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Restaurant Patrons Posing as Police Attack Worker and Break ATM, NYPD Says

By Maya Rajamani | March 9, 2017 10:35am
 HK, at the corner of West 39th Street and Ninth Avenue.
HK, at the corner of West 39th Street and Ninth Avenue.
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DNAinfo/Maya Rajamani

HELL'S KITCHEN — A pair of restaurant patrons who said they were police officers threw an ATM machine on the ground, lunged at a worker and caused $1,500 worth of damage after starting a fight inside the venue, police and a manager said.

The 25- and 26-year-old men were inside HK, at 523 Ninth Ave., at the corner of West 39th Street, around 5:23 p.m. on March 5 when they started a fight, though it wasn’t clear with whom, according to the NYPD and a restaurant manager who declined to give his name.

"They threw the ATM on the floor," said the manager, who heard about the incident but wasn't working at the time. “That’s not even our property.”

The men may have been trying to take money out of the machine or steal it, he speculated.

After breaking the ATM, the pair damaged a wall, a glass staircase and eight chairs — all of which will cost the restaurant more than $1,500 to repair, police said.

When an employee tried to stop them from wreaking further havoc, they lunged at him and caused lacerations to his neck, the NYPD said.

“Mind your business, we're cops,” one of the men told the employee, according to police.

A group of workers eventually pushed the men out of the restaurant, and they were arrested soon after, police and the manager said.

The men also failed to pay their $81.54 bill, according to the NYPD.

Other recent crimes in the 10th Precinct include:

► A 26-year-old man led police on a chase through the Lincoln Tunnel around 7:35 p.m. on March 3 after stealing a gold van, the NYPD said. As officers pursued the man, he rammed into other vehicles in an attempt to evade them. At some point during the chase, the man got out of his vehicle and started running on the active roadway inside the south tube of the tunnel, endangering other motorists and impeding traffic. The man ignored officers who told him to stop, but was eventually arrested. Police officers found a pipe with white powder that appeared to be crack cocaine on the floor of the stolen vehicle.

► A 27-year-old man was traveling westbound on West 25th Street in a black Dodge Sedan around 3:45 a.m. on March 4 when police officers saw him make an abrupt turn onto 11th Avenue without signaling and with his headlights off, the NYPD said. When officers stopped the man’s vehicle, they discovered he smelled like alcohol, had watery eyes and dilated pupils, and had an open container of Ciroc vodka inside the vehicle. “I had four vodka-cranberries,” the man said, according to police. Police also found a controlled substance on the man’s person and drug paraphernalia and a gravity knife elsewhere in the vehicle. “I think it’s Molly,” the man said of the substance, according to police.

► An R/GA employee was inside a computer room in the advertising agency's building at 450 W. 33rd St., near 10th Avenue, around 4:35 p.m. on March 5 when a 28-year-old contractor came into the room with a pair of scissors and threw a computer on the ground, the NYPD said. The employee left the room and called police, who responded to the scene and discovered the man had caused more than $25,000 worth of damage. The contractor was arrested at the scene. A spokeswoman for R/GA declined to comment on the incident.

► A 41-year-old man was arrested inside PH-D Lounge, at 355 W. 16th St., near Ninth Avenue, around 1 a.m. on March 4 after he wasn’t able to pay the $99.08 tab he’d run up, the NYPD said. A spokesman for the venue claimed that no incident of the sort took place that evening.

► A 34-year-old man was inside the Apple Store at 401 W. 14th St., near Ninth Avenue, around 11:20 a.m. on March 2 when he approached the store’s gift wrap desk, reached over and removed a $769 iPhone 7, the NYPD said. The man placed it in his coat pocket and said, “Let me leave now,” to security personnel before exiting the store. A store manager couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.