precinct Captain Christopher Manson.
After they took his cell phone, the two fled the scene.
“We formed a perimeter around and then we moved in,” Manson explained. “One guy was chased, they tackled him, he fought with the police and he had to go to the hospital. Then the other guy took off, we set a perimeter, and we brought in extra cops.”
After police nabbed the first suspect near 80th Street and 71st Ave., they tracking down the second in front of 79-66 77th Road.
“We were able to catch them right away,” Manson said.
He added that both suspects later admitted to attempting a similar burglary on Cooper and Duran Ave. on January 10, when they threatened a 15-year-old boy claiming that they had a gun. However, in that incident, the unarmed assailants left empty handed.
“I hope they go away for a while, but it’s not always up to us,” Manson said. “We arrested them, but it’s up to the judge.”
Both suspects, who live in a group home together in Brooklyn, have prior arrests, Manson reported. One for robbery, disorderly conduct and an unlawful assembly, while the other has five prior arrests for theft of service and grand larceny.
Tiffany de Wit, a Woodhaven resident, said she frequents Atlas Park Mall at 80th Street and Cooper Avenue to work out at New York Sports Club.
“For the most part I feel safe, but I think there should be some more cops coming around” de Wit said. “I never see cops around here, but I do see mall security.”
Chasity Schmitt lives on 70th Street and walks through the area every day to pick her kids up from school.
“My husband and I were driving down and we saw some undercover police on the streets and we saw a bunch of teenagers outside of their house looking around to see what happened,” Schmitt recalled.
Although she thinks police are a prominent enough force in the neighborhood, Schmitt added that she is worried about what could happen if a proposed homeless shelter comes to the neighborhood.
“I feel like the police officers do their job pretty well, so I don’t feel unsafe, but anywhere is unsafe now,” she said. “Walking over here at night with all these teenage girls who shop here, a homeless shelter is going to be a nightmare. It’s going to make it very uncomfortable for every parent or anyone who has kids.”