Ditmas locals fan out to find missing cafe owner

Ditmas Park asks: ‘Where is Josh Rubin’?
Rubin in 2011 before opening his Ditmas Park coffee shop.
File photo By Dan MacLeod

Friends, family, neighbors and customers fanned out across Ditmas Park on Saturday to widen the search for Josh Rubin, the owner of the cafe Whisk, who disappeared on Monday night.

Concerned locals met over the weekend at 570 Westminster Rd., the building that houses Rubin’s café, to pick up “Missing” fliers before going around the neighborhood to post them.

“We are trying every angle in our search,” wrote Jon on the “Find Josh Rubin” Facebook page.

Searchers have been checking local hospitals as well to find the missing man, who was last seen leaving his apartment on Monday night wearing jeans and a light-colored sweatshirt.

He was said to be under financial pressure as his two-month-old restaurant’s first rent check was due. Police said that they were pursuing whether Rubin was suffering from a mental illness.

“He seems to have been in a depressed state — it’s something that concerns us,” said Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez of the 70th Precinct.

The friends and family group’s weekend canvassing effort has been complemented by a vigorous digital campaign as well.

More than 750 people have friended the “Find Josh Rubin” Facebook page, and a Google map has been created with all the places that the missing poster has been distributed.

Some took to the micro-blogging website Twitter, while another person reached out to the New York Initiative — a spin-off of the “real life superhero” movement, to enlist the group’s help in the search for Rubin.

The online presence has helped spearhead an impressive effort on the ground in Brooklyn; hundreds of posters have been distributed from Ditmas Park to Manhattan.

“He was a very good guy,” said Tony Zabedra, who lives across the street from the café. “He always gave me a free cappuccino.”

Other shared similar stories of free coffees or pastries — and hoped for Rubin’s return.

“The neighborhood was thrilled to have him and his café — he was making a great contribution,” said Rosemarie Hester.

Any information about Rubin’s whereabouts should be directed to the 70th Precinct’s Detective Squad at (718) 851-5553.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531.