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Livery Driver Quits After Beating, Carjacking In The Bronx; Police Seeking 3 Suspects

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(credit: NYPD)

(credit: NYPD)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City cab drivers are being warned that they could be easy targets over the holidays.

Fernando Mateo, of the Federation of Taxi Drivers, is advising cabbies to take steps to protect themselves.

“There’s a lot of desperate people, and there are people that are going to go out there looking for easy money,” Mateo said. “Cab drivers are easy money. We need for NYPD to be very vigilant during the holidays and make sure that they protect the lives of the drivers.”

The warning comes as  livery cab driver Suzzath Ali, 51, announced he was quitting his job after 12 years saying he fears for his safety.

Ali was beaten and carjacked at gunpoint Saturday morning around 2:30 a.m. outside Whitestone Cinemas in the Bronx after picking up an illegal street hail. He received 50 stitches across his face, skull and hand.

Ali, a father of three, said he would never again risk his life and leave behind his wife and kids.

“I thought it was my last day alive when a gun was placed on my head,” said Ali.

Police are looking for two men and a woman in the attack.The three suspects were seen on surveillance video at Whitestone Cinemas.

Police said the suspects ditched the cab, which was later found on 222nd Street and Wickham Avenue.

Mateo said Ali’s story shows the need for the city to do more to protect cabbies.

“We’re very concerned because the mayor has a plan to legalize street hails in the outer boroughs thinking that it’s basically the same as doing street hails in  Manhattan,” Mateo told 1010 WINS. “It’s not the same; there’s a lot of danger in the outer boroughs.”

Anyone with information should call police or Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

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