Detective Clues Cops To Mugging Suspect
A violent ex-con wanted for terrorizing women in Flushing, Elmhurst and Forest Hills for more than two weeks is behind bars thanks to an eagle-eyed detective who linked his current crimes with past criminal activities, law enforcement sources said.
Brian Rodriguez, 33, is charged with attacking 10 women since January 2, mostly at night, the sources said.
In each attack, under the cover of darkness, Rodriguez crept up on his victims and began punching them, the sources said. He then grabbed their cash and valuables and ran off in an unknown direction. Police said Rodriguez’ victims ranged in age from 22 to 62, police said.
A city detective who arrested Rodriguez in 2005 for a similar robbery spree told Queens robbery cops working the current cases to check out Rodriguez, the sources said. The detective’s instinct paid off when the robbery cops linked Rodriguez to the attacks and charged him with multiple counts of second-degree robbery.
Hunt ‘Car Trunk’ Gang
Queens police are searching for a gang of bandits who hold women captive during robberies even stuffing one victim into a car trunk during a holdup.
The robbery spree began on April 14, when two or three bandits forced a 63-year-old woman into the trunk of a car near the Grand Central Parkway in Utopia, police said. The thugs only released the woman after a female accomplice used the victim’s ATM card to withdraw money from her bank account.
Investigators believe the same suspects struck again on December 22, when two men forced a 59-year-old woman into her vehicle in Jamaica Estates. Police said the suspects stole the victim’s valuables and held her captive while a female accomplice used her ATM card to withdraw cash.
The thugs struck again on January 15 when a 68-year-old woman was pushed into her car in Briarwood where she was held until a female accomplice used her ATM card to withdraw cash from her bank account. Eyewitnesses who called 911 told investigators the woman was screaming for help as she was forced into her vehicle, police sources said.
Police said in each incident the suspects either flashed a gun at the victims or told the women they had a gun. Some of the suspects wore masks during the holdups. No one was injured in the attacks.