Migrant Moped Gang Snatches Phones, Purses Across NYC: Mayor

NEW YORK CITY — A ring of moped-riding migrants who snatched purses and expensive phones from New Yorkers across the city has been busted, Mayor Eric Adams said.

The ring — which was the subject of a Monday morning raid in The Bronx — is linked to 62 robbery incidents, Adams said.

He said at least some of the 14 suspects identified by police are migrants — a fact that comes amid heightened concerns in the wake of an attack of two NYPD officers in Times Square by asylum seekers.

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Adams tried to tamp down any potential backlash by stressing the vast majority of asylum seekers simply want part of the American dream.

“These individuals do not have a license to steal in our city,” he said, however.

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The wave of robberies began in November on the Upper East Side and continued until Sunday evening, said Joseph Kenny, the NYPD’s chief of detectives.

He said the suspected ringleader has been identified as Victor Parra, 30, who arrived in New York from Venezuela last year.

Parra, who remains on the loose, would blast out WhatsApp messages to other people in the ring directing them to steal specific phones, Kenny said.

Scooter drivers would get $100 a day, while phone snatchers raked in up to $600 per stolen phone, Kenny said.

The stolen phones would be taken to Parra’s home in a Bronx NYCHA development, where a “tech guy” would hack into the phones to use banking apps, Kenny said.

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Parra would ship the phones to Colombia to be reprogrammed once the victims’ accounts were emptied, officials said.

The Bronx bust, which Adams had observed, led to five arrests, Kenny said.

Seven suspects have been arrested so far, Kenny said.

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban echoed Adams’ point that the suspects do not represent the vast majority of asylum seekers.

He did, however, point out difficulties in investigating migrants suspected of committing crimes.

“They’re essentially ghost criminals,” he said. “No criminal history, no photos, no cell phone, no social media. Sometimes, we’re even unclear on a name or date of birth.”

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