Cops bust child thieves targeting NYC bars, restaurants: NYPD

NEW YORK (PIX11) — A modern-day Oliver Twist crime ring in Manhattan and Brooklyn has been busted by the NYPD’s organized theft squad, according to police. 

“They look like babies, 8 to 13 years old, going into bars or eateries and into locked boxes,” explained NYPD Inspector Nicholas Fiore.  

Detectives say it was a family affair: Two older boys allegedly sending in their kid brothers to do the dirty work for the past four months.  

The boys who allegedly stole money and credit cards are just 11 and 13 years old — barely able to reach the top of the bar. But they allegedly stacked up piles of cash. Police officers estimated up to $10,000 was pilfered from at least a dozen businesses. 

“The family is involved. The mother is aware, and they are not home at late hours,” said Fiore.  

The Administration for Child Services is now on the case, according to sources. But due to their young ages, the boys are not in police custody. Only the teenager was hit with charges.  

“Everyone who sees this about to happen, call the police and let them know,” warned Jacob Rabinowitz, who co-owns one of the bars that was hit.  

Because of the intense media pressure put on that case, the mayor’s office asked the NYPD to investigate whether those kids were responsible for a different scam happening at popular parks across Manhattan, too.  

Turns out they are not.

“We’ve identified approximately 30 [suspects] at this point,” Sgt. Matt Doherty said.  

The Organized Theft Task Force found that mostly college-aged women are being victimized by a money transfer app scam. It involves teens soliciting basketball donations; a criminal enterprise that has netted $125,000 since April, according to investigators.  

“[The victim] went to give him $2 and had $2,600 taken from her,” Sgt. Doherty recalled in one instance.

And they’re gone in a flash.  

“When you give them that phone, in 30 seconds they can take everything,” warned Doherty.

Several arrests have been made and dozens of people have fallen victim to the solicitation scam.  

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