2005-02-04 / Front Page

Teens Go On Wild Spree

By Brian Magoolaghan

A police officer brings in a teen who allegedly robbed and beat a man in Far Rockaway.  A police officer brings in a teen who allegedly robbed and beat a man in Far Rockaway.

A pack of teenage boys – some dressed in dark clothes and ski masks – went on a violent crime spree in Far Rockaway last Saturday night leaving at least two battered victims and damaged property in their wake, officials said.

One of the victims, who was interviewed by The Wave this week, said he did everything the thugs told him to do – handing over his cell phone and wallet containing cash – and was punched several times in the face anyway.

“It happened very fast,” said the 22-year-old utility worker and college student who asked only to be identified by his last name, Schwartz.

Schwartz, who is not a Rockaway resident, said he was here to help a relative relocate.

Before turning around to load some furniture into his car, which was parked in front of 13-34 Virginia Street, he noticed a group of seven teens walking up the block. The next thing he knew, he said, he was surrounded and grabbed from behind.

“They told me, ‘Shut up! Give me your wallet! Give me your phone,”’ Schwartz said. Disoriented and afraid, he tried to run away after he was punched in the face.

“It was definitely scary. I was definitely taken back,” he recalled. “I never experienced something like this.”

Schwartz tried to flee, but his feet slid on the snow and ice-covered ground.

“I almost fell,” said Schwartz, who went barreling onto private property in his attempt to get away. Next, he was tackled into a van. Fearing that the beating would escalate he told his attackers they could have whatever they wanted.

The pack of teens fled on foot as neighbors, alerted by the commotion, began to emerge from their homes. Schwartz returned to his car, which he had been forced to leave open and unattended, to find that his side-view mirror was apparently damaged using one of the pieces of furniture he was trying to load into the vehicle when the attack began.

Police responded to the scene, and Schwartz toured the area in the back of a patrol car looking for the group. Two teens were eventually arrested, but police from the 101 Precinct said five others were unapprehended.

Schwartz was able to identify Gerard Carter, 17, of 1518 Beach 12 Street and Kevin Lawrence, 17, of 149 Lawrence Avenue, Inwood, who were arrested.

Police recovered Schwartz’s silver and black Motorola V600 phone as Carter tried to ditch it, according to police sources.

Law enforcement sources said the pair was charged with second degree robbery and fifth degree criminal possession of stolen property. Queens Criminal Court Judge Suzanne Melendez set bail at $2,500, and their return date for February 17, according to District Attorney Richard A. Brown’s office.

Sources said there was another victim, who was clubbed with a stick in a separate attack. Schwartz said he believed there were two others victims of similar attacks. Carter and Lawrence are charged only in the attack on Schwartz.

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