NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are searching for a group of men who were caught on camera attacking two men inside a Bronx bodega with machetes.
Bodega owners across the five boroughs say they need the city’s help to protect themselves from the rise in violence, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Tuesday.
Daylight didn’t stop the brazen attack that rolled into Colorado Deli in the Morrisania section of the Bronx at around 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Two men ran into the bodega for safety, both feuding sides armed with machetes and swinging. Friends of the store owner who witnessed the attack said he left town with his family on Monday night.
“He’s scared that some of those people that was in the fight they can do something. They can harm him,” said Francisco Marte, a friend of the owner.
The man seen on video wearing a red shit was slashed on the forehead, before his attackers ran off and police arrived.
For other bodega owners, the violence is stirring up flashbacks of the 2018 attack on Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, who was stabbed to death after he ran into a Bronx bodega for safety.
“I scared. Every day, I scared,” said Jose Collado of Yankee Deli. “I’m fearful because every day it’s a new situation.”
The United Bodegas of America praised police for quickly responding Sunday, but said the owners of essential businesses are helpless to defend themselves and need the city to step up.
“We need to refund our police department,” spokesman Fernando Mateo said. “We are business people. We pay for public safety. We pay enough money in taxes to get public safety and we are not getting it.”
Last year, the NYPD introduced the Safe Haven Bodega Program, a high-tech security system, including a panic switch that directly notifies security or police of a problem. The system costs bodega owners $4,000.
There are more than 12,000 bodegas across the city, but the United Bodegas of America said only about a dozen have been able to afford becoming a Safe Haven Bodega.
“We’re small. We’re selling chips, selling cakes. We’re not making hundreds of dollars of profit or nothing. We’re making cents,” bodega owner Randys Gonzalez said. “It’s an investment that as much as we need it we don’t have the funds to do it.”
Bodega owners said they’ve met with NYPD top brass to request increased patrols, while they wait for the city to respond to their concerns.
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