Walking to synagogue in Monsey, N.Y.,
During the past 10 days, six day laborers have been beaten and robbed late at night into the early morning hours off Main Street. The robbery gang members either wait in the dark along desolate roads and along the train tracks or trail the men after they leave local bars or restaurants and then strike.
One man suffered a fractured skull and his brother suffered serious head injuries. They remain hospitalized.
Blocks away in the Orthodox Jewish Blueberry Hill neighborhood, nine homes have been burglarized after midnight while people slept. The suspected two-man gang has entered through unlocked doors or open windows, grabbing purses, cellphones, jewelry, possibly silver utensils or what they can get.
The crew hit four houses on Dorset Road and Widman Court on Friday morning, after break-ins to homes on Morris, Charles and other blocks.
Both communities are living in fear.
“I feel violated,” Shavy Kahan said. “I feel vulnerable. I don’t feel safe.”
The Kahan family’s home on Dorset Road has been broken into twice.
Kahan, a mother of four children, said her neighbors are buying burglar alarm and surveillance systems. She said she feels a bit safer knowing the police are putting out extra patrols, but she can’t get over feeling “terrified” that something worse could happen when she and her family are sleeping.
Day laborers have long been targets of street robbers, because they carry cash earned from working in construction, landscaping and restaurants, or are viewed as easy marks walking alone and possibly drunk. Most of the workers are living in the United States illegally and fear the authorities, and thus don’t report being crime victims.
“It’s a dangerous situation right now on the streets of Spring Valley,” said Juan Pablo Ramirez, an advocate for immigrants with Latinos for Peace and Justice and the Rockland Immigration Coalition. He also is with Jornaleros Project, which provides services for immigrants.
“We have one young man, 23 years old, still in a coma after a savage beating,” Ramirez said. “These people could easily have been killed. This goes beyond robberies.”
Ramirez said he, Jeremiah Cortave of the Rockland Latino Pastors Association and Guatemalan general counsel walked the streets Friday, talking to workers about only walking in lit areas, staying off the dangerous railroad tracks and walking in groups.
They also spoke with Spring Detective Sgt. James Noble, who oversees the detective bureau looking into the burglaries and the robberies.
Noble said he and other officers spent Friday talking with rabbis, preparing fliers for the Orthodox Jewish community and communicating with media outlets for both communities. He said Police Chief Paul Modica, Mayor Noramie Jasmin and officials also are involved.
Traditionally, both communities stick to themselves and that can be frustrating to the police. Noble said he’s getting better cooperation from both communities.
In the religious community, Noble said, “People have to lock their doors and close their windows. The rabbis in the community are calling and we’ve been telling them. They have to make sure their security systems work, if they have them.”
He said police are awaiting forensic results from several houses.
Noble said he’s concerned about the violence against the day workers continuing and fears that the burglaries in the Jewish community also could lead to violence. He said the burglars broke into a room where a baby was sleeping.
So far, Wieder said, no one has been hurt during the break-ins, like in the case of the street robberies.