NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A man accused of punching and choking a woman inside a Queens laundromat is expected to face a judge Wednesday.
Dontae Bennett, 21, was arrested Tuesday and charged with assault, criminal obstruction of breathing, unlawful imprisonment, robbery and trespassing.
Police said he attacked the 50-year-old employee last week at Family Laundry on Jamaica Avenue, punching her in the face, dragging her to a bathroom and choking her until she lost consciousness.
He also stole her cellphone from the counter before taking office, police said.
“I feel so bad for her, because she’s a very nice, quiet lady. They don’t bother nobody, they come, they’re hardworking people,” said Therese Mendoza who works at Pop’s restaurant next door. “I work in the morning, but this happened in the morning, so now my son is driving me here.”
“There’s a lot going on over here in this community, and we know we have cameras and everything, but it’s still not the same, we still need to see the presence of the police around,” resident William Adjei said.
A week after the incident, the victim was back on the job, and some customers said they aren’t letting the attack stop them.
“It does worry me sometimes, but at the same time I’m so used to it, I’ve been here almost four or five years,” said resident Valsa Berisha.
The laundromat does not have security cameras and, even after this incident, does not plan to install them.