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Police Step Up Patrols After Armed Robbers Target Metro-North Riders Walking Home

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Commuters leave the train station in New Rochelle. (credit: CBS 2)

Commuters leave the train station in New Rochelle. (credit: CBS 2)

MAMARONECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police are on alert around train stations in the Westchester County.

After getting off their trains, Metro-North riders are being attacked in neighborhoods while walking home.

The latest robbery happened on a street in Mamaroneck, where a 59-year-old man was victimized.

Around corners, on dark streets, just as Westchester commuters are getting off trains, armed robbers are targeting unsuspecting victims and attacking them from behind.

“Makes me want to walk home a little quicker,” New Rochelle resident Justin Halle told CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis.

In New Rochelle, more than a dozen attacks have been reported since the new year. One at them happened in the back of a Chase Bank, where a teen was beaten and robbed.

Another attack occurred Thursday night in nearby Harrison. A man had to be treated in an ambulance after being held up at gunpoint and assaulted. Again, it happened just blocks from the train.

“I think it has something to do with the economy. It  seems like there’s a rash of robberies — the likes of which we haven’t seen in Westchester,” said Jack Plunkett of Mamroneck.

Police are stepping patrols in Mamaroneck and increasing their presence while trying to connect the string of attacks.

“His method of operation…telling his victims to get down on the ground, face down on the ground and threatening them with a weapon,” New Rochelle Police Capt. Joseph Schaller said.

Schaller said the more serious incidents appear to be by the same attacker — in a black ski mask, dressed in black, armed with a handgun. Robberies are up 100 percent in New Rochelle from this time last year.

“We, at this point, kind of attribute it to the weather. Last year we were in the middle of several blizzards and snowstorms,” Schaller said.

Adding to the relatively mild weather now, neighbors say the lack of neighborhood street lights in the area make the walk home from the train, a risky one at night.

Commuters are being urged to walk in groups, and in well-lit areas.

Have these attacks made you take additional precautions?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

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