Kenneth Belcher, Bobby Riddick accused of targeting Hispanics in Riverhead
RIVERHEAD - Police say they have made two arrests after a series of muggings targeting Hispanic men in Riverhead.
Kenneth Belcher, of Riverhead, and Bobby Riddick, of Middle Island, are accused of robbing a man Monday on Old Country Road in Riverhead.
According to Newsday, there have been at least eight holdups of Hispanics this year. A total of 15 holdups happened last year in Riverhead.
It's not known if Riddick and Belcher are linked to any of the other cases.
Luis Valenzuela, of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, says Latinos represent about 6 percent of the population in Riverhead, but they account for 65 to 68 percent of the victims of these types of crimes.
Sister Margaret Smyth, of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate, says one Latino was beaten so badly with a baseball bat late last year that he was in a coma and nearly died. She says immigrants are often reluctant to open bank accounts and shy away from filing police reports if robbed.
Riverhead police, the town board and the supervisor are now reviving their anti-bias task force and distributing leaflets through Smyth's group and others.
The Long Island Immigrant Alliance says it plans to hold a meeting next Monday to discuss what can be done to stop the attacks against Latinos in the area.