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Cat Locked Inside Candy Store That Was Shuttered by Landlord

 James Leary, who has operated Jimmy's Candy Store on Tompkins Avenue for more than 40 years, said new building owners are forcing him out.
James Leary, who has operated Jimmy's Candy Store on Tompkins Avenue for more than 40 years, said new building owners are forcing him out.
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DNAinfo/Camille Bautista

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A Brooklyn candy store’s 40-year run on Tompkins Avenue ended on a sour note after a new landlord locked its owners out — and their pet cat inside.

Jimmy’s Candy Store, known in the neighborhood for its sweet treats and longtime owner James Leary, closed the business at 406 Tompkins Ave. in late May following a court ruling in favor of the building’s new deed holder.

The family says it hasn't been allowed to retrieve its belongings since the May 27 eviction — including Sheshe the cat who's been locked inside for more than a month.

She is being tended by the landlord's representatives, according to court documents.

But Deborah Leary, daughter of Jimmy Leary, said she is unsure if the cat is still alive.

As of Monday afternoon, Sheshe remained shut inside and arrangements have yet to be made with building reps — in spite of a June 12 ruling asking that the animal be returned to the Learys, the family said.

Deborah Leary, 51, had fought the eviction for more than seven months.

“This is my father’s life," she said. "Why not make his latter years his better years? Even if you do own the building, how can you not come to us respectfully?”

The ground-floor storefront received a 30-day notice of termination on Sept. 25, 2014, two months after 406 Tompkins Equity LLC bought the building for $1.275 million, according to court documents.

Following the store’s refusal to vacate and lengthy court proceedings, a judge ordered the business to pay $4,000 in back rent in February. The court cited an expired lease provided by the LLC which detailed a monthly rate of $1,000.

Whether or not that lease was valid was at the crux of the dispute between the Learys and the LLC.

“They want to use anything they can to kick us out,” Deborah Leary said. “They’re acting like we’re criminals. They’re doing underhanded things and it’s just sad.”

A June 26 judgment ruled in favor of 406 Tompkins Equity LLC.

“The tenant did not have a current lease,” the LLC's founder Mordechai Getz told DNAinfo in an email.

But Deborah Leary is looking to file an appeal, she said.  

In the interim, James Leary sits outside Jimmy’s Candy Store each day, greeting passersby and hoping his doors will soon be unlocked.

“I’m upset the way they’re doing me,” the 78-year-old said. “All I know is they want me out.”

Deliveries continue, Deborah Leary said, as all their paperwork is housed inside the business and they can't cancel them. Newspapers are dropped off daily and sold in front of the shuttered gates. The refrigerators inside are still running, stocked with sodas.

Also trapped inside is Sheshe.

"Supposedly some guy has been feeding the cat, maybe three times since June. Some people said they heard it crying from inside the gate," Deborah Leary said.

"But for all we know, it's dead by now."