INWOOD, Manhattan (WABC) -- Police are investigating another incident involving an off-duty NYPD officer being robbed an assaulted in New York City, and authorities are hoping surveillance video of the suspects will lead to an arrest.
Three armed men wearing dark clothing and ski masks jumped the 26-year-old officer and his two cousins while they walked to their car from El Jefe Sports Cantina on Dyckman Street around 2:15 a.m. Friday.
The suspects emerged from a silver SUV, and one pistol-whipped a 32-year-old victim in the head when he attempted to run.
The three stole the off duty officer's phone and wallet, and a chain from one of his cousins.
Police say the same three suspects, in the same silver SUV, later mugged a 44-year-old man in front of 432 West 203rd Street around 4 a.m., stealing his car keys, phone and wallet and then driving off in his vehicle, a 2022 Mercedes Benz GLS 450 SUV.
These two muggings have similarities to the 19-incident Bronx/Queens robbery pattern involving 48-year-old Officer Muhammed Chowdhury, who was off duty when he was mugged. But so far, detectives do not believe they are linked.
Chowdhury was ambushed while jogging on Olmestead Avenue earlier this week, suffering a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.
His family says he is conscious, alert, and able to communicate in his hospital room, and that they 18-year veteran of the force was actually safer at work than on the street.
"We never expected this to happen in this area, right where it happened I go to high school there," nephew Jahangir Ahmed said. "He's almost close to retirement, in two years, and nothing like this ever happened to him."
A rally was held Thursday night at the same intersection where the off-duty police officer was beaten and robbed. Residents demanded justice and change to a system they say benefits criminals.
Police say they now believe a larger group of suspects are a part of that violent spree, not just the three or four people caught on camera in the Chowdhury incident.
"We have 19 crimes that we have conclusively linked to the pattern right now," NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said. "We continue to look at other similar crimes that have occurred. We look at the evidence available in those cases and see if they are connected to the same group of individuals. The challenge here is we believe this is a large group of individuals, its more than just three people that are involved, and they kind of trade off with each other. It's one of the perpetual problems that we have around recidivism this year."
Police are expecting the number of incident in the Bronx and Queens robbery pattern to increase significantly.
Anyone with information in any of the incidents is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
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