Arrest in Punch-and-Grabs, But Gunpoint Robbers Still at Large

robberyN.Y.P.D. The suspect in a Sept. 20 punch-and-

Last Tuesday’s gunpoint robbery wasn’t just an isolated occurrence. The early-morning incident in which three men in bandanas held up a woman at gunpoint was part of an emerging pattern, said Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann at a meeting of the Ninth Precinct Community Council last night.

The robbery on East 12th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, followed a similar incident two days earlier, on Sunday, Oct. 7. The earlier victim, also robbed at gunpoint by three men, didn’t report it until Tuesday morning, according to the precinct’s commanding officer.

Deputy Inspector Cappelmann assured meeting attendees that police are investigating and a dedicated patrol force would be in the area on Friday and Saturday.

The announcement of the new pattern came on the heels of news of an arrest in an earlier series of robberies. Jonathan Fernandez was arrested in a string of robberies of women in their early twenties who were punched in the face and stripped of phones and purses. The suspect, on parole in the Bronx, confessed to one of the robberies, in Stuyvesant Town near Avenue C. Another occurred on Eighth Street. Police in the 13th Precinct identified him from surveillance video circulated by the Ninth Precinct after an earlier robbery that fit the same pattern.

On Sept. 20, a man followed a woman into 50 Allen Street and swiped her purse after punching her in the face. Deputy Inspector Cappelman did not say whether Mr. Fernandez was also a suspect in that incident.