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Police have arrested a 13-year-old boy they say was the ringleader of a mugging spree on the Upper West Side in late January and early February. The boy, whose name was not released, was charged with robbery; police say he attacked another 13-year-old on 93rd street, according to the Post.

“In that incident, the suspect attacked a 13-year-old boy from behind on 93rd Street near Columbus Avenue, grabbed him by the neck and said, “Don’t scream,” sources said.

The youngster then tried to grab the victim’s iPhone but failed and fled empty-handed, cops said.

Update: Police previously said they’d arrested two other people in connection with the muggings. One police source tells us there were seven attacks in total, and they are continuing to investigate.

We initially covered the attacks here.

NEWS | 81 comments | permalink
    1. Roger says:

      That is great news! Broken windows, broken families, broken windows..protect the UWS.

    2. Scott says:

      The pic says it all. He and the others do this not out of economic desperation but because they love it. It’s a thrill putting others in chokeholds.

      • Erica says:

        it shows that he’s a 13-year-old boy caught up in excitement and adrenalin. He clearly needs to be stopped, and I am glad they’ve found him – but this does not prove that he is evil or irredeemable. He needs intervention, and if he does not have a family that will set him right, he needs outside guidance (strongly). But the fact that he is being stupid and aggressive now does not mean he will be that way forever. – he could grow up to be a good man. But only if the attitude expressed by Scitt and others does not rule the day.

        • Agreed 100%. Many of us white people put on that black kid a label that we would not put on our own white kids. I have 3 white kids, and I would be shocked if one of them were caught doing what this kid did and the community looked at my kid like he belonged at Rikers.

          • zeus says:

            But he DOES belong in Rikers, as would your three white kids.

          • Young Sally says:

            I live in the neighborhood, and while I haven’t personally observed this kind of behavior from young minorities, I have certainly seen a similar trend towards bullying and harassing behavior towards others from some young non-minority males…and you are absolutely correct – The non-minorities are doing it for the exact same “thrill”…and likely won’t suffer any consequences (or intervention)

            • Independent says:

              Please describe at least one example of “bullying and harassing behavior” comparable to the incidents being discussed here but committed by “young non-minority males” who did not “suffer any consequences (or intervention)” for their actions.

        • Proof Reader says:


      • ScooterStan says:

        Re: “…because they love it. It’s a thrill putting others in chokeholds.”

        And hearing them gasp “I Can’t Breathe”??

    3. Sean says:

      “Top of the world Ma!”

    4. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      Unfortunately he probably won’t receive much of a punishment if convicted, since he is a juvenile. I wonder where this individual’s father is. At least the father should give him a punishment he would never forget.

      In addition, if his family lives in taxpayer-subsized housing, they should lose that benefit.

    5. I am glad this kid was caught, and I hope that somehow this is the last time he or the other kids do these kinds of things.

      But I am disturbed by this story for personal reasons, which I wrote about just now here: http://meadonmanhattan.com/2015/02/20/how-to-become-a-lifelong-criminal-in-nyc/

      If you’re a young black kid who does this, you’re likely going to get marked for life. I was a white kid who did similar things in the ’70s, but I had a get-out-of-jail free card because of my race and position. I’m not arguing for leniency in itself.

      I’m arguing for community policing, where cops would actually know the kids they are looking for. Know them not by reputation on rap sheets, but see them around the neighborhood after school, both in good times and bad, and be able to give them a good talking to when these same cops see them getting on the wrong path.

      You can get over getting mugged and losing your iPhone.

      This kid’s life might be over.

      • Richard says:

        This wasn’t a one time just for kicks incident. This a pattern of abhorrent anti-social criminal behavior by a 13 year old. Your suggestion of the NYPD acting in loco parentis is ludicrous. If this punk’s parent(s) can’t control their child, well then he should be incarcerated and removed from society so he won’t harm others.
        Sorry to be harsh, but that’s the reality of the situation. This kid is one of life’s losers – accept it and move on. I’m unwilling to take the chance that this punk goes from stealing phones to armed robberies and more violent crime.

        • Noreaster says:

          But, you see, if you just opt for the current status quo of the revolving door of the prison system, which has shown that it does a poor job of rehabilitating people, that’s exactly what you’re doing: creating a career criminal.

          Who is going to take a step back and try something different here?

        • Richard, I didn’t suggest that police act “in loco parentis,” which is a legal role in place of a parent. I said that police should know people in their community, which they largely do not. I certainly don’t know my local police, and I am always walking everywhere. Police are always in squad cars. I’m not against police; just against the way the Department has them do their job.

          As for this kid, how in the world can you call him “one of life’s losers,” even if this is one of a string of activities. He’s 13! He doesn’t even look like he’s gone through puberty! If I took your attitude with my kids, I would have shipped them off at age 2, when they first told me “No!”

          • Independentw says:

            “As for this kid, how in the world can you call him “one of life’s losers,” even if this is one of a string of activities. He’s 13!”

            What do the relevant statistics suggest?

      • Sean says:

        Ok. But in Les Miserables a loaf of bread was stolen.

      • Scott says:

        So you went up to random people in public and punched them and put them in chokeholds? Bravo to you. Just so you know, I’d demand that your ilk get put away just like I’d demand that this kid get put away. I insist on race-blind criminal justice. Shouldn’t everyone?

        • Jeremy says:

          Nah. He just vandalized a car and offered to work off the damage with the owner. Not sure why he doesn’t see the distinction between someone who damages property with regrets and someone who damages people with no apparent remorse.

          Someone who’s assaulting or robbing people needs to be in the system.

      • zeus says:

        It’s called “bad seed”.
        Happens in all families of all colors.

    6. Bruce Bernstein says:

      is WSR sure that this picture is of the child (yes, child) who was arrested and described as a “ringleader”? the article is not clear on this point. If WSR is not sure of this, then publishing the picture above this article is or could be misleading, or possibly even injurious to an innocent child or someone who was peripherally involved.

      whether it is the same child or not, I don’t see why there was a second publication of the picture. I thought the first publication was justified, as the police released the picture to the public to help identify a suspect. but why the second picture? yes, the first one was out there already… but I don’t see that as justification for the second photo.

      He is a 13 year old. He might be the worst 13 year old in the world (I doubt it). he might be a bad kid who won’t change. he might be a good kid who got in with some bad guys or made some mistakes. He might — just might — even be innocent. i don’t know the kid, so unlike so many others above, i have no idea.

      But he is a child, and he and his family deserve some measure of privacy in that regard.

      I imagine this posting will be subjected to the venom from the usual suspects.

      • Sean says:

        If he was white, he would have been described as a 13 year old entrepreneur.

      • West Sider says:

        The person who was arrested was wanted for choking a 13-year-old from behind on Feb. 4. The police release that included this photo identified this person as the one who choked the 13-year-old from behind. But we’ll take it down until we have final confirmation from NYPD. WSR

      • webot says:

        I imagine this posting will be subjected to the head in the sand defense from the usual suspects.

        Lefties take note and read this article, I think it says it all about you and the inter web age:

        How the Langauge Police are perverting liberalism , by Jonathan Chiat

      • Cyrus says:

        Bruce, just stop. You’re act is getting old

        • DMH says:

          gosh, I disagree. I think it’s valuable. I guess I’m a left-winger like Bruce, but if you don’t like reading some points of view, it’s easy enough to skip them. More time to spend doing other stuff!

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            thank you DMH! Although I am indeed “left of center”, the posting above is not, and should not be controversial.. it is simply common sense regarding how children should be treated in the media.

            more and more progressives and liberals are speaking out in the comments of this web site, i guess because people are getting fed up with all the anger and venom. i hope more continue to do so, as after all, we represent a solid majority of West Siders, if one is to judge by voting behavior. we shouldn’t let the Angry Minority give the impression that they represent public opinion on the UWS.

            Finally, the editor of WSR agreed with my point… which is why the photo was changed.

        • Proof Reader says:

          You’re = ‘you are’

          Your= Possessive.

      • Independent says:

        Child? Or adolescent? Wouldn’t the latter be more appropriate for referring-to a thirteen-year-old?

        Insisting-upon the former, with its decidedly more innocent and sympathy-arousing connotations, reminds me of the photo of Trayvon Martin that accompanied at least the initial news reports of the incident/case: A photo taken when Trayvon was considerably younger, smaller and more child-like and innocent in appearance than he was when the incident involving George Zimmerman occurred.

        (My first reaction upon seeing said photo was how cute, innocent and child-like that younger Trayvon looked and a reflexive sense of pity was triggered. Can anyone really doubt that this was exactly the reaction that whomever had decided to release that outdated, misleading photo had intended to achieve?)

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          just to remind you… Trayvon Martin was the VICTIM, not the criminal.

          • Scott says:

            No he wasn’t. If he was the victim Zimmerman would have been convicted. The jury ruled it was justifiable self-defense. In other words, St. Trayvon was trying to murder Zimmerman and got what was coming to him. Stop trying to rewrite history.

            • Mark says:

              George Zimmerman has proved how violent he is without even bringing up the Trayvon case. You’re probably the same kind of person who would say Daniel Pantaleo did nothing wrong when he smiled and waved to the camera as an unarmed man lay dying on the sidewalk.

    7. JonJones says:

      Increased police patrols along Riverside Drive would be good idea. I have lived in the W.90′s near the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial for sometime and it has felt increasingly unsafe. Rarely do I see NYPD cruising the area…especially at night. Its a no-brainer. It is an isolated area and many children play there- which will only increase when the weather gets warmer. There has been an increase in vagrancy and a surge in property defacement (i.e.,graffiti). I am afraid the area is taking a turn for the worse. Parents should remind their children to stay vigilant and encourage their local precincts to heighten security. If the NYPD doesn’t step up to the challenge it is the UWS community that should respond with community watch groups that patrol Riverside Drive and the park paths. Just a thought from a concerned citizen.

      • Kim Macky says:

        I AGREE!!! Let’s step up NYPD patrols along Riverside Drive near the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial. Hippo Park is right there, which is one of the largest children’s playgrounds on the Upper West Side. Its a prime target.

      • Independent says:

        >Increased police patrols along Riverside Drive would be good idea.

        Sure they would. As they probably would throughout Riverside Park, Central Park and probably just about every other one of the city’s many parks. And I’m sure people could name many, many other locations throughout the city that could benefit (even critically) from an increased police presence.

        How much more in taxes are people ready to pay for an increased police presence?

        What services and programs are people ready to see cut?

        • Rather then more of the same kind of policing, I would advocate a strengthening of the community policing, which I noted above, and which I think would help police and community know each other better.

          I would for to walk in a park not with the blue surrounding me, but with police officers who know the members of their communities. I also believe that police officers should live where they work.

    8. Ted says:

      If this is indeed the person behind this string of muggings and assaults he needs to be incarcerated until he is 18. It is not okay to habitually violent towards others and have no regard for personal property. As we know from the death of Eric Garner, misapplied choke holds can easily albeit unintentionally kill the victim. If he is guilty then his punishment needs to be swift and befitting of a potentially deadly string of assaults.

    9. Jayne Gee says:

      you know what folks?
      Giuliani was -and still is — a prick bastard.
      But he cleaned up this town.
      Stop and frisk — or racial profiling, or whatever worked.

      If gangs of kids were pouring out of yeshias and mugging people and ransacking bodegas, I’d say: lock ’em up. But you know what ? They don’t. We all know who does.

      And as long as there are no real role models and no public officials who say that a life of thuggery and minstrelry is not the way to go we will be in this mess.

      • DMH says:

        Giuliani’s daughter’s shoplifting was nonviolent, of course, but with Rudy in the news this week, I was reminded that she did one day of community service and had her record closed and sealed (ACD) after she was arrested for shoplifting. You could argue that her sentence was awfully light.

        • webot says:

          Yeah, she didn’t hit anybody in the face. I kinda think violence against another changes things.

          If the perps where white would you feel differently? that they should be punished and go to jail? I know I would want them to punished.
          The difference is I do not have different standards for different people. I don’t know anything more racist then that.

          • DMH says:

            I strongly feel that justice should be completely race-blind. We probably agree on that! It’s a tautology in my mind: if justice isn’t race-blind, it’s in fact unjust.

            Something else I learned this week about Giuliani – he probably got a lot more publicity than he expected – is that his father spent time in prison for a violent assault on a Harlem milkman. Regardless of the race of victim or accused, I never would support laughing off these crimes or looking the other way. A fair, effective justice system is so essential to our society.

      • Independent says:

        Giuliani was -and still is — a prick bastard.

        Hmm…Imagine if, instead of “Guiliani”, the above sentence would have begun with, “Dinkins”, “Mandela”, “Martin Luther King” or even “Jesse Jackson”. Would the comment have passed the moderators?

      • Mark says:

        90% of the people stopped and frisked were found to be completely innocent and no illegal fire arms were recovered. So no “Racial profiling or whatever” did NOT work.

        • Independent says:

          90% of the people stopped and frisked were found to be completely innocent and no illegal fire arms were recovered.

          What about the other 10%? How many illegal weapons were confiscated from them?

          You completely ignore this.

          One can argue whether or not the ends (the elimination of many illegal weapons from the streets) justify the means (“stop and frisk”). But at least be honest and forthright about the statistics.

    10. naro says:

      Look at their music and cultural heros. No father at home. Let’s figure out boobales how he can sue the police department. call Sharpton.

      • I assume by saying “their” you are both non-black and also believe that there’s some monolithic African-American culture that has a proscribed set of icons?

      • Olivia says:

        As I sit here reading your comment on the anniversary of the assassination of Malcom X, Re: Cultural Heroes: It seems that anyone with a voice gets a bullet. Speaking as someone who was a victim of a similar attack (in the 90s, in the suburbs)…I don’t know…I just makes me think. The Rockefeller drug laws incarcerated so many mothers and fathers…what does society expect? I’m not looking for a snarky fight, and think this kid is an a-hole (though not beyond redemption…and this coming from an agnostic)…but damn. There is a reason things are the way they are, and it’s not innate.

        • Independent says:

          There is a reason things are the way they are, and it’s not innate.

          Well, of course. We all know that peoples/persons of color can never be at fault for any problems that exist within themselves or their communities. The bitter legacies of racism, slavery and imperialism are always to blame. Anyone who says otherwise is either racist, woefully ignorant or both. It’s just that simple, isn’t it?

      • Mark says:

        I’m tired of hearing “them” “they” and “other”. These are our kids, our brothers and sisters, our family. We are all people in this situation.

        • naro says:

          You can have him…I wouldn’t take the risk.

        • Paul RL says:


          I appreciate your idealism. But with all due respect, anyone (be they white, black, or any color in-between) who chokes my child is no brother or sister to me. And while I believe we need better provisions to help children, (especially those with familial and economic challenges) build themselves into productive members of society, my first priority will always be the well-being of my own loved ones.

        • Independent says:

          I can only wonder whether you would be saying that if one of your children had been a victim.

    11. Bruce Bernstein says:

      of course the two comments above, by Jayne Gee and Naro, are horribly racist. “Minstrelry”? we are now resurrecting racist slurs from the 1890s?

      wiktionary even defines the use of “minstrelry” as racist.


      Apparently there are a certain group of anonymous commenters here who think that any form of demeaning racially-oriented remark is ok. Of course they would never say these things if they weren’t anonymous.

      • webot says:


        Racism is creating a separate expectation for others and defending behavior you would not in others.

        Lefties take note and read this article, I think it says it all about you and the inter web age:
        How the Langauge Police are perverting liberalism , by Jonathan Chiat

        • Independent says:

          Thanks for the link to that germane, highly instructive piece.

          (Evidence that even a publication as frivolous and decadent as New York magazine can sometimes have something worth reading.)

          If not for the fact that I had already heard (most recently from the intrepid John Derbyshire) of a number of incidents very similar to the ones that Chait describes, I would have had a hard time believing them.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          just for the record… NO ONE here has defended criminal behavior.

          • Paul RL says:

            Oh, please. By constantly rationalizing or denying crimes, making excuses for those who exhibit criminal behavior, and most importantly, disgracefully demonizing your neighbors who believe in the right to safer streets for themselves and their loved ones, you effectively DO defend it. Be honest with yourself.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              Paul said:

              “By constantly rationalizing or denying crimes, making excuses for those who exhibit criminal behavior, and most importantly, disgracefully demonizing your neighbors who believe in the right to safer streets for themselves and their loved ones, you effectively DO defend it.”

              Except no one has done ANY of those things. No one has rationalized or denied crime. No one has made excuses for criminal behavior. And no one has “demonized” those who want safer streets.

              Unless you equate “wanting safer streets” with the all too common racist remarks that we find here. Yes, those should be criticized and pointed out. If you want to call that “demonizing”, that’s your choice.

              I don’t believe “wanting safe streets” is synonymous with racism. So maybe some people here should check out what they say and how they say it, and what the effect is.

            • webot says:

              well said Paul.

              Glad to see the silent rational majority are finally speaking up to those extremists who think they control all.

          • Brian says:

            You sure about that?

            2/22: Mr. Bernstein,”just for the record… NO ONE here has defended criminal behavior.”

            2/20: Mr. Bernstein, “He is a 13 year old. He might be the worst 13 year old in the world (I doubt it). he might be a bad kid who won’t change. he might be a good kid who got in with some bad guys or made some mistakes. He might — just might — even be innocent. i don’t know the kid, so unlike so many others above, i have no idea.”

        • Proof Reader says:




      • Independent says:

        Mr. Bernstein,

        Never mind “Minstrelry”, which as far as I can tell has thus far only been used once, by one individual here. You have insisted that even terms such as “animals” are racial slurs when used for youths who commit violent crimes such as the ones under discussion here. And you have at least implied as much about “thugs” and perhaps other terms as well. I challenged you on this assertion and allegation by posing a hypothetical: That everything– all details– would be the same about the incidents-in-question except for one key difference: That the (alleged?) perpetrators, instead of being Black (or “African American” or “of color”), would have been white. I asked whether you believed that the same people now calling them “animals” and “thugs” would not have done so had the (alleged?) perpetrators been white. And, if you did believe that, what evidence you had for it. I made this challenge to you back on February 12th ( https://www.westsiderag.com/2015/02/10/police-step-up-patrols-after-students-are-mugged-in-the-west-90s#comment-260861 ) and then again, four days later, on February 16th ( https://www.westsiderag.com/2015/02/12/police-release-photo-and-more-details-about-local-muggings#comment-262188 ). No less than a full week has now passed since my second comment and I have yet to see any response from you to my challenge. (I just went back and looked through the two relevant threads again to be sure. Nothing.)

        That is not all, though. I urge you as well as anyone else reading this to follow the first link I included above and read for themselves not only my post dated February 12th but also the one of yours just above it (dated February 11th) that mine was a reply to, bearing-in-mind that both comments were made before the racial identities or any photos of the alleged perpetrators had been posted— at least here on West Side Rag. As I pointed-out then, in my February 12th response at the first URL found above, you, Mr. Bernstein, clearly based your comment on the premise that the alleged perpetrators were all Black. I asked how you knew this.

        So, Mr. Bernstein, I ask again:

        1.) On what basis do you suggest that those calling the alleged perpetrators, “animals” and “thugs”, would not have done so had the alleged perpetrators been white?

        Cite some credible evidence. If you can’t, then you owe a number of people an apology.

        2.) How did you know the racial identities of the alleged perpetrators at the time when you made the afore-referenced February 11th comment of yours?

        I await your response.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          “Animals” and “the animals” is a common racially offensive term used to demean African-Americans. if you don’t believe me, do a little web searching and also ask some African-American friends.

          It WASN’T used to describe whites, was it?

          Here’s an example of how someone apologized for using that term:


          here’s another example:


          you can easily find many other examples.

          I’ll give people a pass on “thugs.” I don’t think i’ve complained about that term here.

          there have been numerous other racial pejoratives and stereotypes used in the discussions. I’ve tried to point them out without getting personal. i haven’t been the only one who has objected. But i’ll continue to point them out… and i owe no one an apology.

          a better idea is for people to simply “cool it” with the racism. Some of it might be unintentional. But at least some of it seems to be done on purpose to get a rise out of others.

          Racism isn’t “cute” or “funny.” If you can’t see the racism that is in a good number of these comments… then maybe you’re not looking objectively.

          • Independent says:

            It WASN’T used to describe whites, was it?

            Were any of the alleged perpetrators white?

            If any of them had been white but only the non-white ones had been called “animals”, then you might very well have a point. Likewise, if you could produce evidence that the same people who had referred-to the (non-white) alleged perpetrators in this case as “animals”, had not used that or a comparably pejorative term when referring-to alleged perpetrators of similar or worse crimes who were white.

            I have yet to see you do this, though. You have only repeated your assertions and pointed-to those made by others, all of which are subjective and circular. Citing apologies made by police officers (or anyone else) for having referred-to violent lawbreakers who happened to have been black as “animals” proves nothing; people capitulate to the pressures of the prevailing political and racial orthodoxy all the time. Only proves how much power such forces command. (It can also prove the weakness and spinelessness of those who give-in to them, in some cases at least.)

            I ask again: Can you honestly say that had the alleged perpetrators in this case been white, that they would not have been called “animals” by the same posters-in-question here? That the term was only used because the alleged perpetrators were non-white? If yes, then you need to provide evidence for such a claim. If not, then I am afraid that you still have not proven or even made a convincing case that the use of the term “animals” in this case (i.e., to refer to the alleged perpetrators of the incidents under discussion in this thread) was “racist”– even if there may exist other cases where such usage may be so.

            I’ll give people a pass on “thugs.” I don’t think i’ve complained about that term here.

            Just for the record, I don’t think I ever claimed that you did so explicitly. Only that I inferred such an implication from your posts. In any event, I am glad that you at least concede that the use of the term “thugs” need not be construed as racist.

            Racism isn’t “cute” or “funny.”

            Thanks for pointing that out. Where would we be without having you to instruct us?

            If you can’t see the racism that is in a good number of these comments… then maybe you’re not looking objectively.

            Ah, more patronizing, self-righteous condescension. Anyone who disagrees with you must– at the very least– be biased and pursuing a (nefarious) political agenda, if not “racist” and/or any number of nasty pejoratives. But you and those who agree with you have no bias, no prejudices, no agenda. You are completely objective, having no other interest or motivation than the pursuit of truth, justice and peace.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          arguing that “the animals” is not a racial pejorative is not a good argument on which to hang your hat.

          • webot says:

            “wolf of Wall street” , Son of Sam, Jack the Ripper, Nazis.

            all animals in my book.

            some people cry racism to deflect from the situation and go off topic.

            Others are tired of it.

    12. Barbara says:

      Response to Zeus:

      Bad seed comment…you are correct, but more apples are red than green.

    13. Lisa says:

      An adolescent who is committing violent crimes clearly needs to be adjudicated through the juvenile justice system, prevented from harming others, and receive essential therapeutic and other necessary services.

      But as a parent and native West Sider, I am appalled at the vitriolic comments about a 13 year old.
      It is in fact a tragedy that a 13 year old is committing violence. And assuming this is, sadly, the result of serious long-term family dysfunction, also a tragedy for this child.

    14. James says:

      If not being racist means being okay with my family and friends gettinng mugged, assaulted and ocassionally murdered than I am the biggest racist in the world.

      Who is standing up for the 13 year old kid that was doing what he was supposed too and had to get choked and threatened or the countless people that were attacked by this little punk?

      The government gives all parents the chance to keep your kids out of trouble. If by 17-18 years old, you are unable too than the government built these fabulous facilities for like minded individuals, called prison.

      • Independent says:

        (I don’t mean to single you out; I am just using your post as an opportunity to vent.)

        “doing what he was supposed too [sic]”

        “If by 17-18 years old, you are unable too [sic]”

        If I see one more instance of ‘to’ and ‘too’ being mixed-up…

        I just cannot get over how prevalent this error is! I see it everywhere I look on the Internet.

        We are indeed doomed, as the title of a book by a certain intrepid dissident declares. And for far more (and worse) reasons than the wretched state of our language (troubling as that is in its own right).