In a shocking early morning raid, armed robbers stole multiple luxury SUVs from the Gotham West parking garage on W45th Street in Hell’s Kitchen.
Staff at the garage at 550 W45th Street reported a group of gunmen approached the overnight attendant sometime between 5:15 and 5:30am this morning. They stole three Mercedes and BMW SUVs before fleeing toward 12th Avenue. Citizen app said: “police reported searching for a carjacking suspect who arrived in a black BMW and stole a black Mercedes-Benz with NY license plate JRB6284 at gunpoint.”
“They robbed the overnight guy at gunpoint. It was awful – he’s ok, but he had never experienced that before,” a parking manager told W42ST. He believed that police had managed to recover two of the cars, but one SUV remained unaccounted for. He said the investigation was ongoing and police had spent time at the garage reviewing video security footage.
Neighbors reported police were on the scene Monday morning as workers arrived at Gotham West Market. Police were also canvassing the area. W42ST reached out to the NYPD for further details and received the following report: “On Monday, September 19, 2022 at approximately 0527 hours police responded to a 911 call of a robbery in the vicinity of West 45 Street and 11 Avenue (GMC Parking) within the confines of the Midtown North Precinct. Upon arrival officers were informed by three unidentified individuals entered the location, displayed a firearm and forcibly removed four vehicles. There are no reported injuries as a result of this incident. There are no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing.”
Hell’s Kitchen resident Lata Islam, whose car was one of the vehicles stolen, spoke to W42ST about the experience. Islam, who lives in the building adjacent to the garage and is a monthly parking customer was getting her son ready to meet the school bus when her husband was contacted by the parking garage staff. “They called around 8am, which was very unusual,” said Islam. “They told my husband that the car wasn’t in the garage, and that he should come down to talk to them. We immediately checked our car’s location on the remote start vehicle app — and it was turned off,” she added.
“The police have been trying to track the location, but nobody can find it — the people who take cars are very professional, and disconnected the location system right away — they know what to do,” said Islam. Still waiting on updates, Islam hoped that her car — which she had recently purchased — might be recovered, though she told W42ST that she knew the chances were slim. “We haven’t gotten any updates from the police, which is unfortunate,” she said. “We just want our car back — it’s very expensive to get a car nowadays.”
Reports of carjackings have been on the rise nationwide. In New York, there have been 964 reports of Grand Larceny (the category carjacking falls into) in 2022 thus far – an 18.9 percent increase from 2021’s 811 total incidents.
At a meeting before the Senate Judiciary Committee in March, National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) president and CEO David Glawe joined lawmakers and law enforcement officials to draw awareness to the national issue.
“A disturbing subplot to these bleak numbers is that many carjackings are often committed in furtherance of other serious violent crimes, and many carjackings are committed by juveniles — some as young as 11 years old,” Glawe said. In a New York Times investigation into the rise of carjacking perpetuated by youth offenders, experts cited the stress and boredom of the pandemic and lure of social media as influential to the trend.
“A thrill, almost like a fad,” community organizer Warees Majeed told the Times. “When you don’t have activities in their communities, everything’s shut down, young people are going to find a way to entertain themselves. It’s recreation, that’s what it is.”
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