April 5, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Several business owners in Long Island City were left stunned Tuesday morning after two suspects allegedly went on a crime spree in the area leaving a path of broken glass and empty cash registers.
Instead of opening up for the day’s trade, the business owners were seen sweeping up shattered glass and speaking to the NYPD as the front of their establishments were cordoned off with yellow police tape.
The alleged thieves burglarized four eateries between 3:35 a.m. and 5 a.m. and made off with thousands of dollars in cash. They also attempted to break into a fifth business but failed.
In each incident, the suspects smashed their way through the front door and ransacked the establishment. It is unclear whether the suspects were on foot or used a getaway vehicle.
The first burglary took place at around 3:35 a.m. when the alleged thieves smashed their way into The Inkan, a Peruvian Restaurant located at 45-02 23rd St., and stole alcohol.
Around 15 minutes later, the pair targeted Möge Tee, a bubble tea store located at 42-38 Crescent St. by smashing through the glass front door. When inside, the assailants hauled out a cash register and fled, police said.
Jason Zheng, who owns the Möge Tee store, said the register was found empty this morning– discarded on the sidewalk around 100 feet away from his shop. He said that there was $3,000 in the register prior to the burglary.
He estimated that it will cost him $1,000 to replace his front door.
At 4:10 a.m. the suspects broke into Communitea tea house and coffee shop, located at 11-18 46th Rd, and stole an undetermined amount of cash, police said.
Next, at around 4:35 a.m., the assailants tried to force open the front door of Wild Flour, a bakery located at 9-03 44th Rd., but were unsuccessful, police said.
Lastly, at around 5 a.m., the suspects burglarized Olives Organic Market, a deli located at 42-37 27th St. The perpetrators threw a rock through the front glass door and then rummaged through the store before taking cash from the register, police said.
A worker at the store said $2,000 cash was taken and that the suspects also swiped soda.
Police were seen going door-to-door in the area today asking business owners whether their establishments had been burglarized by the suspects.
Meanwhile, Zheng said it was not the first time his store has been targeted. He said that in one incident a large window was smashed costing him $2,800 to replace, while in another he chased a would-be robber out of the store.
Zheng said he has noticed a significant uptick in crime in the area recently.
“Before COVID-19 I think it was safer, now there are crazy people everywhere,” Zheng said.