Alabama man arrested in connection with Central Park gunpoint robberies: police

Manhattan
Central Park robbery

Cops released a photo and a sketch of a man wanted in connection to two gunpoint robberies inside Central Park. (NYPD)

MANHATTAN — Authorities arrested an Alabama man Thursday night in connection to a robbery pattern at Central Park.

Police received two reports of robberies within four days, with the suspect description similar in both incidents.

On April 30, a 55-year-old man walked into Central Park at the 72nd Street and Central Park West entrance around 8:25 a.m. when he observed a man sitting on the ground at the park entrance, police said.

The man was holding a sign depicting “Bike for sale $75” and asked the victim if he wanted to buy the bicycle, cops said.

When the victim declined, the man asked him for $5. The victim declined, walked away then noticed the suspect had followed him to the other side of the park, according to police.

The suspect then displayed a black semi-automatic pistol and demanded money, authorities said. The victim complied and handed over about $1,000, and the suspect fled on a black bicycle, cops said.

Read more: Crime news

Two days later, police said a 67-year-old woman was walking on the west path near Swan Lake inside Central Park when she was approached by a man riding a black bike.

He stopped in front of her, displayed a black semi-automatic pistol and stated “I need to take your purse,” according to police.

When the victim asked if she could keep her phone, the suspect said “no.” She then complied and handed over her purse, which contained two credit cards, an iPhone, eye medications and about $200, authorities said.

Her phone was recovered near the scene when police used the “Find My iPhone” app.

On Thursday evening, police took Andrew Thornton, 34, an Auburn, Alabama resident, into custody in connection with the robberies

He’s charged with two counts each of robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visitingcrimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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