Today’s news:

111th officers make arrest in phone rob spree

Police from the 111th Precinct arrested a suspect they believe to be responsible for a string of cell phone thefts throughout the borough. Prior to his arrest, police circulated this sketch of the suspect. Sketches courtesy NYPD
TimesLedger Newspapers

Detectives from the 111th Precinct arrested a man two weeks ago who they believe to be responsible for a string of cell phone thefts throughout the borough dating back to June.

On Sept. 16, Officers Evan Ostrofsky and Patrick Hughes of the Queens Robbery Squad were staking out 188 Park, at the corner of Underhill Avenue and 190th Street, when they observed 24-year-old Eric Colvin allegedly robbing one male and one girl, Community Affairs Officer William Conway said.

The Far Rockaway resident then allegedly attempted to rob two other juveniles near the park’s handball court area when the detectives arrested him, Conway said.

In the beginning of the month, Commanding Officer Ronald Leyson paid a visit to the Community Board 11 meeting, where he distributed a sketch and warned the community to be on the lookout for a 6-foot-4 black man with a tattoo on his forearm who would approach people on the street and ask for the time. When the victims pulled out their phones, the suspect would threaten them with a gun, though no shots were fired and no injuries were reported during the thefts, Leyson said.

Leyson said the suspect targeted owners of iPhones and Blackberries, and he encouraged everyone to be more aware of their surroundings and not to walk around wearing earbuds, especially when it gets dark out.

Police also distributed a picture of a pair of distinctive copper-colored Nike sneakers they hoped would help identify the suspect.

Last week, Leyson said Colvin was positively identified in 12 out of 13 lineups. He has eight prior arrests, which include robbery, driving with a suspended license, criminal trespassing and possession of marijuana, police said.

Conway said Colvin allegedly robbed victims in the same manner in the 111th, 102nd, 109th, 107th and 70th precincts.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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