STATEN ISLAND, NY — Just before 3 p.m. last Tuesday, a pair of armed robbers broke into a Port Richmond convenience store demanding cash at the checkout.
Gun to the temple, the owner of Post Avenue Convenience chose to comply with the demands of the attackers threatening to take his life, he told Advance / SILive.com.
However, the quick-witted shopkeeper was able to pass on a message for help: he happened to be on the phone with his wife when the thieves broke in and were able to tell her in their native language to call 911 .
“My wife was with me on the phone. I told her in my language: ‘Someone, they robbed me, they have a gun now’, and she called 911, ”says the businessman.
For him, the items that were forcibly taken from the store, which police said included $1,500 in cash, were not worth the price of his life.
“When you see a gun to your head for something that’s nothing, money isn’t everything,” he said. “You take people’s lives for something stupid? Go to work.”
The store had only been open two months before the robbery.
The storekeeper described the tense moments on the phone with the 911 emergency operator.
“When we called the operator at 911, they took a long time to get information,” the owner said. “Just send the people and take the information afterwards because the time I got robbed they put a gun to my head.”
There have been no arrests and an investigation is still ongoing.
INCIDENTS IN PORT RICHMOND
Robbery is a problem that has plagued Port Richmond recently.
Earlier this year, two men were charged over an alleged robbery in which the victim was struck with a piece of plywood.
Four days later, a man and a woman robbed a 26-year-old man at gunpoint of his wallet containing $500, police said.
In January, authorities said two men were stabbed, whipped and suffocated during a home burglary in the neighborhood. Police have made at least one arrest in connection with the incident.
In March, the Port Richmond Strong organization met with local elected officials, civic groups and representatives from District Attorney Michael E. McMahon’s office to address the importance of public safety.
Thefts are up nearly 22% in the 121st Precinct as of Oct. 2, compared to the same time last year, according to CompStat, the NYPD’s computerized system for tracking crimes.
In 2022, there were 55 robberies compared to 45 in 2021 during the same period.