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Riot In Greenwich Village Dunkin' Donuts Caught on Video

By DNAinfo Staff on May 23, 2011 7:47am  | Updated on May 23, 2011 8:01am

Andrea Swalec

Special to DNAinfo

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Security video shows two dozen youths unleash a rampage in a Greenwich Village Dunkin' Donuts, overturning tables and coffee machines and hurling chairs at staff in a furious attack.

The apparently unprovoked onslaught was caught on cameras in the 75 Christopher St. store.

"It was crazy. It was like (an) earthquake," said employee M.B. Alam, 25, of the Bronx, who was working at the store on Monday last week.

Alam said the gang destroyed a table and a hot chocolate machine worth more than $2,000 — yet left the cash register untouched.

The chaos began just after 8 p.m. when the pack swept into the store and began terrorizing the staff, witnesses said.

The security footage viewed by DNAinfo shows one of the youths jumping up on the countertop while others hurl tables and chairs.

The rampage lasted about seven minutes. The video shows some of the youths grabbing drinks out of the refrigerated cooler and snatching pastries from the racks behind the counter before they fled.

One of the customers present at the time of the attack, Frank Shaffer, said he and his partner were at a table drinking coffee when the youths entered.

They sat at a table, then one of them slammed a chair against the floor. As the incident spiraled out of control, Shaffer called 911.

Residents have complained of a spree of criminal activity in the area recently. They have criticized the police response as tepid.

Robert Ziegler, owner and manager of the bar Boots and Saddle, which is located across the street from the Dunkin' Donuts, said the number of incidents on the block is troubling.

"We've seen more and more violence every day," he said, adding that his bar was the site of a similar attack a week prior to the Dunkin' Donuts incident.

Ziegler said youths stormed into his bar last Monday, knocked over chairs, ripped items from the walls and pushed patrons. He said it took police from the 6th Precinct 45 minutes to arrive.

There have been five reported muggings on Christopher Street in the past month, and bar owners have been beefing up security to try to keep their customers safe.

Reports of felony assault in the 6th Precinct, which covers Christopher Street, have risen almost 19 percent in the past year, according to the NYPD's CompStat reports.

Reports of robbery and rape have also risen, while overall crime has fallen by more than five percent in the same period.

A spokeman for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's, whose district includes the area, said they are aware of the incident and have been in regular contact with the 6th Precinct about it and other similar incidents.

"We will continue to work with the NYPD to make sure Christopher Street is a safe place especially as the weather gets nicer and more people flock to the area," Quinn spokesman Jamie McShane said in an email.

Dunkin' Donuts manager Jaman Ranil, who was not present at the store during the violence said he called the local precinct on Thursday to remind them that there was security video of the attack available. As of Friday, he claimed no one had come to view it.

An NYPD spokesman said "there is an active investigation by the Precinct Detective squad for criminal mischief at 75 Christopher Street."

Ben Fractenberg also contributed to this story.