Suspect puts man in chokehold in Central Park, takes money

ByRenee Stoll WABC logo
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Suspect sought in Central Park robbery
Renee Stoll reports robberies in Central Park have nearly doubled so far this year.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Police are looking for a suspect who attacked a man in Central Park Thursday night, as robberies in the park continue to rise.

At 10 p.m., the victim was walking through the Rambles in Central Park near Transverse Road Number Two and West Drive. The suspect, according to the New York City Police Department, approached him and said, "I am hungry, do you have any money?" The victim replied no and walked away.

Police said the suspect then came up behind the 53-year old victim and put him in a chokehold. The victim passed out and when he woke up 20 to 30 minutes later, his wallet and backpack, containing glasses, keys, gift cards, jewelry and cash, were gone.

The victim went to Roosevelt Hospital by private means the next day.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call 800-577-TIPS.

Just as we were getting our story together about robberies increasing in Central Park, ready to talk about one violent mugging, we heard police called to another one Saturday at 109th and East Drive.

Police could be seen canvassing the northern end of Central Park after a call for an armed robber who allegedly struck during busy daylight hours, came in.

So far police have not confirmed the information and have released few details on the incident.

When we checked the number of robberies in the park, we found last year there were only 10 from January 1st to July 26th. This year in that same time period there are now 19.

"That's frightening," said park visitor Bill McBain. "As you say it's happening 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m. It's not 1 o'clock in the morning."

An NYPD source tells us patrols have increased and a command center has been a staple in the northern end of the park for days on end.

But some park-goers say they're hard-pressed to find a cop themselves.

"I just ran about five and a half miles. Not one police officer, not one," said park visitor David Labiner. "I've never seen it like this. Not one on a scooter, not one in a car, not one in a van. You would think they'd be more prevalent, more visibility. See something, say something."