A gang of armed robbers has been hitting Windsor Terrace hard, holding up neighborhood bodegas and getting away with lots of cash — but one of their victims is daring them to come back.
“I’m not afraid — I’ll get this son of a bitch,” said Jeff Samaha, the manager of Pierre’s Deli 2, a grocery store on the corner of 10th Avenue and 16th Street that was robbed by two gunmen on May 5.
Samaha was there that night, when the gun-wielding terrorists burst into the store.
“One man pointed a gun at me and the other held a gun to my wife’s head,” said Samaha, who was still seething with cold rage a week after the vicious attack.
If Samaha gets his chance to mess up the muggers, he’d actually be the second neighborhood grocery owner who fought back. On May 9, owners of Blondie’s Deli, on Greenwood Avenue between East Seventh Street and Prospect Avenue, responded with a brutal force that took even the thugs by surprise.
In that incident, the sixth in the gangsters’ month-long spree, the robbers burst into the store just before 7 pm. One of the brutes jumped up onto the counter and reached into the register, but the store’s owner lunged at him, driving him outside, where the fight continued.
Moments later, the owner’s uncle leapt out of the store with a baseball bat, swinging for the fences and sending the thugs fleeing to the safety of their getaway car.
Police said the latest two attacks are part of a string of remarkably similar incidents by the two gunmen and their accomplice in a black Ford Expedition SUV.
“They always hit someplace close to a highway, so they can get away quickly,” said a police spokeswoman.
Cops say that the reign of terror started on April 6 at Sarubia Grocery, on the corner of Avenue K and East 37th Street in Flatlands, but this robbery was foiled because the thugs could not get the cash register open.
Three more incidents quickly followed:
• On April 22, the gunmen returned to Sarubia Grocery at around noon, pistol-whipped a customer, and emptied the register.
• On April 29, the thugs entered a grocery store on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge at 10 pm, and one of the gunmen shot the clerk in the left shoulder before running off with a fistful of dollars. Police have not released the name of that store.
• On May 3, the two men stormed into Greenwood Mini Mart on Seventh Avenue at 20th Street at 8:30 pm, brandishing guns and demanding cash. They got what they wanted, then fled in their getaway car.
— Evan Gardner
Police are urging anyone with information about the crimes to call (800) 577-8477 (TIPS). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES), then entering TIP577.