2018-08-15 / Features

NYPD Apprehends Machete Bandit Suspect

BY LIZ GOFF

Police have a suspect in custody in the case of a brazen, violent bandit who had been stalking young women at night, threatening them with a weapon before making off with their purses, cash, credit/debit cards and other valuables.

Police said the suspect, Donald Grier, 26, was targeting women in their 20s in a 14-block area between 29th Street and 43rd Street in Astoria at least five times since July 28. The off-duty employee of the city Parks Department was apprehended at 8 pm on August 13 and has so far been charged with one count of robbery, according to the NYPD.

The man searched for victims that look like “easy targets,” in a pattern of robberies that have grown more violent with each attack, police said.

The suspect struck first at about 11:30 pm on July 28, when he approached a 27-year-old woman in front of 34-19 33rd Street. He flashed a knife, and grabbed $120 from the victim’s purse and ran in an unknown direction.

He struck again at about 11:05 pm on July 29, when he approached a 23-yearold woman in front of 30-62 36th St. and demanded that she hand over her cash. When the victim hesitated, the man lifted his T-shirt to display a large knife, police said. The woman complied and the suspect took $60 cash from her purse and fled the scene.

The man struck for a third time at about 4:30 am on July 31, when he approached a 21-year-old woman at the corner of 43rd Street and 31st Avenue, punched the victim in the back of her head and choked her, then stole her wallet, which contained multiple credit cards and $30 cash. The woman went to New York Presbyterian Hospital of Queens where she was treated for cuts and scrapes, police said.

The suspect struck again at about 12:52 am on August 3, when he approached a 29-year-old woman who was entering her apartment building near 43rd Street and 34th Avenue, police said. He pushed the woman into the building lobby and attempted to grab her purse, but was somehow scared off and fled empty-handed.

The suspect’s latest reported robbery occurred at 12:43 am on August 5, when he approached a 28-year-old woman in front of 34-35 29th St., police said. He grabbed the woman from behind and put her in a chokehold, then grabbed her purse, which contained multiple credit cards and ran away.

A sixth woman told a TV news crew that the man accosted her overnight on August 7, near 43rd Street and 34th Avenue. She said the suspect made off with her purse, which contained credit and debit cards and an undisclosed amount of cash. The woman did not report the robbery to police—and did not cancel her credit cards until she received alerts of heavy activity on the cards. Police were unable to confirm details of the robbery because she had not filed a complaint.

The suspect had been wearing a surgical mask during the August 5 robbery, police said.

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