NYPD officer opens fire at suspected members of high-end robbery ring

Group believed to have stolen more than $4 million in jewelry, watches, sources say

A Manhattan cop opened fire early Monday at suspected members of a high-end robbery ring casing a Manhattan restaurant — who are possibly tied to last month’s shooting at Philippe Chow, police sources said. 

The crew tools around in Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs to pull off its heists, which cops believe include at least 12 robberies across Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx — netting more than $4 million in jewelry and watches just since August, sources said. 

The robbers — who call themselves "OED" for "Own Every Dollar" — are affiliated with the notorious Trinitarios gang in the Bronx and suspected in at least one homicide, sources said. 

"They are very vicious," a Manhattan cop said. 

A New York Police Department patrol car. Recently, a robbery ring has been targeting the city. (iStock)

A New York Police Department patrol car. Recently, a robbery ring has been targeting the city. (iStock) (iStock)

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"After they shot a victim Uptown, they pounced on him and stole his jewelry while he was dying." 

That man, Jeffrey Sanchez, 35, was one of two victims gunned down during a robbery that occurred outside the Opus Lounge in Inwood on Sept. 20. 

The other man suffered a gunshot wound to his arm. 

The ring’s latest crime unfolded around 1:15 a.m. outside the trendy Pergola eatery and hookah bar in NoMad when officers recognized a BMW parked nearby that matched the description of a car tied to a series of lucrative jewelry heists outside upscale hotspots, sources said. 

The cops moved in after a check showed a plate on the Beemer didn’t match the vehicle, sources said. 

When the cops tried to stop the vehicle on West 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, the driver gunned the engine and jumped a curb, almost plowing down several pedestrians, sources said. 

A Manhattan cop opened fire at suspected members of a robbery ring. (iStock)

A Manhattan cop opened fire at suspected members of a robbery ring. (iStock) (iStock)

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An officer finally stopped the car by firing three shots through its windshield, leading the driver and two passengers to bail out and start running, sources said. 

One of the suspects — Wilson Mendez, 19, of the Bronx — was nabbed after a short chase and taken to a hospital for treatment of cuts to his face, sources said. 

Charges against him were pending, sources said. 

Another man, who was wearing dark clothing, disappeared into nearby Madison Square Park and is being hunted, as is the third suspect, sources said. 

A 9mm handgun was found on the floor in front of the bloodstained passenger seat of the Beemer, which was littered with broken glass after the shooting, sources said. 

No one was hit by any of the bullets, and it’s unclear which suspect was behind the wheel. 

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Knicks player Taj Gibson was among those seen leaving Pergola afterward. He was not involved in the incident. 

Monday’s robbery-crew incident was at least the second tied to Pergola, where a 34-year-old man had $100,000 worth of jewelry — including an Audemars Piguet watch — stolen from him when he left there early Aug. 19. 

Other incidents that are believed to be part of the pattern include the Sept. 16 heist at the Upper East Side Chinese restaurant Philippe Chow, where robbers stole a Rolex wristwatch from a man dining outdoors on Sept. 16. 

The bandits then set their sights on Melchior Cooke, 28, who was shot in the leg when he fought back. 

On Thursday, the ring — which numbers around 20 members — may have also struck in Tribeca, where Maksud Agadjani, who owns the Diamond District business TraxNYC, had $150,000 worth of jewelry stolen at gunpoint while leaving the Buddha-Bar Restaurant New York, sources said. 

The crooks’ other capers include an Aug. 14 robbery in which armed men hopped out of a Mercedes-Benz and stole more than $4 million worth of jewelry — mostly in the form of a Richard Mille watch — from two men who’d just left TAO Downtown in Manhattan. 

Those victims, who also lost $130,000 worth of chains and an $85,000 bracelet, were heading to a party when they were set upon, cops said. 

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An off-duty cop also fell victim to the gang Sept. 9 when he was robbed of a Tag Heuer watch outside the Silver Towers condominium apartment building on West 41st Street, sources said. 

The brazen crime spree has been taking place amid a recent rash of street violence — including the death of a nurse who was knocked to the ground following a Times Square mugging — that led dozens of parents to protest outside City Hall on Sunday to decry the danger. 

This story first appeared in the New York Post.