Porn Shop Owner Shrugs Off Multiple Robberies

By Mathew Katz on April 12, 2012 10:45am 

Police are searching for four men, including the one pictured above, wanted in a string of fanny pack robberies on Manhattan's West Side.
Police are searching for four men, including the one pictured above, wanted in a string of fanny pack robberies on Manhattan's West Side.
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NYPD

CHELSEA — A quartet of quarter-snatching thieves has struck an Eighth Avenue porn shop four times since last year, targeting workers' coin-filled fanny packs used to provide customers change for taking in flesh flicks, the owner and police said.

According to cops, a group of four robbers who stole money from workers' waist-mounted pouches at The Erotica twice in 2011 returned to rob the 24-hour shop twice more on March 17 and April 1.

However, the shop's owner has taken a relaxed attitude toward the thefts, noting the thieves only snatched loose change.

"This is Manhattan and these things happen," said the owner of the 10-year-old shop at 336 Eighth Ave., who declined to give his name. "It's not a big deal."

The owner said the store is staffed overnight by two workers, each of whom wears a large denim fanny pack to provide customers with change when they use booths in the back to watch flesh flicks.

He added that the pouches rarely have more than $50 in them, so each robbery was a relatively minor dent in the profits of the store, where customers can buy and watch steamy DVDs that can cost up to $300.

The Erotica's owner also said that during the early-morning April 1 robbery, two of the suspects brought a third person into the shop and gave him oral sex in the back room before the recipient struck a worker in the back of the head and took his fanny pack.

"It's a real problem, hustlers come in here to [perform oral sex]," he said. "We don't let it happen, but we can only do so much, you know?"

A large neon sign on the shop also advertises 25-cent video, magazines, novelties and lingerie.

"We know this business, it dangerous sometimes," the owner said. "We know what we do."

Police said the same group of robbers stole cash on April 3 from Vihan's Video, a porn shop and peep show at 592 Eighth Ave. that advertises itself as having the "Best Selection in Town."

The robbers also allegedy stole cash from a grocery store at 532 Ninth Ave. that same night, cops said.

Workers at both shops would not comment on the robberies.

All four supsects, described as men in their 30s, did not participate in every robbery, police said Cops released a photo of one, estimated to be about 5-foot-9 with short black hair and a dark jacket. Another was described as standing about 6-foot-2.

Anyone with information in regard to any of on these incidents is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crimes Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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