Following a string of burglaries at Bay Ridge restaurants, U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis joined business owners and concerned residents to talk about the rise in crime.
During the conference, held Sept. 26 outside Louie’s Gyros, 7720 Third Ave., the Republican congressmember called on Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature to reverse the state’s bail reform laws.
“We want our city, state and federal leaders to take action to address public safety that is crippling our community, reducing the quality of life and causing small businesses to close and New Yorkers to flee for safer places,” Malliotakis said. “Enough is enough. How many times do we have to read in the newspaper about crime occurring in our community?”
Malliotakis spoke about the burglaries that took place in Bay Ridge on two nights a week apart, when men stole a combined $28,000 from six businesses.
The thieves first struck on Aug. 30.
• At 1 a.m., a man stole $12,500 from the cash register in Lobo Loco on Third Avenue and 85th Street.
• At 1:34 a.m., two men stole $4,100 from Cebu on Third Avenue and 88th Street.
• At 3 a.m., two men broke the glass front door of El Malecon Diner on Fourth Avenue and 87th Street and stole $5,395 in cash and $300 in jewelry.
The crooks had another busy night Sept. 5.
• At midnight, a man stole $800 from Positano on Fourth Avenue and 101st Street.
• At 12:37 a.m., a man stole $1,100 from Beets and Carrots on Third Avenue and 99th Street.
• At 2:50 a.m., three men stole $3,730 from Fantastic Bagels on Fourth Avenue and 86th Street.
Malliotakis also mentioned the Sept. 24 robbery at Apple Bank on Fifth Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway.
“I can almost guarantee you it was repeat offenders,” she said, “but thanks to the disastrous bail law Albany refuses to fix, we’re seeing hardworking, tax-paying citizens being taken advantage of and their businesses are under attack. It’s well past time for our state leadership to take the issue of public safety accountable and rising crime seriously.”
According to the New York Post, the 68th Precinct has seen a 26-percent spike in major crimes compared to a year ago. Murder went from zero to two, grand larceny was up 46 percent, auto theft increased 44 percent, felony assault rose seven percent, and robbery was up 3 percent.
Business owners at the conference said they were frightened and frustrated.
Joe Mancino from Peppino’s, 7708 Third Ave., said his restaurant was burglarized a year ago.
“The worst thing is the safety part and how we feel as Bay Ridge residents and New Yorkers,” Mancino said. “We don’t feel as safe as we did and that’s not fair. My business has been affected because people don’t come to the area like they were coming.”
“Being a new business in the area, it concerns me a lot with what’s going on with the robberies and break-ins,” said Louie Lykourezos, owner of Louie’s Gyros, who added security measures to his restaurant. “It costs a lot of money, for damages, for the places that are going through it, and nothing is happening to the criminals. They’re out before the officers finish the paperwork.”
Dr. Habib Joudeh from 5th Avenue Pharmacy said he fears for business owners’ lives.
“[The thieves] walk in with guns or with knives, we have to stand up for our businesses,” Joudeh said. “Our government and representatives should make reforms so we can walk the streets with no fear. New Yorkers should come first.”
Malliotakis said she recently introduced a bill on the federal level that would require states to give judges discretion in setting bail.