REGO PARK, Queens — A man, and possibly some accomplices, are driving an SUV stolen at gunpoint from a Queens parking garage after the man pistol whipped the parking attendant. The search is now on for the suspect and his accomplices, but video and other evidence could lead detectives to them quickly.
Surveillance images show a five foot, seven inch tall man, who investigators say is about 25 years old and 160 pounds. He has a goatee and was last seen wearing a light colored du-rag, a white tank top, red shorts, black socks, black slippers and a dark colored backpack.
According to sources close to investigation, the man approached a parking attendant at the IM Park facility at 92-77 Queens Boulevard, just south of the Long Island Expressway, around 2:20 p.m. Saturday. He demanded a car from the underground lot.
When the parking attendant said no, the man pulled out a gun and beat up the parking attendant with it, according to police.
The crime, in the middle of a business strip, has sparked surprise and shock in the area.
"Wow! Wow," local City Councilmember Karen Koslowitz said was her first reaction to hearing the news. "It's unusual to hear something like that in this community."
A business owner nearby echoed her assessment. Amar Reddy, who works at Reliable Lucky Distributor, a wholesale company two doors away from the parking garage, described the neighborhood as the "safest area we have ever seen."
"We have lived here for around 20 years," he said. "We haven't seen something like this in this area."
In fact, the crime happened in the NYPD's 112th precinct, which has among the lowest rates of overall crime in the city.
Further information from sources close to the investigation indicates that the suspect may have been staying with friends at The Wyndham Garden, a hotel next door, and the group was involved in some sort of illegal activity. They determined that they needed a car, so they decided among them that the suspect would walk alone down to the parking garage and make his demand, at gunpoint.
The group apparently left a cellphone and other papers behind at the hotel. That, along with very clear surveillance video images of the suspect, have people in the area feeling confident that it's a short matter of time before the correct people are in custody.
"Police, they are working really hard for New York City," said Reddy, the businessman a few doors down. "And they will catch [the man] definitely."