Missing cafe owner was thinking about moving

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

The Ditmas Park café owner who disappeared two weeks ago may actually have been planning his own escape.

Josh Rubin, the owner of Whisk who vanished without a trace on Oct. 31, had negotiated with a neighbor to sublet his room in a Lawrence Street apartment.

The neighbor, Zach Boyce, told The Brooklyn Paper that he discussed taking over Rubin’s room starting on Nov. 8 — and had looked at the place the day before Rubin disappeared.

“I talked to him about it two weeks before the end of the October,” said Boyce. “Just before the end of the month, I went to see the room. He told me that he was getting a house with some better friends of his.”

Rubin’s roommates said that they knew nothing of Rubin’s plans to move out.

It remains unclear exactly why Rubin would consider giving up his room, but experts said that it could be a good sign.

“It shows planning,” said Monica Caison, the founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons. “It shows that [the missing person] was working on trying to solve some of his issues. People who are suicidal don’t plan.”

Detectives continue to search for the 30-year-old — and a police source said that cops remain concerned about Rubin’s mental state because he suffers from bipolar disorder. Rubin is also a diabetic and did not have his medication when he left his apartment on Oct. 31.

Rubin was under considerable financial pressure in the days before he disappeared. Indeed, he went missing on the same day that his first rent payment was due.

Rubin’s landlord had given him a couple of months of free rent to get his business off the ground, but it is unclear if it ever did. The cafe was well-loved, but it also appeared to be struggling, according to regulars.

“It never quite had the crowds I expected it do,” said a neighbor resident. “I just didn’t get the impression that they totally had their act together.”

Meanwhile, a family-and-friend–led search for Rubin continues, though there is some evidence that the effort is slowing. The “Find Josh Rubin” Facebook page hasn’t been regularly updated — despite the nearly daily updates before that. The last update was Monday night, when the webmaster complained that some “Missing” posters had been torn down.

Still, locals remain concerned about the well-liked cafe owner’s whereabouts and continue to hope for the best.

“I hope that he just split [town]. It may be horrible and humiliating — but it’s still fixable,” said the coop tenant.

Any information about Rubin’s whereabouts should be directed to the 70th Precinct at (718) 851-5557.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/from_where_isit.