VIDEO: Phone Store Workers Held at Gunpoint in Midtown
MIDTOWN — An armed gunman hit a Madison Avenue cellphone shop Wednesday afternoon for the second time this year, making off with two bags full of smartphones, the owner said.
Mandeep Kumar, 39, the owner of BC Wireless at 218 Madison Ave., is fuming mad over the thefts, blaming police for not taking the first robbery attempt seriously, he said.
Wednesday's broad-daylight robbery unfolded just after 3 p.m., across from the Morgan Library & Museum, when two men wearing baseball caps, khaki cargo shorts, black shirts and carrying backpacks came into the store pacing nervously, the store's video shows.
A third man, wearing a fisherman's hat over dreadlocks, walked in moments later, pointing a handgun in his outstretched hand.
The crew went straight to work, walking behind the counter and ordering employees, including the owner's brother Sandeep Kumar, 33, down on the ground. They stuffed an estimated thousands of dollars worth of merchandise into their bags and fled the store down Madison Avenue, Mandeep Kumar said.
Sandeep recognized the man with dreadlocks from the previous robbery and took off running after them over to Fifth Avenue and down to 32nd Street where told an police officer in a patrol car, a K-9 unit, about the crime.
The brother said that the officer just told him not to point at the suspects and did not get out of his vehicle until the bandits had fled the scene.
The owner said he was angry because he felt the police did not follow up on the first robbery back on May 21. A teenager that the brothers believe was the same man in Wednesday's robbery came into the store and got behind the counter, but when a door to the back room shut, he fled.
"We spent six hours in the police station and they never called us again," Mandeep Kumar said.
He said the incident might have been avoided "if they would have taken the first case seriously when we provided them with the video — clear face anybody could recognize that person — but no one ever got back to us.”
He worried how the robbery would effect his extended family.
“This is my bread and butter. I have a couple of families that rely on it, and we lost more than $30,000 of stuff today,” he estimated.
Police had no information on the robbery.