GREENPOINT — A man caught stealing an apple from a Greenpoint produce market on Friday bit and choked a store employee who told him he needed to pay for the fruit, police and witnesses said.
The thief seen grabbing an apple out of the bin in front of Rachel's Garden on Nassau Avenue Friday evening pushed the employee to the ground when the worker said he needed to pay for the produce, police said.
The suspect then "put his hands on [the employee's] neck, preventing him from breathing normally," tried to "cover [the employee's] mouth and nose with his jacket," and "bit his left ear," drawing blood, according to a police report.
The employee was sent to Woodhull Medical Center with swelling, bleeding and scratches, the report said.
"He just took one apple," another employee said of the thief. "We have people try to steal fruit every day, but no one's ever been this aggressive."
Other notable crimes in this week's blotter for the 94th Precinct include the following, with details from police reports:
• A group of four men confronted and robbed a man sitting on a bench in McCarren Park at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. One man grabbed the man's waist and said "give me your phone" and tried to go through his pockets.
• Men pretending to be police officers held up and robbed a man outside McDonald's on Meeker Avenue Saturday at 12:50 p.m. One suspect held a black gun and confronted the man when he was throwing away trash in the fast-food joint's parking lot, telling the man "Hold on. What you're doing is illegal." The suspect and another accomplice then demanded the man hand over cash, forcing him to give them $60 from an ATM and $60 from the victim's home.
• A group of people in costumes struck a man on the Williamsburg waterfront after he refused to give them a cigarette on Halloween night. The group hit the man with an unknown object that left him with a 3-inch gash on his head. He was taken from outside 175 Kent Ave to Bellevue Medical Center.