NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Restaurant workers chased off a knife-wielding man who police said is wanted in connection with a robbery spree in Brooklyn.
The entire incident was caught on surveillance video. Hooded and his face covered by a black mask, police said the man walked into Chen’s Garden on Flatlands Avenue in East New York around 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 4.
Police said he pulls a large knife from his waistband, demands money and hops onto the counter, but that’s as far as he gets. Fighting back, the employees pick up anything they can find, with one swinging a ladle and a stool.
It was enough to send the suspect fleeing empty-handed, the failed attempt lasting all of 15 seconds, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.
“You have to fight back,” one employee said.
It was the most recent of four robberies along Flatlands Avenue that investigators say are all tied to the same man. Initially, the suspect targeted chain restaurants and was successful, according to investigators.
Three of the four incidents happened in the same shopping center.
On Dec. 19, police said he hit a Dunkin Donuts, slipping a note demanding money to the cashier. Police said he made off with $320.
Ten days later on Dec. 29, police said he used a knife to threaten an employee at a KFC/Taco Bell and got away with $876.
Then on Jan. 4, police said the armed suspect was back on the same block forcing the cashier of a Baskin Robbins to hand over $533 from the cash register.
Later that same night, investigators say he went to Chen’s Garden where he was stopped in his tracks. The incident may have scared him off, but police want to catch him before he tries to rob another store.
Private security guards were hired to protect the area 24/7, but they said it’s a common target and would-be criminals aren’t scared away by extra patrols.
“Even the private security, one guy, what can he do?” Peter Patel said, “I’d like to see the NYPD come here.”
As the search continues, police said they haven’t been able to get a good look at the suspect, but they do have surveillance video and a note passed to one of the cashiers.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.