Kids On Bikes Attack Students

Following two attacks in 15 minutes, New Haven and Yale police planned to meet Tuesday to strategize about how to address the ongoing problem of kids on bikes committing crimes.

The two attacks occurred on Wall Street shortly before 6 p.m. Monday. About a half-dozen teen-aged boys riding bikes descended on an undergraduate there, then a bit later a graduate student. They “whacked them a couple of times” in each case but didn’t steal anything from them, according to Yale Assistant Police Chief Mike Patton. “They were wilding.” One cyclist was described as riding a “chopper-type” bike. The victims did not report injuries.

Police have been reporting similar attacks—in many cases but not all including robberies—all over town for months now. Click here to read about one recent example.

Jennifer Rivera Photo

Shortly after those attacks, at around 6:30 p.m. Monday, witnesses saw two men breaking into cars in the parking lot on the old New Haven Coliseum site. Soon Sgt. Eduardo Diaz “spot[ted] the suspects on DePalma Court and Chapel Street” and, with help of back-up, arrested the men “after a brief struggle,” according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman. Hartman said the arrestees, who are 33 and 43 years old and both live on Grand Avenue, had on them items stolen from the cars; and “the witnesses identified the two thieves.”

Then came the evening’s extended prime-time drama. Here’s what happened, according to Hartman (with his exact words in quotations marks):

Shortly before 9 p.m., two men, one with a gun, stole $6 from a couple at the pumps at Best Gas Station at 308 Whalley. The robbers fled in a black Audi. The victims gave cops the plate numbers; a search was on.

Soon after a driver of the same Audi hit a pedestrian near Fair Haven middle school, and fled.

The car was next spotted at 10:10 p.m. near the home of the Audi’s owner, by DeGale Field on Sherman Parkway. Officer Jose Luna thought it might turn up there; he was “lying in wait in a darkened corner” and pursued the car as it passed. He and two other officers “converged” on the car as it pulled over on Henry Street. The car’s three occupants obeyed commands to step out, and they were detained.

“Officer [Jared] Boyce spoke with the front seat passenger, who told him he was ‘‘Marcus Jones.’ Officer Boyce didn’t believe him. He then identified himself as ‘Roger Atkinson.’ Again, Officer Boyce didn’t believe him. He tried ‘Melvin Suggs.’ That wasn’t convincing.”

The man, who’s 27, came clean with his real name. He said “he’d lied to cover up his outstanding first degree escape from custody and drug warrant from Troop I from the Connecticut state police.”

One of the car’s passengers had blood on his sleeve.

The car’s owner and driver said “he’d received a call from his brother, claiming he’d been robbed on Whalley Avenue and needed a ride from Fair Haven to the hospital. He said he obliged his brother… and dropped him off a block from the emergency room. When asked why he didn’t deliver his brother directly to the hospital, he answered [that] he didn’t want his car to be involved.” He played funny about his brother’s name; then admitted the man he’d dropped off was “like” a brother.

Meanwhile, cops brought the victims of the original gas-station robbery by. They identified the Audi’s two passengers as the robbers. Cops arrested the two men. They also plan to charge the “brother” at the hospital with criminal impersonation; Massachusetts also has a warrant out for him for car theft.


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posted by: PH on December 11, 2012  6:59pm

Bike gangs have long been a problem in New Haven.  Guess it takes mugging a Yalie to get full attention.  We have had groups of teenagers walking down our street in the past few weeks, running up and down driveways looking for bikes.  Cyclical problem: kids steal bikes, get a rush, move on to using bikes for crimes on people and not just property.  Gotta stop this madness!

posted by: Cinderella on December 12, 2012  10:49am

Wall street is a dark, lonely street heavily used by me and many others who are NOT Yalies. The lamps need to be LED ones. Frankly, you can get mugged anytime, anywhere in New Haven and it’s a consequence of living in a deeply poor urban city that has clearly marked boundaries between social and economic classes.

posted by: FrontStreet on December 12, 2012  11:40am

Persistence and proliferation of street crime by kids on bikes (and motor dirt bikes) is like a slow intestinal bleed in the life of our city.  It seems insignificant but over time fatal, as it leads to corrosion of quality of life and increase in middle class tax payees leaving the city for the ‘burbs.  Dealing with quality of life crimes is as vital to the life of the city as controlling gang activity.

posted by: cdawson65 on December 13, 2012  7:34am

I recently moved from New Haven to Ithaca, New York.  The change in my quality of life has been remarkable.  People in Ithaca don’t drop trash everywhere.  There are no gangs on stolen bikes committing petty crimes.  There are no men buzzing around town on dirt bikes.  I lived in New Haven for 9 years and never really once understood how my friends who liked life in the “Elm City” came to that opinion.  New Haven is a tough place with far too much street crime, an entrenched mayor who rewards supporters and punishers rivals, and racial and economic chasms that create a poisonous atmosphere and too much crime.  There are some good things about New Haven, but the corrosive effects of crime, litter, and inequality far outweigh the positives.