NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was an attempted mugging of an NYPD chaplain rabbi on Tuesday morning.
It happened on the Upper West Side.
Meanwhile in Brooklyn, there were calls for more resources after a church caretaker was shot dead, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.
At 5:45 a.m., 84-year-old NYPD Chief Chaplain Rabbi Alvin Kass was out walking in the area of West 108th Street and Riverside Drive, when police said a man approached him claiming he was hungry and needed money.
But he didn’t just ask, they said, he attempted to take.
Police said the man went through the rabbi’s pockets and removed his wallet, which then fell to the ground. When it opened it displayed the rabbi’s NYPD shield. Police said when the man saw that he took off.
Kass was not injured and nothing was taken.
As detectives on scene looked around for surveillance video, people who live and work in the area reacted.
“I think it’s a great area. I’m not shocked. It has happened. I mean, when I first moved into the area in 1981 it happened a lot more, so it’s a pretty safe neighborhood. But you know, things happen everywhere,” Upper West Side resident Nick Noies said.
“To me, when I’m around here it’s always calm, so it is surprising,” Jainee Smith added.
Police located and arrested the suspect Tuesday evening. They say 39-year-old Rafael Diaz is charged with attempted assault, attempted robbery and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Earlier today, our 84-year-old Chief Chaplain, Rabbi Kass, was the victim of an attempted robbery. In under 12 hours our @NYPDDetectives were able to find & arrest the suspect.
Another quick arrest for our officers, who just 2 days ago made a quick arrest in an attempted rape. pic.twitter.com/zMZ43oxrNh
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) September 1, 2020
Over at Glorious Church of God in Christ on Halsey Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, a rally was held for the 62-year-old caretaker who was shot and killed on Monday,
“How do you kill somebody in a church? How do you do that?” community activist Tony Herbert said.
“He was a great guy people loved him in the community. He not only worked in the church, but he helped everybody. They called him the mayor of the street,” another person said.
Police said they are zeroing in on a suspect.
“We know who the perpetrator is. We have him identified. We don’t have him in custody yet, but it’s just a matter of time,” NYPD Brooklyn North Chief Judith Harrison said.
“These elected officials, where the hell are you? Where are you? Why are you so quiet and bodies are dropping in our street?” Herbert added.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former cop, was there commenting on word that beginning Tuesday the NYPD is authorizing a small amount of overtime through the end of the summer that would add hundreds of officers in precincts that have seen the largest rise in violence.
“It’s more than just overtime. The same way you deploy resources when there is a terrorist act abroad, our community is living in terror,” Adams said.
The group said violence in the area has become too normalized and they fear it’s only going to continue.
Anyone with information about the second case is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.
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