NEW YORK (PIX11) — The ex-cons accused of robbing more than a dozen people across the three boroughs on Tuesday will be prosecuted in federal court, authorities said Wednesday.
Alvin Velez, 34, and Carlos Perez, 24, were arrested early Tuesday in the Bronx and were expected to appear in Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday, officials said.
Velez and Perez allegedly stole a white Toyota minivan in Ridgewood, Queens 10 days ago and used it as the getaway vehicle during the citywide gunpoint robbery spree, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig.
In total, the suspects terrorized 13 victims in Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn in a span of about two hours, authorities said.
“I didn’t do nothing. I’m not guilty. Free me. Free me,” Perez repeatedly said while being walked out of the 110th Precinct stationhouse in Corona Tuesday night.
In the first incident, the duo allegedly stole a chain, pendant, and phone from a woman on Alstyne Avenue in Queens just before 1 a.m. Five minutes later, the suspects robbed a man and a woman at the Woodside Motel on Queens Boulevard, police said. The thieves allegedly took $200 in cash, credit cards, and a cellphone before pistol-whipping the man, who was knocked unconscious, Essig said.
Velez and Perez made off with $375 in cash after robbing a Halal food truck near 11th Street and Wythe Avenue in Brooklyn. The ex-cons then robbed six people sitting in an outdoor dining area on Broadway in Queens at 1:55 a.m., police said. Credit cards and at least $300 in cash were taken.
Authorities said Velez and Perez then allegedly targeted a food truck near Washington Square Park at around 2:45 a.m. The victim’s cellphone was taken. Twenty minutes later, a woman reported the two men had stolen her chain, purse, and credit card on Seaman Avenue in Inwood, Essig said.
The suspects crashed the stolen minivan at 179th Street and Cedar Avenue in the Bronx at around 3:50 a.m., police said. Authorities recovered property from two victims and a back 9mm ghost gun, officials said.
Velez has 11 prior arrests, including sexual abuse, assault, attempted murder, and criminal sale of a controlled substance. He spent eight years in prison and was released in November 2021. While out on parole, Essig said Velez was arrested five times.
Perez has nine prior arrests and is a known gang member with the Crips in the Bronx, Essig said. He was locked up in 2019 for attempted murder and released in August 2021. While out on parole, Perez allegedly assaulted a 79-year-old man.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected.
“You see how violent they are and they shouldn’t be out on our streets,” Essig said. “We’re lucky something more serious didn’t happen.”