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This 49 cop a Sherlock

Bronx Times

Call him Shamrat Holmes!

With some clever powers of deduction, 49th Precinct Police Officer Shamrat Akanda has been rewarded for breaking a cell phone robbery spree in Pelham Parkway.

His Watson on the case was fellow Four-Nine partner Aby Varghese.

The crime fighting team was honored with the Cop of the Month distinction at the 49th Precinct Community Council meeting April 2.

Precinct Captain Lorenzo “Andy” Johnson said the robbery pattern was allegedly pulled off by Niko Velasquez and a 15-year-old accomplice.

Johnson said a third suspect, who sold the cell phones for $40 each, remains at large, but “We’re very close to getting him.”

The arrested duo hit several locations around the neighborhood, donning ski masks and threatening victims with steak knives in a three-day robbery spree.

Johnson said their spree began Feb. 4 in front of the New York Institute for Special Education, grabbing cell phones from two victims.

The pair struck again later that day at Boston Rd. and Wallace Ave, robbing another victim of his smartphone.

Six incidents followed, with Johnson responding by deploying more troops towards the Pelham Parkway Houses, a known trouble spot.

“The intel we were getting was they lived or hung out in that area,” said Johnson.

Akanda and Varghese, on patrol, spotted the crime duo milling around Pelham Houses during school hours. But Akanda, a six-year veteran, sensed something odd, mainly the direction they were headed, which wasn’t toward any school.

“If they were going to go to school, they were gonna go west, but they were going east,” said Akanda. “Also, they had no book bag with them.”

But Akanda’s suspicions were confirmed the moment the suspects put on ski masks to pounce on their next victim. Instead, they quickly wound up in handcuffs and back at the Eastchester Road stationhouse, where they later confessed to the robberies.

Johnson called the two cops’ actions a “text-book” stop, question and frisk tactic, long considered controversial from mostly minority neighborhoods.

“We grabbed the right people,” said Johnson.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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