Feb. 22, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
City Councilwoman Julie Won is calling for residents to walk in groups and to try to avoid walking alone at night following a spate of gunpoint robberies in her western Queens district over the last 10 days.
Won took to social media late Tuesday to ask residents to be more vigilant following two muggings occurring at gunpoint Tuesday morning, Feb. 21, with one incident occurring in Sunnyside and the other in Woodside.
The first incident took place on 44th Street at 11:15 a.m., where a 33-year-old man was set upon, while the second occurred around 15 minutes later on 49th Street in Woodside with the victim being a 59-year-old man, according to police. It is understood that the same two suspects carried out both robberies.
The muggings come after three similar incidents in the neighborhood last week.
“Our community’s safety is our top priority,” wrote Won, who represents the 26th Council district that covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and a portion of Astoria.
“Please be vigilant — walk in groups when possible and avoid walking alone late at night unless absolutely necessary.”
The lawmaker said that in light of the crimes, the 108th Precinct has increased its patrol of the area with extra marked and unmarked vehicles, as well as boots on the ground.
Won is also calling for residents to report all emergencies to 911 and wrote that the 108th Precinct holds its monthly community meeting every fourth Tuesday at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-31 39th St.
Our office was informed about two robberies this morning on 44th St and 49th St in Sunnyside. The armed suspects had firearms and were seen driving a white Volvo suburban and took cell phones, wallets, and cash from the two victims. (1/5)
— Council Member Julie Won (@CMJulieWon) February 21, 2023
In the first incident on Feb. 21, the 33-year-old victim was walking along 44th Street, between Skillman Avenue and Barnett Avenue, when he was approached by two suspects who asked him for the time.
The two suspects, described by police as Black males, then pulled out a gun and asked the man to “hand over everything,” according to authorities.
The victim gave the alleged perpetrators his cell phone and a wallet that contained $130 cash, police said.
Around 15 minutes later, the same suspects allegedly robbed the 59-year-old victim who was washing his car on 49th St. in Woodside, between 47th Avenue and 48th Avenue near Calvary Cemetery, according to police.
The perpetrators approached the victim, displayed a gun and then demanded he hand over all his money, cops said.
They then pushed and pulled the man, causing his pants to rip, the NYPD said.
They stole his wallet before fleeing the scene in a white colored Volvo SUV, with a registration plate of KSD4303. The man’s wallet contained $30 cash and several credit cards, police said.
Neither victim was injured, police said.
Tuesday’s robberies come days after a 41-year-old man was attacked by four suspects dressed in black ski masks and hoodies on the corner of Barnett Avenue and 43rd Street in Sunnyside.
It followed the mugging of a 40-year-old victim on Bliss Street, between Skillman Avenue and 39th Avenue on Feb. 15.
The recent crime spree started with the attack on a longtime Sunnyside resident in the early hours of Feb. 12. The victim was beaten and robbed by three suspects while walking home from work early along 44th Street between Skillman and Barnett Ave. It is the same stretch of road where the first of yesterday’s muggings took place.
The news that police will be increasing patrols in the neighborhood comes after Won recently signed a “Statement of Values” pledge issued by the City Council’s Progressive Caucus which included a commitment to “do everything we can to reduce the size and scope” of the NYPD and City Correction Department (DOC).
The Queens/Sunnyside Post asked Won if she still maintains this position in light of the recent muggings in her district.
Won said that the current policing system is not enough to keep communities safe and called for an investment in holistic public safety solutions to prevent crime before it happens.
“As a Sunnyside resident and mom, our community’s safety is my top priority,” Won said in a statement.
“We need to invest in addressing poverty head-on, provide wrap-around services, affordable housing, mental health care, and cure violence programs, like Community Capacity Development, that all have a proven track record of preventing crime.
“We will continue working closely both with the local precincts, local cure violence organizations, and human service providers to address public safety comprehensively long-term.”
Meanwhile, a local boxing gym has announced that it will be hosting free weekly self-defense classes to help residents better protect themselves following the recent muggings.
Supreme Team Boxing, will run the classes at its 34-09 Queens Blvd. location every Wednesday at 6 p.m., according to a post put out by coach Nelson Maldonado, who owns the 4,000-square-foot establishment.
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