Thursday, February 25, 2010

Armed Robbery at Local Synagogue

By Patricia Adams

The Rockwood Park Jewish Center was the scene of an armed robbery early Friday morning. Two gunmen took more than $7000 in cash from a card game in the basement of the synagogue.

According to police, the 106th Precinct responded to a call reporting a man with a gun at the center located on 84th Street in Howard Beach at about 3:35 a.m. Officers arriving at the scene were met by seven complainants who stated they were robbed at gunpoint by two black men, wearing masks, and brandishing black firearms.

One witness at the scene, identified only as Tony M., told police he was exiting through the rear door at the center after playing cards and was accosted by two perpetrators who came from behind him. Holding a gun to the man’s head, the bandits forced another patron to open the door, allowing them inside.

The men ordered all the card players onto the floor and proceeded to take approximately $7,000 in cash from the victims according to police. During the robbery, there was an alleged altercation between one of the gunmen and a victim who got one of the suspect’s knife and stabbed him with it before the two masked men fled the scene. The perpetrators drove away in an unknown direction in a black SUV with tinted windows--the license plate was not reported.

After fleeing, the men drove to Elmhurst Hospital where the injured suspect sought medical attention for his stab wounds. Hospital personnel recognized the seriousness of the situation and alerted police. An arrest was subsequently made.

President of the RPJC Bernard Fisch was contacted for comment about the incident and referred The Forum to the police. “I don’t know anything. I have nothing to say,” Fisch said before abruptly hanging up the phone.

Police are still investigating the crime and sources say the investigation may extend outside the precinct if the Public Morals division decides to investigate why there was a card game at the premises to begin with.

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