NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Queens father is calling for action Saturday after his son was robbed of his cellphone as he walked home from school, and police say it's part of a growing trend in the area.
"It is very, very important to get them off the street," Anthony Pedraza told CBS2's Dave Carlin in an exclusive interview.
Pedraza says his mission is to let other parents in Ozone Park, Queens know that cellphone thieves are brazenly finding their victims in the daytime and heartlessly picking on youngsters. The latest victim was his 12-year-old son, Greysen.
The seventh grader said the man who robbed him, along with three accomplices, confronted him Wednesday after school. Greysen had gotten off a city bus and was in a shopping center that fronts South Conduit Avenue.
The robbers made their move as he was walking on a dirt path to get to his house.
"I went to walk away and when I was crossing over the conduit, they came up to me and said they had a gun in a book bag and give me your phone," he said.
They took his iPhone, and nothing else. Greysen tried the "find my phone" feature, but had no luck.
"It said it's online, but it didn't have the location," he said.
"If they don't get caught and people come forward, eventually they're going to hurt someone," Anthony said.
The boy's father searched for surveillance video and found it at Ozone Diner, helping investigators acquire a crucial piece of evidence as they deal with a rise in daytime cellphone robberies of children.
Since late May, close to 10 kids have been robbed of their phones in separate cases in Ozone Park, Jamaica and other Queens neighborhoods. Police say they've responded with increased patrols in the afternoons when students are traveling home from school.
"I want these guys brought to justice," Anthony said.
The father is angry at the robbers who have his son's phone and peace of mind, Carlin reported. Now, he wants their freedom taken from them.
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