Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fort Greene Bodega Owner Foils Laundromat Robbery

Sometimes, a quick trip out can turn into something more than a poppy seed bagel with scallion cream cheese. So it is with this eyewitness account from a GL reader of an attempted robbery of a laundromat in Fort Greene on Friday:
I was working from home in Fort Greene yesterday and I saw someone try to rob my local laundromat when I went out to get a bagel. I was walking down to La Bagel Delight on Lafayette around 11 AM. The bagel shop is right next to the laundromat, and as I passed it I noticed someone was on the outside forcing the door shut. When I looked closer there was someone else on the inside holding a guy who was struggling to get out the door. I watched for a bit and nothing much else was happening, so I went to get my bagel.

On my way back it was the same scene, only a small crowd had gathered around the laundromat. I asked a bystander what was going on and she told me someone had tried to rob the laundromat, but Ralph the bodega owner ran in and had the robber trapped inside. She told me the cops were on the way, but I couldn't see any sign of them. Ralph was the guy holding the wannabe robber, so he must have rushed down when he heard what was going on and grabbed the guy. I asked the bystander how long they'd been waiting for the cops and she told me 10 minutes. I said that's an awful long time to wait but she was she sure someone had called them. I was dubious so I called 911 myself and reported it as something that had probably already been called in. I gave the details and the dispatcher said it hadn't been called in. She asked me if there were any weapons involved and I immediately said I couldn't see any, because I know that can make cops come in with guns blazing and I didn't want to be responsible for the next Brooklyn shooting. In less than a minute, a squad car pulled up, burst into the laundromat and handcuffed the guy struggling to get out. More cops followed and they started questioning the bystanders, but Ralph the bodega guy left right away and went back to his bodega counter and his waiting customers. I left too, because I'd work to do, but I'd given my number to the dispatcher if they had questions.

Needless to say, it's not the kind of drama I expect to see on my way to the bagel shop at 11:00 on a Friday morning. Makes me wonder what else I miss in my neighborhood when I go to work!
We're glad to know that it ended the way that it did and that no one was hurt.

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