NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- New Rochelle residents poured off Metro-North trains, out of office buildings and apartment into the streets, in the middle of the rush hour crush were confronted with massed police activity throughout the downtown area. Police engaged in a high-speed pursuit in the downtown area including heading the wrong way into incoming traffic on Main Street before three suspects abandoned their vehicle, split up and sent dozens of police officers into foot pursuits.
The incident ended with no on hurt, three suspects in custody and a car impounded near the train station.
James Romulus, 29, of 1153 East 57th Street, Brooklyn, NY, Yamahi C Hogarth, 29, of 103-16 114th Street, Queens, NY and Tyronne Watson, 23, of 5422 Beach Channel Drive, Queens, NY were each charged with one count of Possessing a Forged Instrument, a Class D Felony with additional charges to follow.
The incident began at about 6:30 p.m. when the store manager at the Stop & Shop at New Roc City flagged down a passing New Rochelle police officer to report what he believed to be an attempt to make purchases with multiple fraudulent credit cards.
The manager later told police that he was informed by an employee that an individual had attempted to make purchases of gift cards that exceeded $800 just minutes after another individual had attempted to do the same, unsuccessfully and then left.
The store manager went over to the customer service area to interview the individual, a male black, dark complexion, wearing a white t-shirt, red baseball cap, black pants, and white/red Jordan sneakers. He says he told the man photo ID would be required to complete the transaction to which the man replied "My ID is in my car" and “Let me go get it". The store manager told police he found it odd that this individual was holding a big stack of assorted credit cards in his hands.
Sensing something was wrong, the store manager followed the man has walked out of the store and into the parking lot and observed what he considered further suspicious behavior. The individual first proceeded to walk passed a black Cadillac car that was parked and then returned back to it and enter the front passenger-side door.
The store manager saw Sergeant Justin Wilson, a New Rochelle police officer, driving in the area and flagged him down, and told him what happened. As the store manager was telling the police officer the story, the black Cadillac drove off, exiting on the Harrison Street side near New Rochelle Firehouse #1. The officer then began to search for the black Cadillac
The police officer pursued three occupants in the black Cadillac. He was able to catch up to the black Cadillac at Huguenot Street and LeCount Place. The vehicle had a license plate GVF 9581 and a completely cracked drivers side mirror. The officer attempted a vehicle stop as he passed North and Huguenot Street. The vehicle pulled over on Lawton Street close to the Huguenot Street intersection. Wilson then exited my vehicle. As he approached the drivers side window, the black Cadillac sped away Southbound on Lawton Street at a high rate of speed. Wilson ran back to his vehicle and attempted to catch up to the black Cadillac. The vehicle then turned right onto Main Street and proceeded to drive westbound in the wrong direction of a one way street. Wilson observed the vehicle turn right onto Memorial highway and continue Northbound at a high rate of speed. The vehicle then turned right onto Depot Plaza and proceeded to drive eastbound in the wrong direction on a one way street. The vehicle was unable to proceed down the street due to heavy traffic and three occupants then exited the vehicle on Bridge Street in back of 270 North Avenue near the upper taxi stand.
The three suspects then ran eastbound through the Chase Bank garage.
One suspect ran through the the train station area before begin taken down on the northbound train platform. Melvin Molina was handcuffed and transported to police headquarters.
The other two suspects ran through the parking area under 270 North Avenue, crossed North Avenue, ran through the Bank of America located at 277 North Avenue, came out on Huguenot Street. One of the suspects was observed by another police officer entering the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in the Trump building.
Inside, the hostess told the police officer there were two men fitting the description of the suspects that had just come into the restaurant, that they appeared nervous and out of breath. She told the officer the two men were in the bathroom. As the officer walked towards the bathroom a different male black wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans who appeared sweaty and was wiping his face with a paper towel walking towards him. The hostess identify the man as the person she had been referring to a moment earlier as having coming in before the second man.
The suspect passed the police officer. The officer turned around and said "sir could I please ... " at which point the suspect took off running out of the restaurant. The officer chased the suspect onto Huguenot Street at which point a second officer joined the pursued and grabbed the suspect, James Romulus.
Romulus was handcuffed and ultimately placed in a police car for transport to headquarters.
Police then located the second suspect, still in the bathroom at the Texas Roadhouse.
A police officer went to the back of the Texas Roadhouse. He pushed the door open and heard rustling in the back of the bathroom. The officer identified himself and asked for the person to show himself. Getting no response, the office waited for backup before pushing the door open at which point police observed a male black wearing all black, Yamahi Hogarth.
A witness in the Texas Roadhouse told police that he observed Romulus and Hogarth walk into the restaurant about a minute apart both appearing nervous. Both appeared out of breath and sweaty. The witness observed both Romulus and Hogarth go into the bathroom. While police were taking Romulus into custody the witness stated he observed Hogarth walk casually to the easternmost booth in the front of the restaurant and slide into the booth facing a woman. He observed the woman to recoil back as if in fear. He then heard Hogarth say "I'm just checking things out". When the police left the restaurant searching for Romulus, Hogarth returned to the bathroom at which point the witness went outside and told police that Hogarth was in the bathroom.
Back at the store, the store manager showed store surveillance video to a another police office. The video depicted both individuals including a second male black wearing black Adidas sweat pants with white stripes running of the side and a green hooded jacket with camouflage sleeves. Both men were observed entering and exiting the black Cadillac at different times. The police also obtained CCTV video footage of surveillance cameras stationed around the downtown area.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is based largely on police records obtained under a Freedom of Information request.