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Tall salute to a terrific trio - 61st Pct. cops credited with busting woman’s attackers

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The quick arrest of four teenage goons that robbed an elderly woman in Manhattan Beach was credited to the actions of three fast-thinking police officers named “Cops of the Month” last week.

Gathering at the 61st Precinct Community Council meeting at the Bainbridge Center on Ocean Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, Captain George Mastrokostas, the precinct’s commanding officer, applauded the efforts of Police Officers Danny Lacalamita, Sal Granata and John Downey.

The three officers were instrumental in rounding up the four suspects involved in the June 2 robbery.

Police said that the four teens – the youngest 13, the oldest 15 – allegedly grabbed an 81-year-old woman at the corner of Dover Street and Oriental Boulevard.

The woman, a resident of Brighton Beach, said that she was walking near the corner just before 4 p.m. when the teens attacked and tried to take her purse. She fractured her hip when she was thrown to the ground.

Officers Lacalamita, Granata and Downey rounded up the four suspects without incident.

“[The officers] were at the right place at the right time,” said Mastrokostas, who called the teenage thieves “cowards” for targeting elderly victims.

“If you’re going to rob someone, you should rob someone who can defend themselves,” he said.

Officials said that all four teens are being tried in juvenile court. At least two of them have turned on the remaining two, who are now facing criminal charges.

Captain Mastrokostas said that the robbery was one of a handful that took place in Manhattan Beach between June and September.

Crime on the beach was also quite low, he said.

“It wasn’t a bad summer,” he explained. “But we were fighting extremely low numbers from last year.”

NYPD CompStat statistics show that robberies in the 61st Precinct are up 24 percent for the year, from 158 in 2007 to 196 this year. Assaults, burglaries and car thefts were down by three, five and nine percent respectively, as of September 7.

Overall felony crime in the command has increased by five percent, from 1078 in 2007 to 1133 this year.

The 61st Precinct protects residents in Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Homecrest, Gravesend and parts of Midwood.

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