Man Punches Woman in Food Emporium Checkout Line, Police Say

By Heather Holland on February 26, 2014 9:09am 

 A woman waiting in the checkout line at the Food Emporium in Union Square was punched in the face by a man who thought she was leaning too close to him, police said.
A woman waiting in the checkout line at the Food Emporium in Union Square was punched in the face by a man who thought she was leaning too close to him, police said.
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Dnainfo/Heather Holland

UNION SQUARE — A woman waiting in the checkout line at the Food Emporium in Union Square was punched in the face by a man who thought she was leaning too close to him, police said.

Twenty-nine-year-old Jamel Holiday was paying for his groceries at the 10 Union Square East store about 11:20 p.m. on Feb. 13 when the 51-year-old woman waiting behind him asked the cashier for a trash can so she could throw out her gum, police said.

As the woman leaned in to toss the gum, Holiday punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground, police said.

The woman suffered minor injuries to her face and hip and was taken to Beth Israel for treatment, police said.

Holiday was charged with assault and harassment, police said.

He was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination and was held without bail, pending his arraignment on Feb. 28, records show.

Holiday’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other recent crimes in the 13th Precinct include:

► A man who attacked the owner of a convenience store was found with 35 bags of marijuana in his jacket pocket when he was arrested, police said.

Elijah Stevens, 18, walked into the store at 162 E. 23rd St. near Third Avenue about 2:40 p.m. Feb. 17, looked around, left and then returned a few minutes later and asked to see the register, according to police and Mohammed Naseeruddin, who's owned the store for 20 years.

"When he saw I was alone, he came back," said Naseeruddin. "I told him that he didn't buy anything and that if he didn't leave I would call the police."

In response, Stevens punched him in the face twice, police said. Naseeruddin needed 28 stitches, police said.

Police arrived on the scene and arrested Stevens, uncovering 35 bags of marijuana in his jacket pocket, police said.

Stevens was charged with assault.

Information regarding Stevens’ lawyer was not immediately available.

► A 22-year-old Peter Cooper Village resident was randomly pepper-sprayed in the face by a stranger as he was walking at Third Avenue and East 23rd Street about 3:10 a.m. on Feb. 8, police said.

The attacker fled in an unknown direction, and the victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital for an eye wash, according to police.

Nothing was stolen from the victim, police said.

► A 20-year-old man was arrested for attacking another patient as he was sleeping in a shared room at Bellevue Hospital, according to police.

The 45-year-old victim was sleeping in a room he shared with Joseph Souhr at the 462 First Ave. hospital at about 1:33 a.m. on Feb. 20 when Souhr suddenly began cursing at the victim, police said. Souhr then jumped on the victim's bed, put him in a headlock and began punching him repeatedly, police said.

The victim was left with cuts on his face, cheeks and nose, police said.

Souhr was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. He is due in court on Feb. 25.

Information regarding Souhr’s lawyer was not immediately available.

Bellevue did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

► A man grabbed a woman’s crotch inside of the Flatiron restaurant and bar Mari Vanna, police said.

Vassil Strachnikov, 33, groped the woman at the 41 E. 20th St. restaurant, near Park Avenue South, about 1 a.m. on Feb. 19, police said.

He was charged with forcible touching, a misdemeanor. He is due in court on March 27.

Information regarding Strachnikov’s lawyer was not immediately available.

► Four teens were arrested after police spotted them with stolen Citi Bikes in front of 33 E. 17th St. near Park Avenue South, police said.

Police caught the teens with four bikes, which are worth $1,100 each, at about 10 p.m. on Feb. 22.

The teens, ages 16 and 17, were charged with criminal possession of stolen property, a felony, police said.

Information regarding their lawyers was not immediately available.

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