By Patrick Markey
Bronx police are hunting for a gang of violent robbers who trawl through the Riverdale neighborhood near Van Cortlandt Park hunting for their victims.
The gang has struck three times, including a recent assault on an Irish-American priest who was shopping in the neighborhood, police said.
The priest, who detectives did not name, is based in another neighborhood but was attacked after leaving a store near 242nd Street and Broadway, according to one detective familiar with the incident. The priest was not wearing his clerical garb at the time of the attack.
The other victims include another 57-year-old male and a Japanese student from nearby Manhattan College.
According to detectives, the gang of three male Hispanics usually circle their victims with one man acting as lookout while the other two carry out the robbery. All three assaults have taken place between 8-9 p.m. and have involved physical violence. Cash was removed from all three victims.
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"They’re strong-arm robberies," said the detective. "One victim was punched, one was shoved to the ground. No weapons have been shown as of yet."
Detectives believe the robbers may spot their victims near the Broadway area and then follow them to more secluded areas to strike out.
Witnesses with any information about this robbery pattern can call detectives at (212) 577-TIPS.