BRIGHTON BEACH/SHEEPSHEAD BAY — Two Southern Brooklyn retail stores were repeatedly robbed of a particular luxury brand winter coats.
One of the incidents happened on Sunday, October 20, around 5 p.m., when a group of 10 individuals in their late teens entered Sport Tech at 3115 Coney Island Avenue. Sport Tech is focused on seasonal activewear and carries higher-end brands like Lacoste, Timberland, and Birkenstock, and has been a neighborhood staple for 25 years.
The individuals proceeded to remove 12 winter coats from hangers inside the store and fled. The coats were from Mackage, a luxury brand offering real fur-lined hoods on their parkas that cost from $800 to $1700.
Two of the individuals were caught on the day of the incident. Geneva Sergeant, an 18-year-old from Canarsie, was charged with grand larceny. Ebony McNeal, a 19-year-old believed to be from Bed-Stuy, was charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, NYPD said.
“The judge decided to let them go,” owner of the store, Boris Shevelenko, said of the two teenagers that were caught after the first incident. “It’s ridiculous that they’re just let go after the police catch them. The merchandise wasn’t returned. No probation.”
While attempting to leave the store, the thieves struck two store employees and pushed one employee to the ground — Alexander, the 70-year-old father of the owner. The group was seen fleeing eastbound on Brighton 10th Street.
Shevelenko says it’s the second incident in the past month, with the last one happening just four days ago at the same store location.
On November 18, a group of two males, one in his 50s and one in his 30s, and two females in their early 20s, attempted to enter the store at 6 p.m. The door was locked and the employees told them the store was closed, NYPD said. The group proceeded to break into the locked door and steal six Mackage coats worth $7,000. During the incident, they punched the store employee multiple times.
Shevelenko thinks the groups are related and have also robbed another South Brooklyn retailer, Downtown on Avenue U and Bedford. The owner of Downtown, Jay Arnow, said a similar robbery happened to them last year, a group of seven or eight people came into the store and robbed multiple Mackage coats.
“I was hit by a metal pipe, I got six staples in my head, by a girl,” said the owner. “They caught her, too. But let her go.”
Another incident happened to Downtown around a month ago. A girl gang got into a screaming confrontation with the employees after the leader was yelling at one of her members to “take a coat, don’t be a pussy.” The cops came by the time the gang left the store, who continued their inner dispute on the streets. The store manager that was on duty during the that incident, declined to comment.
“I’ve been on Avenue U for 38 years, but I’m ready to pack up and move to Long Island, it’s a mess,” Arnow said. “The justice system is out of control with not having people serve time. It’s a clear message on the streets that you can do whatever you want and not pay for it.”
Arnow believes this is an organized crime group, that these incidents are not isolated.
Last night, the store was hit again, and a single man ran out with four Mackage coats and fled in a waiting car.
The DCPI did not provide additional information about this incident nor was it able to explain why the NYPD Compstat Map does not reflect any of the incidents — which should have been classified as grand larcenies since amounts exceeded $1,000.
Anyone with information in regard to the identity of these individuals is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, or on Twitter @ NYPDTips.