By Reuvain Borchardt
BROOKLYN – A former employee smashed the window of a Crown Heights pizzeria and stole the store’s delivery bike, in a burglary captured on surveillance footage early Monday morning.
At approximately 3:45 a.m., the man walked to Sauce N Cheese on Albany Avenue between Lefferts and E. New York Avenue, carrying a bag with what appears to be a long, heavy object. He smashed the store window, grabbed his electric bike and fled, all in less than 25 seconds.
The bike was valued at $2,000 and the store window will cost $1,800 to replace, said the store manager, who declined to be named. Hamodia.
The manager said he recognized the burglar as a former part-time employee of the store, whose name is Mel and worked there intermittently around 2016 or 2017. The manager said he had just seen Mel walk past the store on Sunday. , and that Mel stole a bike from the store in 2019, snatching the bike as workers closed the store for the evening.
According to the manager, Mel has been arrested at least once in New Jersey, and “he keeps bouncing between New Jersey and New York.”
The store was cleaned and opened as usual at 11:00 a.m. Monday.
Store owner Menachem Sheinberger said Hamodia he has recently seen a big increase in crime in the area and he is frustrated because he thinks criminals are not being aggressively prosecuted.
Sheinberger said he urges everyone to report every crime, no matter how small.
“In Crown Heights, and maybe New York in general, people don’t report crimes because they know nothing will happen,” Sheinberger said. “Nevertheless, I think every crime should be reported. If each of us reports every crime, however minor, slowly but surely the reports will pile up. And something should happen.
Sheinberger, who will now install metal gates above his store windows, said Hamodia that a scooter was stolen from a customer at his other store, Holesome Bagels, several months ago.
He also said he lived across from a Dollar Tree store which suffers from frequent shoplifting.
“Thefts have become commonplace over the past year,” he said.
Sheinberger’s claim is backed up by NYPD statistics: In June of this year, there was a 41% increase in robberies, a 36% increase in robberies, and a 34% increase in burglaries in New York, compared to the same month in 2021. The month of May saw a 42% increase in robberies, a 26% increase in robberies and a 28% increase in burglaries, compared to the period of last year. In April, robberies increased by 41%, robberies increased by 48% and burglaries increased by 40% compared to April 2021.
The sense of no consequences for the crime was also expressed in a tweet Monday morning by Crown Heights activist Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, who wrote: “This morning in Crown Heights. A cheeky thief smashes the window of a pizzeria to steal a bicycle. Why go through all that effort just for a bike? Answer: he knows he will not be caught or prosecuted. @NYPD71Pct prove him wrong!
When asked why he believed crime was increasing, Sheinberger replied, “I don’t know, I’m not a politician. I’m just a guy who wants to make a living in New York.