UPDATE: We received the following information from Yisroel Pupko: “It’s been confirmed as a crime. The deputy inspector and sergeant were very helpful in getting it switched over.”
A mischievous rope trap in Prospect Park was a local cyclist’s undoing.
“My friend and I drove to the park with our bikes strapped to the back of the car,” Michael Wilhelm said, laughing. It was all he could do, a Midwood father of five, now indefinitely out of work, saddled with multiple rib fractures and some glaring bruises to the knees and arms.
“I always tell my kids: ‘the streets are dangerous,” Wilhelm said. “‘Use the park, that’s where you’ll be safe.'” He shook his head.
It was a warm night last Tuesday when the 45-year-old real estate manager and a friend decided to go an a recreational bike ride through Prospect Park. Traveling along the designated path, they filled their exercise quota with about four laps when they embarked on one last go-round.
“We had passed through the section near 15th Street and Prospect Park West several times,” Wilhelm said. “Whoever did this acted quickly.”
Neither Wilhelm or his friend noticed any changes on the last approach. But before they had time to react, a rope firmly tied across the entire pathway–from a telephone pole on one side to a fire hydrant on the other–caught Wilhelm’s front wheel and sent him flying.
“It could be kids playing a prank, or someone trying to steal a bike,” Wilhelm said. “Honestly, I have no idea. I just want the public to be aware, and be safe.”
Wilhelm’s bicycling companion, Yisroel Pupko, managed to stop his bicycle in time, avoiding injury. But he’s worried that the police may not be taking the investigation seriously.
“The police listened to our account but wrote ‘bicyclist ran over a rope, causing him to fall.’ This has me worried,” Pupko said. “They downplayed the severity of what happened and the danger to others.”
The location of the incident is near the southwest corner of Prospect Park, bordering Park Slope. A popular spot for pedestrians, cyclists, and recreational activities of all kinds, Wilhelm worries a similar threat exists for others until the perpetrators are caught.
Though neither Wilhelm nor Pupko noticed the rope until after the incident, another witness told police he saw three suspicious looking individuals standing around the hydrant just minutes before it occurred. The witness provided his information to Pupko and the police.
“Are the police following up on this?” Pupko asked.
The NYPD’s 78th Precinct responded to the incident. We have reached out to them for comment, but have not heard from them as of press time.