Police made the first of several expected arrests after a group of bicyclists were caught on surveillance video surrounding a BMW SUV and attacking the vehicle with the driver and his elderly mother inside. New video released in late Dec. shows a previous incident involving a New York City Taxicab.
The BMW incident was reported just after 4:00pm on Dec. 29, at the intersection of East 21st Street and Fifth Avenue, and two days later a 15-year-old was charged as one of the many teens who surrounded and smashed the two cars.
The Queens teen was charged as a juvenile with riot and criminal mischief. His case will be handled in family court. He allegedly kicked the BMW as a large group surrounded it. His parents did not want him to appear on camera, but claim he was at the Queens Center Mall buying a gift for this bother at the time of the incident. His brother and father showed a receipt from around the time of the incident, as well as what they said were screenshots from his cellphone tracking apps.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “You have these teenagers doing something that is just wrong, period. At least one has been arrested, the others will be. Look, we’ve got to teach our young people better all the time. It’s incumbent upon on all of us. But we also have to have consequences. So, there will be consequences in this case.”
In Jan. police were still looking for as many as four others clearly caught on video throwing a bike on the hood of the car, jumping on the windshield, and punching the rear window. Detectives were working on possible identifications of at least two of the suspects, and more arrests were expected. They estimate up to 25 bicyclists were part of the group surrounding the BMW, and previously a yellow taxi at East 29th Street and Fifth Avenue.
A bunch of videos were shot by bystanders who witnessed the melee. Witnesses with video have been asked to turn them over to the police.
The 36-year-old driver of the BMW, Max Torgovnic, was with his mother. He said the shocking incident happened in broad daylight and he feared for their lives.
“We got to the point where they were in front of me and they were on either side of me and behind me, and I’m probably going like seven or eight miles an hour,” said Torgovnic. He said the kids were holding onto the door handles, and his first instinct was to slow down, stop and let them pass. When he slowed down, a biker doing a wheelie apparently crashed into the back of the car, which instigated the attack. He said he stopped when he heard the thud to make sure everyone was OK.
“I started to open up the driver door, but I was immediately surrounded on every side by these kids that have just gotten off their bikes and they started screaming, yelling, punching the car, hitting the hood of the car, just yelling, ‘Get out, get out, open the roll down the window, roll down the window,’” he said. “When I didn’t, they started to take out their aggression on the car itself.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).