PELHAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A suspected robber in Westchester County has struck again. He’s apparently following commuters at night after they get off Metro-North trains.
Pelham police are looking for a man who walks behind riders after they get off trains along the New Haven line, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.
“What’s unique about this is, each case, the victims do not know they’re being followed until the very last few seconds,” Pelham Police Det. John Hynes said. “And, what he did was he ordered the victims down on to the ground. And that’s when he removes their property.”
Mainly, the suspect seems to be going for cell phones and wallets, though he did take one woman’s wedding ring. He has not used any credit cards he’s confiscated, police said.
Police believe he has struck at least seven times since January, in Pelham, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle and Harrison. In Pelham, the village has sent out an e-mail alert, so everyone knows about the potential danger.
“And you just always have to watch your back. You really have to be protected. You know? You have to make sure no one is following. You’re always looking over your shoulder now,” Pelham resident Allison Bishop said.
Police said the suspect is between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot, about 170 pounds and usually wears a black ski mask. They said sometimes he wears a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants.
And, he always flashes a gun.
“If you something suspicious, a vehicle — call us,” Det. Hynes said. “Call us. I’d rather go there, check it and let it turn out to be nothing, than not calling us and it turns out to be something.”
People are being urged by police to walk with others.
In the latest incident, the third such robbery at the Pelham Metro-North station, police said the gunman followed the established pattern.
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams On The Story
“I’ve heard that people have been coming home and walking home late at night and have been attacked and the gentleman has had a weapon,” said one woman.
“We’ve been saying, you know, everybody should make sure to have a, you know, a partner,” another person added.
“You never know who could be around you. You never know what’s behind you. You always have to keep a watch out,”said another.
Authorities told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey that commuter hold-ups have also taken place in East Orange, N.J., where women have been targeted while walking home from bus stops. However, police have not said whether those attacks were related to what has happened in Westchester.
Police said that the suspect has been striking at night. He approaches women from behind and threatens them with a knife. The suspect has even been so brazen as to follow one woman into her building.
Davonne Hemphill told CBS 2 that she isn’t taking any chances.
“I’m calling my dad to pick me up from work,” she said.
If you know anything about these attacks, please call the Westchester Public Safety tip line at 800-898-TIPS.
Are you concerned about the robberies? Sound off in our comments section below.