Sen. Sampson at war with McDonalds

An ongoing push to have a notorious 24-hour McDonald’s restaurant on Rockaway Parkway and Conklin Avenue closed at night was given new life last week when State Senator and Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson joined the anti-fry fray against real-life hamburglars.

Sampson said that a McFlurry of complaints about the late night mischief spurred him to take action and ask the owner of the franchise to change his hours of operation. He is also taking his request to people at McDonald’s corporate headquarters, he said.

“We want them to close at night because of the criminal element that flocks there,” he said.

“We don’t need that McDonald’s operating 24 hours,” he said, explaining that residents have repeatedly complained about “suspicious and dangerous activity there at night and during the early morning area.”

The McDonald’s — one of two on Rockaway Parkway, the second can be found by Seaview Avenue and has normal hours — hosted at least one shooting last year, police said. The second shooting took place around the corner as a patron started firing off a gun as he left the establishment.

At the same time, the McDonald’s has also been a victim: masked gunmen held up the eatery at 11 p.m. back in April, escaping with $1000 in receipts from the store safe.

Area police applauded Sampson’s intervention on what they said was an ongoing problem.

“I would love nothing more than to see that place closed in the late night hours and agree with the senator’s concerns,” said Captain Milt Marmara, the commanding officer of the 69th Precinct. “Unfortunately the owner of this McDonald’s has not been receptive to our community complaints.”

Marmara described the eatery as a “beacon of criminal activity during the late night hours because there are few locations that are open.”

Marmara has asked the franchise owner to consider closing from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. but no headway has been made, he said.

“Even if it was closed for those four hours, it would be a boon for the community,” he said.

Yet a daytime manager said that the complaints are overblown.

“I don’t know of any problems here at night,” said the manager, who admitted that he had only been working there for a month.

In a statement sent through McDonald’s corporate headquarters, franchise operator Joseph Mbanefo said that “operating safe restaurants is a top priority” and that they have “long-standing safety and security policies and procedures in place.”

“Concerns about security at one of my restaurants has recently been brought to our attention,” he said. “We are currently looking into these concerns. McDonald’s strives to be a good neighbor wherever we do business and like other area businesses, we will continue to work with the New York Police Department to ensure we’re providing a safe and pleasant environment for all our customers and our employees.”

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