Three men were robbed at gunpoint in Central Park early Sunday morning, renewing fears among residents that Manhattan's famed park is not safe after dark.
Two late-night strollers were walking along the east edge of the park near the intersection of East Drive and E. 102nd St. when the trio of armed suspects approached at 12:30 a.m., police said.
As one suspect brandished a handgun, his two accomplices snatched one victim's wallet and the other's ATM card, police said.
Neither man -- one 25, the other 22 -- tried to resist, police said.
Just then, a 46-year-old man walking in the park inadvertently stumbled upon the confrontation, and the armed men took his wallet as well, police said.
"I've always thought of this area as safe, so it does give me pause," said Deni Alascon, 28, who was walking in the park hours later.
"I never expected this to happen," Alascon said. "It tells me you could get stuck up anywhere."
As the trio of suspects ran off, the victims flagged down a passerby to call 911, police said.
After the perpetrators' descriptions were broadcast over the police radio system, 20-year-old Ramelle Moore was arrested one block from the park.
Moore, whose prior arrest record includes busts for drug possession and trespassing, was charged with robbery and criminal possession of a weapon. His accomplices remain at large.
No one was injured during the stick-up, police said.
News of the brazen robbery frightened many of the parkgoers enjoying a unseasonably mild day, and several suggested that the park should be avoided at night.
"When you walk through the park that late, you're playing Russian Roulette," said Ruby Pearson, 60, an art dealer whose son was robbed in the park earlier this year.
"99.9 % of the time, it's going to be fine," Pearson said, "but all it takes is one desperate guy and you're going to be in trouble."
It was not immediately clear if Moore and his associates had previously robbed other people in the park, police said. Reports of robberies in Central Park are down slightly so far this year, according to NYPD statistics.
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