NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are investigating if a robbery at a wine store in NoLIta is connected to a series of robberies in Downtown Manhattan.
Investigators said a man robbed Wine Therapy on Elizabeth Street at knife-point around 9:30 p.m. Friday, CBS2 reported.
Store owner Jean-Baptiste Humbert told CBS2’s Steve Langford the thieves took a thousand dollars.
“They went behind the register and looked everywhere and tried to find cash in many different places,” Humbert said.
The wine sellers said the knife-wielding thieves who robbed his shop even went after his clerk’s wallet.
“He actually also had to give them cash from his own pocket too, they took his cash,” Humbert said.
They said there have been five other robberies at high-end stores, also by knife-point, in Soho and the East Village since January 21.
Police investigating the possible connection said they all have the same M.O.: one suspect waits by the door, while the other, armed with a knife, demands money.
One merchant who was robbed recently did not want to go on-camera, but said they have cut back their evening hours because of fears of the growing crime spree.
“It’s scary. I mean little, local merchants, they’re not going to have a security guard standing there waiting,” shop owner Marc Engelson said.
Those in the fashionable area were disturbed to learn about the crime.
“It’s shocking to me, I live in this neighborhood and I haven’t heard anything about it,” SoHo resident Greg Dean said.
“I feel like because it’s such a safe area maybe the police presence isn’t as much,” Juliette Daley, of the West Village, said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. You can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.