Burglary Spree Hits the West 80s; Police Searching for Team of Four Who Travel On Rooftops


Four people wanted in connection with a burglary pattern. Surveillance images released by police.

A rash of burglaries has spread through one section of the neighborhood in recent days, and police sent out images of people wanted in connection with the crime spree.

Between Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 22, seven residential burglaries have occurred between Central Park West and Broadway, from 82nd to 85th Street.

“In all the incidents, the unidentified individuals use either a back door, fire escape or roof to gain access to the residences where they remove electronics, credit cards and other valuables,” police said.

Here is a map of most of the spots they hit, via the 20th precinct (click to enlarge).

The photos at the top show the individuals using a credit card taken from 490 Columbus Avenue on Saturday, December 14 at approximately 4 p.m., police said. The 36-year-old female victim returned to her residence at 9 p.m. that night and discovered her electronics, jewelry had been removed.

Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin, the commander of the 20th precinct, sent us some tips for residents in light of the crimes:

“If you have a fire escape or a patio with a sliding door, please ensure that all the windows and doors have locks that are in good working order, and that you lock them when you leave your home.”

“These perpetrators have been crossing rooftops, moving from building to building. If you think someone is on your roof that does not belong, call 911 immediately. Help the responding officers gain access to the building, if necessary. And it’s OK if the person ends up being up there legitimately—you are NOT bothering us. It’s our job to investigate such things.”

“We strongly recommend that you urge your landlord or condo/co-op board to install high quality HD cameras in your building that cover ALL access points. We have a Crime Prevention Officer here that offers free assessments of a building’s security. This is a service that we want property managers to avail themselves of. They should simply call the 20th Precinct and ask for the Crime Prevention Officer. Leave a message if he is not in, and he will return your call. We also encourage individuals to install video cameras in their homes that cover the front door and windows.”

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of the males is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips.

NEWS | 24 comments | permalink
    1. Rob G. says:

      I’m sure when these guys are caught, they will be more than happy to show up for their court dates after being released without bail. Thanks, justice reforms!

    2. uwsider says:

      A few years ago, on a rainy night, I heard steps on my roof and as I tried to check what it was, I noticed someone was shining a flashlight through one of my skylights. I called my landlord thinking it was somehow him or a worker, and he said I should call the police, as no one was scheduled to be up there. Whoever was there kept looking for a way to enter my place, and got spooked when I turned all my lights on. I immediately called 911, and after about 5-10 minutes of no response, I called again just so they are alert of the issue. They only arrived 20 minutes after my second call. NY’s finest, they didn’t want to check beyond my skylight and they even left telling me that I shouldn’t take so long to call 911, when in fact it was their delay. Long story short, don’t expect the police to get these guys red-handedly.

      • Scott says:

        Yeah, my experience with cops is that if you report a crime their first impulse is to somehow put you on the defensive. It’s almost like they don’t want to do their jobs.

    3. Denton says:

      “We also encourage individuals to install video cameras in their homes that cover the front door and windows.”

      Which will be promptly removed by the burglars.

    4. Christine E says:

      WSR, can you add the 20th police station to the map? 120 W 83rd. It will then be all the more alarming and brazen!

      Also I wonder if the 24th released similar data. 86th Street is the border for 20th/24th. The pattern of the map indicates the thieves also hit the upper 80s. And maybe beyond!

    5. Backtothe80s says:

      I’d like to share some tips as well: We “strongly recommend” and “urge” the precinct to do its job and better police the UWS. Even better than having cameras to record the slew of robberies going on here would be to have active policing that disincentivize perps from acting in the first place. This neighborhood is clearly out of control.

    6. Enough is enough says:

      I’d like to run a quick survey within this group: when was the last time you saw the NYPD walking around in the neighborhood? Not transit people, who know too well how to maximize city revenues, but the actual police force. I simple cannot recall, either by foot or by car. These burglars took note of the same – note how they basically attacked buildings ALL AROUND THE 20th PRECINCT on 82nd st. Malin, do you get the message? Time to get out of the precinct and work. Those dozen cars parked around the precinct do nothing for us.

      • Rob G. says:

        The cops can do only what the Mayor and City Council allow them to do, and they haven’t been allowed to do their jobs since since 2013. Our only play is to bombard the Mayor’s and CM Rosenthal’s offices with phone calls if we have any hope to change things, which is unlikely given the current “progressive“ wave that currently grips the city. But don’t forget when the next elections come around.

      • KS says:

        I actually saw 2 police officers walking down Broadway today in the early evening- I was actually shocked to see them as I never do!

      • Llo says:

        I have never, once, seen police patrolling on foot in the upper 90s of West End Ave since 1994.

      • Christine E says:

        A police car is regularly parked in front of the Duane Reade at 90th and Amsterdam, at least two nights a week. Unlike CVS, Duane Reade refuses to hire security guards. So the police park there as a deterrent. And at times several police cars pull up with lights blazing and the police jump out and go running. So yes I do see police in action.

      • George says:

        Almost daily I see police on Columbus in the 80s, but of course the station is right there.

      • uwsider says:

        granted, nowadays (more than in the past), there are more plainclothes cops around, and often they are not too hard to see if you pay attention – e.g. at movie theaters. I think its wrong to assume there is not enough policing, there is (even more than before), the question is the efficiency and quality of policing.

      • Anonymous says:

        Quick count of patrol cars parked outside the 20 precinct today Dec 27 at 4pm: 10. I’m not rounding it up, I counted them twice. Haven’t seen officers walking around or patrolling the W80s this year at all

    7. pumpkinpie says:

      I occasionally (EXTREMELY rarely) see 1 or 2 mounted police officers on horseback headed North on West End Avenue where I live. I’ve lived in the neighborhood since 1972 and literally do not remember the last time I saw a police officer “walking the beat”.

    8. Drew S says:

      Man…. How many scared white people are on this site? Just look at the comments… “Neighborhood is out of control” “crime is taking over!” . Like Jesus Christ… Do you people also buy into Trumpist rhetoric? Maybe turn your attention on our garbage public schools and social support systems and we can affect change collectively. But alas that won’t happen, so carry on with your bubbles.

      • Nonsense says:

        Drew – What does race (“scared white people”) have to do with whether neighbors are feeling alarmed with the recent increase in robberies? (36% up year to date if you check the 20th precinct stats by the way). School quality is a necessary medium term measure but it does not mean that a crime spree must be accepted quietly with a shrug as you seem to suggest – regardless of what your race or mine is

    9. Justice for the Victims says:

      Criminals can’t stop laughing when thinking about how easy it’s going to get for them come Jan 1st with the judicial reform!
      Your naïveté fellow UWSiders have led to this, and now you’re seeing the consequences. As someone once said “elections have consequences”…

    10. UWSneighbor says:

      Based on the comments above it sounds like the 24th precinct (which is the one responsible for streets north of W86th st) is doing less of a lame job than the 20th precinct, which is in charge of UWS south of 86th st. I for once have not seen any policemen walking around the upper 70s-low 80s in well over a year. I see traffic cops issuing tickets on Broadway at least once a week but never a policeman walking around the neighborhood.

    11. Che says:

      Our ‘hood is normally safe, one could go out anytime with reasonable precautions (like against bikers on sidewalks or else riding in the direction opposite to traffic). The vibe on the streets seems somewhat…acerbic. We’re trying to avoid the super-craziness that are worse, everywhere else. And it’s Christmas, the season for robbery, too? I’m not ordering goods online until after New Year – don’t want anything to do with package theft anxiety. Probably, a lot of folks stay in, recently, go out strictly focused to do what they must, then come straight back home. Cool. I’m not the scared type, but if I had a bed instead of a futon, I’d gladly hide under it.

    12. William Free says:

      A little bit of common sense would go a long way to curb this kind of theft. Lock your doors and windows. It’s winter, so take your AC units out of the window, especially if it’s on a fire escape. It’s easy to push in an AC unit for entry into an apartment.

    13. Ronke' says:

      I formerly lived in the quiet picturesque neighborhood of Hudson Heights for over 25 years, (four different apartments) until I won a lawsuit to get succession rights to an apartment on the UWS. I thought it was strange that one day a worker in the last apartment where I lived, said to me “you and the guy on the sixth floor are the only one with alarm systems. I read between the lines to mean, anyone will think twice about trying to come into my apartrment.

      Well, I would like to do is to share my tips for home security in passing. Your best sense of security is an ADT home alarm system that monitors your home 24/7. An ADT technician will come out and assess your security needs and they will make suggestions accordingly.

      What triggered my interest in this topic is, I noticed that someone mentioned having a skylight. I had a skylight in one of my apartments in the kitchen that was secured by a heavy steel gate, as I lived on the top floor of my building. My windows were also secured to prevent any unwanted intrusion. As a matter of fact, the motion sensors went off, as soon as there was a detection of any intrusion on or around the roof. Fortunately, my former landlord was astute enough to secure the roof of the building…and if anyone decided to go to the roof, it was a warning “At your own risk”.

      In terms of the UWS, I live in a high rise doorman building, but you can rest assured, before I moved into my apartment, ADT Security Services were called to do an assessment and secure my apartment. Home security to me is the most important issue for urban living. One last word make sure that you do not follow those companies who advertise a free alarm, the monitoring for most of these systems is done by ADT, so why not got to the leader in security systems.

    14. Joanne Nasuti says:

      Crime will continue to escalate until we have a Mayor who has a healthy relationship with the police. Not one who criminalizes all of them. The police have zero motivation to do their jobs. Criminals feel emboldened. We need tough on crime mayors again.