Pictures show the moment New York City police arrested a suspected gang member accused of targeting diners at wealthy Manhattan restaurants, after he allegedly tried to escape a shoot-out with cops on Monday night.
Wilson Mendez, 19, was taken into custody near Madison Square Park on Monday after a chase through the streets of Manhattan.
Police say he is a member of the violent gang dubbed Own Every Dollar, who were spotted as they cased a high-end restaurant in the latest of 12 jewelry heists they are believed to be behind.
The group were seen checking out Pergola restaurant in NoMad, Manhattan, at around 1.15am on Monday before fleeing the scene in a black BMW.
A police officer managed to stop the car by firing three shots through its windshield, causing the driver and two passengers to run away on foot.
Mendez was caught and taken to the hospital to receive treatment for cuts on his face.
He has been charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon for a loaded firearm.
Wilson Mendez, 19, was taken into custody near Madison Square Park on Monday after stealing jewelry from customers at Pergola restaurant in the Manhattan
Wilson Mendez, 19, was taken into custody near Madison Square Park on Monday after stealing jewelry from customers at Pergola restaurant in the Manhattan
The robbers, who call themselves OED for ‘Own Every Dollar’ and were described as ‘vicious’ by a Manhattan officer, are thought to be responsible for least 12 jewelry robberies across New York in the last four months
The driver jumped a curb and almost ran down pedestrians before an officer stopped the car by firing through its windshield
A vicious gang, who call themselves OED for ‘Own Every Dollar’, are allegedly responsible for least 12 jewelry robberies across New York (detailed above)
Officers recognized the BMW parked near Pergola, which matched the description of a car linked with an array of jewelry heists in upscale areas of the city, according to sources.
The officers moved in after a check showed that the plate did not match the vehicle, but the vehicle fled.
The driver jumped a curb and almost ran down pedestrians before an officer stopped the car by firing through its windshield. Mendez was arrested while two suspects ran away and are being searched for by police.
A 9mm handgun was found on the floor by the passenger seat following the incident.
The robbers, who call themselves OED for ‘Own Every Dollar’ and were described as ‘vicious’ by a Manhattan officer, are thought to be responsible for least 12 jewelry robberies across New York in the last four months.
The ring, who are linked to the notorious Trinitarios gang in the Bronx, netted in more than $4million in jewelry and watches in just one theft, as well 11 other heists, and are suspected to be involved in at least one homicide, according to police sources.
The group pulled off the brazen thefts in BMWs and Mercedes-Benz vehicles across Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.
Two other suspects are being hunted by police in relation to the robbery. It is unclear who was driving the BMW
The OED robbery ring’s latest crime saw the group casing Pergola in NoMad, Manhattan, at around 1.15am on Monday before a Manhattan officer fired at the suspected crooks
Professional basketball player Taj Gibson at the restaurant, but was not involved in the shooting
The gang has been targeting nightclub and restaurant-goers
A member of the NYPD Intelligence Office was seen near the restaurant
Last Thursday, the OED robbery ring swiped $150,000 worth of jewelry off a wealthy businessman outside Asian fusion bistro Buddha-Bar Restaurant.
And on September 20, two men were shot outside Opus Lounge in Inwood while the ring of brazen thieves robbed one of the victims of his jewelry.
Jeffrey Sanchez, 35, was fatally shot while being robbed of his jewelry. Another man suffered a gunshot wound to his arm during the incident.
Elsewhere, the same gang were responsible for stealing a Rolex watch from a diner eating outside upscale Chinese restaurant Philippe Chow on the Upper East Side after 10pm on September 15.
Surveillance footage showed terrified Manhattan diners caught up in the brazen robbery when two masked, armed men attempted to rob two men of their Rolex watches.
Shea was reacting to the incident from early Monday morning in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, where an NYPD officer fired at suspected members of a violent gang dubbed Own Every Dollar as they cased a high-end restaurant
The theft was the latest of 12 jewelry heists that the gang is believed to be behind
They stole one man’s Rolex watch and shot Melchior Cooke, 28, who was on a first date at the time, in the leg when he tried to grab the robber’s weapon.
At the time, Chief of Detectives James Essig said the police were looking for three suspects who drove away in a Black SUV.
Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams returned to the scene of the crime the next day to dine with restaurant owner Philippe Chow, eating at the same table where Cooke was shot to show New Yorkers they should not be afraid.
‘This is not a restaurant where crime problems are happening, but for someone to come by and attempt a robbery while you sit down and enjoy a meal is just unacceptable,’ Adams said.
Just days earlier on September 9, the same robbery ring robbed an off-duty police officer of a Tag Heuer watch outside Silver Tower Condominium.
This month’s incident was not the first time the crooks targeted Pergola bistro, as they stole $100,000 worth of jewelry from a customer at the same venue on August 19.
Surveillance footage shows terrified Manhattan diners caught up in the brazen robbery when two masked, armed men attempted to rob two men of their Rolex watches
A 34-year-old man was walking towards Broadway after leaving Pergola on West 28th Street when a black Mercedes-Benz pulled over, two men exited the vehicle and robbed the late-night reveler at gunpoint.
The bandits plundered a Cuban necklace, a tennis bracelet and a high-end Audemar watch, with a total value of $100,000.
The larcenists were last seen escaping in their black Mercedes-Benz, heading southbound on Broadway and turning right onto West 27th Street en route to 6th Avenue.
The weekend before, a 47-year-old man and his 27-year-old companion were accosted by robbers outside the trendy TAO Downtown on 9th Avenue.
The duo of robbers got out of a Mercedes-Benz parked on the corner of West 30th Street and Broadway and pulled a gun on the two men, surveillance footage showed.
The victims removed and handed over various items of jewelry, which investigators said included chains, necklaces, rings, and a luxury Richard Mille watch, which was worn by the 47-year-old man.
Timepieces from the luxury Swiss watchmaker range in price from $80,000 to several million dollars.
The thieves got away with $4million worth of baubles belonging to the 47-year-old man, and they also pilfered a $10,000 medallion necklace from his younger companion. Neither victim was harmed.
Laden with their high-priced loot, the crooks climbed back into their getaway car and fled southbound on Broadway toward West 28th Street and turned left toward 5th Avenue, according to police.
The spate of brazen jewelry heists, which are understood to have all been carried out by OED robbers, have been plaguing New York since June.
On June 29, three men were recorded beating and robbing a man a 50-year-old man around 4:30pm at Master Deli and Grocery in the Bronx. The attackers got away with $750 in cash, a Rolex watch, two iPhones, and a necklace.
This month’s incident was not the first time they targeted Pergola bistro, as they stole $100,000 worth of jewelry from a customer at the same venue on August 19
On August 14, a 47-year-old man and his 27-year-old companion (above) were accosted by robbers outside the trendy TAO Downtown on 9th Avenue
Several days earlier on June 21, Milton Grant, a 34-year-old father of twins, was fatally shot in the head while driving when he and his friend 33-year-old Randal Chacon were approached by three men in Inwood around 5am.
Grant was robbed of his gold diamond encrusted chain, rings, and Rolex after leaving Opus Lounge night club in Inwood. Chacon was shot in the groin as the robbers took the chain from his neck, according to police.
Around 1:30am on June 11, a 23-year-old man was approached by four people in Inwood who began attempting to strip him of his jewelry.
When the young man resisted, the assailants fired several shots hitting the victim in the chest, butt, and leg before driving off with his watch, police reported at the time.
DailyMail.com has contacted NYPD for comment.
New York City’s top cop blames bail reform laws enacted by the Democratic-dominated state Legislature for the spike in violent crime, including Monday night’s gun battle between NYPD officers and a gang of suspected jewelry thieves.
On August 14, the victims handed over various items of jewelry, which investigators said included chains, necklaces, rings, and a luxury Richard Mille watch (stock image pictured)
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea says criminal justice measures passed by the Democratic-dominated state legislature are to blame for the increase in violent crime in New York City
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea blamed the ‘drastic reduction in incarceration levels’ for several high-profile incidents of gun violence throughout the five boroughs.
Shea was reacting to the incident from early Monday morning in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, where an NYPD officer fired at suspected members of a violent gang dubbed Own Every Dollar as they cased a high-end restaurant.
The theft was the latest of 12 jewelry heists that the gang is believed to be behind.
Shea told WNYW-TV that the NYPD is part of a ‘task force’ that involves ‘multiple federal agencies’ as well as ‘all five district attorneys’ in an effort to arrest and prosecute the gang members.
‘There have been some arrests but the problem is still ongoing. This boils down to two things, really – nightclubs and guns,’ the commissioner said.
‘Targeting high-end jewelry is what is occurring.
‘There’s been a couple of arrests. You can absolutely expect more arrests as we get closer to hopefully bringing this to a conclusion.’
The ‘vicious’ robbery ring’s latest crime saw the group checking out Pergola restaurant in NoMad, Manhattan, at around 1.15am on Monday before a Manhattan police officer opened fire on the suspected crooks.
When asked on Tuesday whether New York City is experiencing an increase in gang activity, Shea said: ‘The gangs have always been an issue here. We’ve talked about it for a number of years.
‘You have to look at the incarceration levels. It’s a hard topic to talk about but there’s been such a drastic reduction.
‘I think that’s part of what you’re seeing play out.
‘At the state level, we are down significantly. Many people get out of prison and turn their life around, but, unfortunately, we all realize that many do not.
‘You’re seeing those unintended consequences on the street at times.’
In early 2020, criminal justice reform measures passed by the New York State legislature and signed into law by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo took effect.
The new law has received increasing scrutiny over its rules that allow New York courts to release people who would have remained in jail under the old rules.
The NYPD says Evans is the man seen on the left during an attempted robbery of a 65-year-old woman near St. Edwards St and Willoughby St in Brooklyn on September 28
The NYPD says that the suspect attempted to take the woman’s purse, then punched and dragged her
The image above shows the suspect assaulting the victim in Brooklyn on September 28
The statute, which went into place at the beginning of the year, eliminated cash bail and pretrial detention for a wide majority of low-level cases and nonviolent felonies.
The law also allows courts to release a person under certain conditions, such as a travel or firearm restriction.
Shea and others have claimed that the new law is to blame for the increase in violent crime.
But defenders of the law say that violent crime has increased in most of the country – including in jurisdictions that did not enact any criminal justice reform measures.
Shea on Tuesday was particularly incensed by the case of Jeffrey Evans, the 55-year-old man with 11 open court cases who is wanted by the NYPD for punching and mugging a woman in broad daylight in Brooklyn on September 28.
‘One side will say as long as he shows up at court then everything is working well,’ Shea said.
‘And I would say that everything is not working well.
‘They forget the victims that are going through the pain of incidents like that, and how much damage one person could do.
‘So that’s a complete and utter failure in my book.’
In a separate interview with 1010 WINS, Shea once again blasted the reforms.
‘This is what happens when you upend the system too drastically without the input of law enforcement,’ he said.
‘You wouldn’t, you know, bring your car to the mechanic and tell the mechanic what to do.
‘You have to listen to law enforcement when it’s dealing with these criminal justice changes, and I think you’re seeing the results when that didn’t happen.’
The robberies come amid a recent crime surge in The City That Never Sleeps, as Mayor Bill de Blasio attempts to lure workers and tourists back to the metropolis, despite a spike in crimes and terrifying footage of people being assaulted.
The wave of violent crime in the Big Apple is fueling fears it is returning to the dark days of the ’70s and ’80s when murders were rife and the city earned the unsettling nickname Fear City.
Felony assaults are up 15.7 per cent over the last 28 days, NYPD data shows, with 1,949 recorded in the 28 days up to October 3, compared to 1,685 committed during the same period in 2020.
It comes amid a crime surge in New York, as Mayor Bill de Blasio attempts to lure workers and tourists back to the metropolis, despite a spike in crimes
In 2021, nearly every type of violent crime has seen a stark increase in the city of New York
Weekly felony assaults have spiked by 11.9 per cent, with 451 carried out in the seven days up to October 3, compared to 403 for the same period last year.
The annual trend is also making a worrying rise of seven per cent. This year saw 16,899 felony assaults carried out up until October 3, compared to 15,787 for the same period in 2020.
Meanwhile, a staggering 393 gun arrests were made last month alone, bringing the total number of gun arrests to 3,425 between January and the end of September.
This is a dramatic increase of 20.9 percent from the same period in 2020 when 2,832 gun arrests were made.
Some boroughs have been ravaged by the crime wave more than others, with Manhattan South recording the biggest spike in crime (20.1 percent) last month compared to the previous September.
Manhattan North has also seen a rise in crime, up by 3.2 percent in the same timeframe.
Brooklyn South saw crime spike by 5.3 percent, Staten Island by 9 percent and the Bronx – where a terrifying gun fight broke out between gangs last month – by 4.9 per cent.
Crime has, however, fallen in some boroughs of the city, down by 4.2 percent in Brooklyn North, 5.8 percent in Queens North.
In Queens South, crime fell 3.7 percent between the two months – even though there were six murders recorded there last month.
Despite the rise in some violent offenses, Shea hailed the fall in murders and shootings last month.
Murders fell by 22 percent from 59 in September 2020 to 46 last month, while shootings were down 9.3 percent from 150 to 136.
Burglaries also fell by 14.9 percent and rapes by 12.4 percent between the two timeframes.
She said in a statement that this is part of a wider fall in some violent crimes from the summer as the city focuses on curtailing gun violence.
‘The ongoing, downward trend in violence reflects the hard and often dangerous work of the men and women of the NYPD,’ said Shea.
‘And while I applaud their courage and tenacity, the police cannot do this alone. Public safety must be a collective mission.
A map showing the New York City boroughs where crime has increased (in red) and decreased (in green) in September 2021 compared to the same month last year
The mayoral candidate frontrunner Eric Adams (pictured) has vowed to tackle the escalating violence when de Blasio leaves office at the end of this term
‘It requires intelligence based policing, but it also requires a fully functioning court system and meaningful consequences that send a clear message to those who would pull a trigger: expect to be caught, and expect to be held accountable.’
De Blasio also gave an optimistic outlook of the new crime figures in his press briefing Wednesday morning.
The mayor touted the rise in gun arrests as an ‘extraordinary success’ Wednesday rather than a concerning sign of a rise in firearm use.
‘It’s a typical thing out there for certain folks to doubt New York City, or to doubt our ability to make a comeback, or doubt the NYPD, but the facts speak for themselves,’ he said.
‘Even in the most extraordinarily difficult circumstances – total disruption of our society because of a global pandemic, unprecedented – the NYPD has fought back, neighborhood folks have fought back, the city has fought back and we’re seeing it in so many ways.’
He added: ‘We’re seeing the city come back to life.’
The mayor said several crimes such as robbery and felony crime are currently at the lowest rate in the last three decades on a year-to-date basis.
And de Blasio said things will improve further as the city continues to come back to life – through a return of tourism and workers returning to their offices.
That is part of his ‘safety in numbers’ theory, where larger crowds of people gathering are likely to deter opportunistic criminals from carrying out attacks.
The mayoral candidate frontrunner Eric Adams has vowed to tackle the escalating violence when de Blasio leaves office at the end of this term.
On Tuesday, he said his first focus will be to crack down on guns entering the city.
His other plans include the creation of a dedicated plain-clothed anti-gun violence unit in the NYPD.