NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD announced a major crackdown on gang violence in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn on Tuesday, with the arrest of nearly three dozen alleged members.
As WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported, 35 alleged members of the Violent Hoodstarz street gang — based in Bronwsville — were arrested and charged in 15 separate indictments. Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill said the crimes range from narcotics distribution and weapons possession to sophisticated credit card fraud.
“Using stolen credit cards to purchase everything from American Girl dolls to Summer Jam concert tickets. This is the end of the Hoodstarz violence,” O’Neill said.
Assistance Chief of Detectives James Essig said there has been a sharp increase in credit card fraud among gangs who use it as a means to finance their violent activity.
“Sixteen have been involved in shooting incidents, 17 have been arrested for weapons possession, and 25 have been arrested for robberies,” he said.
As 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported, investigators used new technology and social media to take down the Hoodstarz.
“We did our first Facebook warrant using private messaging,” acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said that while the gang allegedly fueled their lifestyle using the stolen cards, the bust was about more than just fancy cars and clothes.
“In many of the conversations we intercepted, the conversation discussed buying guns, and getting money to buy more guns,” he said.