On Tuesday, February 6, the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced the arrest of seven individuals involved in a multi-borough robbery spree, highlighting a sophisticated crime ring that has taken over New York City. The group, composed of migrants, has been implicated in a series of drive-by thefts, snatching cell phones and other valuables from unsuspecting New Yorkers.
The operation, led by 30-year-old Victor Parra, saw members utilizing mopeds to execute over 62 thefts across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. The NYPD, in collaboration with U.S. marshals, executed a dawn raid on an apartment in the Bronx, uncovering a cache of 22 stolen phones alongside victims’ IDs. Parra, however, remains at large.
Among those arrested were Cleyber Andrade, 20, and Juan Uzcatgui, 23, who, under Parra’s direction, targeted primarily women, leading to some victims being dragged several feet in attempts to retain their belongings. The arrests have shed light on the ring’s operations, which included hacking into stolen phones to access financial and banking apps for illegal transactions.
The bust comes amid heightened tensions in the city following an incident near Times Square where migrant men were caught on video assaulting NYPD officers. While authorities have not directly linked Parra’s ring to this incident, investigations are exploring possible connections to a Venezuelan gang, indicated by social media posts, tattoos, and statements made by the suspects.
Mayor Eric Adams, emphasizing the rule of law, stated, “It doesn’t matter if a person is a migrant asylum seeker or if the person is a long-term New Yorker. You break the law, you will be investigated.” This stance comes as the city grapples with an influx of migrants, challenging its resources and public services.
The New York Immigration Coalition criticized Adams for potentially inciting fear among asylum seekers and dividing communities. The organization calls for leadership that unites rather than scapegoats immigrant communities for administrative shortcomings.
As the city navigates these complex issues, the dismantling of this robbery ring marks a critical step in addressing crime linked to the recent surge in migrants. The NYPD’s actions underscore a commitment to maintaining public safety and order, even as the broader debate over immigration and asylum policies continues to unfold.