QUEENS — You could say the coronavirus, in a way, helped to catch a alleged car carjacker in Queens.
Because a prayer service at a mosque was being held outdoors Friday due to COVID-19 concerns, more than 100 of the faithful witnessed the crime as it was happening with many springing into action to help the victim grab the suspect.
When MD Luthfur Rahman, a car jacking victim, was asked by PIX11 News if he was a hero, he chuckled softly and replied no.
The 28-year-old Uber driver is modest but brave.
Rahman was sitting in his Honda Civic preparing to go to an outside prayer service at his Glenmore Avenue mosque, Al-Furqan Jane Masjid, when police say two teens approached him and demanded his cell phone and his car.
“They had a knife and pepper spray,” Rahman said.
Police say the two teens then drove away with Rahman’s Honda and smashed it into several parked cars a few blocks away before getting out and running away on foot.
That’s when Rahman gave chase, picking up what looks like a construction beam, and from surveillance video, chased one of the teens across Pitkin Avenue and with the help of two others from his mosque held the teen until police arrived:
”I could see the guys running this way so we ran to the corner,” Neyul Haque, a member of the mosque, told PIX11 News.
Back at Al-Furqan Jane Masjid, two healthcare workers, on hand because of COVID-19 concerns to take temperatures for this outdoor prayer service, helped the injured Uber driver.
“He was complaining that his eye was hurting and burning," Asia Allen, a healthcare worker, said. “It needed to be washed out properly. I threw a whole bottle of water in his eye, he definitely could see better before the ambulance came."
As police hunt for the carjacking accomplice, Rahman worried about how he will pay for the thousands of dollars in damage to his car that he can no longer drive to make money to send back home to his family in Bangladesh.
“I don’t have anything, I don’t have a job, I don’t have a car,” Rahman told PIX11 News. “ I’m thinking about these things,” he added.
Police are questioning a 15-year-old male about the incident. No charges have been filed yet.