Updated 07/11/2009 11:10 AM
Teen Charged With String Of Anti-Gay Hate Crimes
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Police arrested a teenager and charged him Friday in connection with three alleged anti-gay bias attacks in Manhattan.
Driton Nicaj, 19, an Upper East Side resident was charged with robbery as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime.
Joe Holladay, 36, seen above, said he was attacked and robbed by a group of men who yelled anti-gay slurs outside his friend's Upper East Side apartment building on June 28.
Police said Nicaj also attacked and robbed two 19-year-old men in Carl Schurz Park in the Upper East Side on May 31.
Upper East Side residents were unnerved that Nicaj lived on East 84th Street, just a few blocks from the locations of the attacks.
"Oh my God, that's even more devastating. I'm so glad they caught him," said a local. "That makes it so much horrifying to me that it was someone from the neighborhood. It's disgraceful."
"I was really shocked because I thought it was a really safe neighborhood and pretty liberal and you wouldn't think that it would happen," said another.
As of late Friday, police were still looking for more suspects in the case.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.