TIMES SQUARE — A newsstand operator who was beaten after a group of young men stole candy from his kiosk says thefts and harassment are a daily occurrence in his business — causing him to lose both money and sleep.
Mohd Kursheed, 62, was working in his stand at the northwest corner of 50th Street and Broadway at about 2:45 p.m. on Jan. 22 when five teens approached and started grabbing candy off the racks without paying for it, police said.
When Kursheed got out of the stand to try to stop them, one of the teens hit him with what he described as a wooden cane several times before the boy and his friends ran off toward Eighth Avenue, he told police.
He was taken to Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital, where he was treated for bruises, muscle strain and hypertension before being released, he said.
Kursheed, who moved to Queens from Hyderabad, India, four years ago, said he has been losing sleep and money as he deals with frequent thefts and harassment from youngsters.
Teens from nearby schools pass the newsstand and steal candy on a daily basis, often taking up to $40 worth of goods, he said.
“That candy-snatching business is my loss,” Kursheed said. “I remember sometimes the punching, and I don’t sleep. Every day I’m worried."
Although police visited his kiosk to write up a report after the robbery, he said they are “not doing anything.”
When he calls them after candy is taken, they usually show up about 45 minutes later, he said.
“My body’s shaking, it’s too much” he said. “What is the reason? Why are you troubling me?”
On Thursday, Midtown North Precinct Inspector John Hart said police were aware of the situation.
"We are working directly with the school [the boys] are from and we are increasing the presence all along the 50th Street corridor," he said, without specifying which school the students attend.
A group of students buying candy from Kursheed’s stand at about 5 p.m. on Thursday said they had witnessed other teens lifting candy from the stand after last week's robbery.
“Yesterday I saw somebody steal,” said a 14-year-old student at the Business of Sports School at 439 W. 49th Street, between Ninth and 10th avenues.
“They think he's vulnerable because he’s inside the stand — he can’t come out fast enough,” he added.
Another student from the school said he sees kids stealing from Kursheed’s stand “every few days.”
“Some kids don’t get money, so they gotta do what they gotta do,” the 15-year-old said.
Kursheed, who worked as a bike mechanic in India for 25 years before he and his wife moved to America, said he is struggling to make ends meet because of the thefts, as his newsstand is not yielding a profit.
A video he took and shared with DNAinfo showed three teens he claims stole candy from the stand hurling snowballs at him.
"Why the f--- are you recording?" one of the teens in the video says, before hitting Kursheed's phone with a snowball.
“I like this country, everybody is good people, but they are making too much problem for me. Everybody is very nice except these kids,” he said.
"I am a hard worker. I’m not troubling any person. Why are you giving trouble for me?”