NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was a coldhearted crime in Central Park.
Three young kids were roughed up earlier this week and their sleds were stolen by three bullies, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
The victims described the ringleader of the trio as an older teen twice their size. One of the thieves punched a 12-year-old girl in the side of the head after she asked for the sled back.
“That they would punch her in the face, it just seems completely out of line and just crazy,” said Katy Taintor, an Upper West Side resident. “It just seems crazy.”
The incident happened around 5:30 p.m. this past Monday in the park near 86th Street. Initially, the victims trusted the bullies, who they said tricked them by asking to borrow their sliders valued at $30 each.
“These kids were actually nice and they were sharing, and the perpetrators felt that they could take these sleds and perpetuate violence, which is horrible,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates.
The attack on the kids was the first of two violent crimes in the same area of the park that day. Just a few hours later, two assailants threatened a 38-year-old man with a knife, kicked him and punched him in the face before stealing his iPhone.
That incident happened around 8:45 p.m. Monday. The two suspects were wearing ski masks, police said.
Police do not believe the two incidents are linked. All the suspects are on the loose.
Croft wants the city to fund more Parks Enforcement officers.
“We’ve been calling for increased park enforcement presence,” Croft said. “The elected officials really need to step up and fund these positions.”
Croft urges parents to teach kids to be aware of their park surroundings.
Meanwhile, Matthew Belsky, 9, and Ryan Sachs, 10, said if they were approached for their sleds, they would probably hand them over.
“Just let them take it so you don’t get hurt,” Matthew said.