NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thieves recently tried to steal an e-bike at gunpoint in Brooklyn, but came up empty.
The incident added to the growing concerns of delivery workers who are taking matters into their own hands, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Thursday.READ MORE: Community Advocates Say Hit-And-Run Death Of 24-Year-Old Delivery Worker In Manhattan Highlights The Perils Of The Job
The public is being asked to help identify two men on a scooter who, police said, brandished a gun while trying to steal an e-bike from a delivery worker on Monday on Cedar Street in Bushwick.
The suspects were not successful.
“We get easy between 50 to 100 calls about stolen bikes or e-bikes across the five boroughs,” said Hildalyn Colon of Los Deliveristas Unidos, a group that advocates for delivery workers.
Colon said, often, the thefts don’t get reported to police.
Antonio Solis is among those who have had his bike stolen, which he said is a constant concern.
“These bikes cost approximately $4,000 to $5,000. They spend a lot of their hard trying to kind of like invest and be able to work, but they have to battle with the circumstances,” Solis said through a translator.
That’s why during down time delivery workers try to gather together so they’re not targeted.READ MORE: NYC Delivery Workers Calling For More Safety, Better Working Conditions As Concerns Grow About Attacks On The Job
According to the most up-to-date NYPD statistics, there were 136 robberies of delivery workers from January to April.
In response to the thefts, the NYPD launched Operation Identification, a registration program that can help police identify lost or stolen e-bikes and scooters if they’re recovered.
But drivers are taking matters into their own hands, using a walkie-talkie app to notify each other when a theft happens.
“GPS allowed them to kind of like track the bike from one borough to another. They kind of like chase after it,” Solis added.
It’s a dangerous risk.
“We always are afraid that somebody is going to get hurt. These assaults are getting more violent every day,” Colon said.
But without their bike, the workers’ livelihoods are on the line.
The advocacy group advises drivers to call police as soon as their bikes are stolen. It also helps with bike and scooter registrations for those who may be wary of interacting with law enforcement.
Anyone with information about the suspects 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.