By Ben Fractenberg and Nicole Bode
EAST HARLEM — A wild squirrel invaded an East Harlem CVS this week and spent four days eluding staffers, entertaining passersby and chowing down on packages of mixed nuts, store workers said.
The mischievious gray squirrel quickly made itself comfortable in the drugstore at 116th Street and Lenox Avenue, escaping the staff who tried to catch it by bolting into corners or hiding behind aisles, a staffer said.
"He got in Monday at 7:15 a.m. — he just walked like a customer into the store. We tried to go after him and he was dodging and weaving," said a store staffer. "Today we came in and there were nuts all over the floor.
"They should put a red T-shirt on and call it Alvin," added the staffer, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing his job.
Around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, the squirrel climbed into the store's glass display window and got stuck there, and began racing back and forth to the delight of onlookers outside.
"When he got stuck in the window, it was like a tourist attraction," said the staffer.
About 15 kids gathered in front of the window to watch the show, while other passersby snapped photos on their cellphones, the staffer said.
Around 10 a.m., two police officers assigned to a local precinct who were passing by the store stopped in to tell staff the squirrel was there. A half hour later, the store's manager put a call in to police to make an official request for help getting the squirrel out of the store. By 10:45, four more police had arrived — including two wearing rubber gloves — to remove the critter.
When grabbing him didn't work, cops borrowed a gray dog mat from the store and pushed the squirrel into a cardboard box once they had it cornered.
They carried the squirrel outside to a waiting cage. The whole process was complete by about noon.
It was not immediately clear where the squirrel was taken. Calls to Animal Care and Control were not immediately returned.
Moazzen Hossain, 53, of Queens, who runs a produce stand in front of the entrance to the store, said he was glad that the squirrel was caught in the U.S., not Bangladesh where he emigrated from four years ago.
"In my country they would have..." and he made a slashing motion.
"It was a very good job by police," he added. "I hope they release it."