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Cops claim gains despite spree

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Although two robbery teams made it a point to wend their way through the command during their borough−wide crime sprees, robberies in the 63rd Precinct have been cut in half over the last month, according to recently released NYPD statistics.

From mid−April to mid−May, there were only nine robberies reported to the Brooklyn Avenue station house, according to officials. At the same time in 2008, 18 robberies were reported.

The drop in robberies is quite surprising, especially after an Auto Zone store on Flatbush Avenue near Avenue L became a stop−over for a crew of gun−toting thieves recently.

Police said that a male suspect and a female suspect entered the store at 9:15 a.m. on May 14 and pulled guns on hapless employees. The thieves robbed workers of receipts and scrambled out the back door.

Officials said that a Flatlands deli also played prominently in another robbery pattern that was recently closed. Investigators said that the apprehended suspects hit the Suburbia Grocery on East 37th Street and Avenue K not once, but twice −− on April 6 and April 22.

Officials said that on the second date, the suspects entered the store at 11:30 a.m., pulled a gun and pistol−whipped an employee as they forced him to open the register and fork over the day’s receipts.

Members of the Brooklyn Robbery Squad apprehended the three suspects on May 15. The thieves responsible for the Auto Zone robbery were still at large.

Filling in for Inspector Frank Cangiarella, Captain William Russo, the 63rd Precinct’s executive officer, relayed the good news about the robberies −− as well as the 40 percent overall drop in felony crime over the last month −− to members of the 63rd Precinct Community Council.

Despite the impressive drop in robberies, the precinct is still showing a slight 1.4 percent increase in robberies for the year.

Officials said that the disparity −− which only comes down to one additional robbery −− can be linked to a rash of teen−on−teen cell phone thefts earlier in the year. These crimes declined after cops took action, officials said.

Overall felony crime in the 63rd Precinct has dropped by nearly 17 percent this year, thanks mostly to an impressive 27 percent fall in burglaries, officials said.

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