It all began Thursday afternoon, at a bank. I was filling out some forms and put my phone down beside me. Two minutes later, I realized my phone was missing.
Throughout the day, I tried to call the phone from different numbers to see if I can contact someone that may have it. Finally, towards the evening, a male answered the phone.
“My daughter found the phone in the bank; I have the same model and she thought it’s mine,” he said.
Being a good citizen, and also genuinely believing him, I offered him a generous reward of $300 for his trouble, if he returns the phone to me.
He happily agreed and we made up to meet that same day, at 3:00 pm at Chase bank. Three o’clock came and went and there was no meeting. I showed up at the bank, called and called, but no response. That night he contacted me again, saying we can meet tomorrow same time, same place.
That’s when the text came: “I’m gonna need $1,000 if you want me to return your phone.”
That was when I decided that it was time to get the authorities involved. This man was now extorting money from me, which is a crime.
My brother-in-law and I went to the 71st precinct and were introduced to Sergeant Rodgers, Officer Williams, Officer Sanchez and Officer Smith.
Immediately we felt we were in secure and confident hands. They were professional and helpful. They explained to us that this happens often and that since money was being extorted, he’s committing a crime and they would get our phone back and arrest him.
“I’m gonna need $2,000 for the phone,” came the next text. It was 2:45pm, getting close to the meeting time. The text also said that we should meet him at Atlantic mall. The officers took me and my brother-in-law, drove us over to Atlantic mall, while discussing the plan. We’d stay in Starbucks coffee waiting for the perpetrator and when we’d signal, the officers would jump in to do the arrest.
We waited and waited; 10, 20, 30 minutes passed. Finally we got a call. “Where are you?” asked the voice. I stood up and waved my hands so the caller would notice me.
He said he saw me and was coming over. We noticed him and 2 friends crossing the street towards us. He showed us the phone, my brother in law signaled, and within 5 seconds two officers had him on the floor, and the 3rd came and handcuffed him. We went back to the precinct where we waited for the officers to finish the report.
I want thank each officer for their dedication and the professionalism they showed to us. They ensured that we felt in competent hands and did a fabulous job with the arrest. Everything went as planned.
Another thought that I want to share is what most impressed me about the whole ordeal was how the officers interacted and dealt with us. They made us feel so comfortable the entire time. From when we walked in, they greeted us in a friendly way, they helped calm us, they took us in their cruise cars to the meeting and waited patiently with us.
Finally, I want to commend them for making the arrest so smoothly and making the whole experience the least dramatic and stressful as possible.
This was truly the work of brave selfless men, who give up their time and energies and devote themselves to the safety and security of our neighborhood.
This is just one story told, but there are many untold….
I salute you,
A resident of Crown Heights