NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are investigating two separate incidents involving EMTs being robbed in Brooklyn this week.
Their job is to respond when we need them the most, and they do, but now emergency medical technicians are being targeted by thieves.
“It’s very unfortunate because they’re just doing their job,” one man said. “They’re coming to an unknown situation just trying to help.”
The most recent incident took place around 2:30 a.m. Saturday inside the Cooper Park Houses, a public housing complex in East Williamsburg.
Police say two FDNY EMTs were responding to a call about a person having a seizure. That’s when a man pulled a gun on them while in an elevator and demanded they hand over their radios and medical bags.
"EMS workers play a pivotal role in keeping New Yorkers safe during emergency situations. Our detectives are committed to bringing the individuals responsible for the two robberies in one week against them to justice." – @NYPDDetectives pic.twitter.com/QTKhq0dVXM
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 12, 2020
A similar incident happened Monday night in Brownsville.
Police say two hospital EMTs were also robbed while in an elevator inside the Seth Low Houses. It’s believed a man hit the emergency stop button and demanded the EMTs hand over their medical bags, tablets and radios.
In that case, the EMTs were responding to a call for a person having trouble breathing.
Now police say both incidents turned out to be bogus 911 calls.
The union that represents the FDNY EMTs tells CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon the incidents are incredibly disturbing.
“It’s troublesome. It’s one of those things that we’ve been screaming how dangerous our job is for so long. And now it seems to be escalating,” said Michael Greco, vice president of the Local 2507. “We get assaulted at an alarming rate on a day-to-day basis to begin with, and now these assaults are escalating almost to felony levels, and you hear about a young crew just out of the street, just out onto the street, having to deal with actual guns being pulled on them and being robbed just for responding to a 911 call for help. It’s, it’s scary.”
Police say no one was injured in either incident, but ambulance workers are now being warned to keep their guard up.
“We’re worried that this is going to create other instances of our members being in bad situations,” Greco said.
In a statement, the fire commissioner said in part, “It is despicable that anyone would use 911 for a fake medical call, threaten the lives of EMTs and steal the tools they use to save lives.”
“Now when they come, they’re not gonna want to come to take care of us because they’re going to be afraid to come,” one woman said.
It’s unclear whether the two incidents are connected. Police are still investigating.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police.
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