A Morris Park appliance storeowner is lucky to be alive after being victimized during an armed robbery on Monday, October 1.
Police say that three unknown suspects, one armed with a silver firearm entered Coqui Appliances of 933 Morris Park Avenue, near Fowler Avenue, at 10:20 a.m. pretending to buy a refrigerator before tying up and robbing the 40-year-old storeowner.
The assailants took off with an undetermined amount of cash, a radio, the owner’s passport, gold chain, credit cards, various paperwork, and a safe in the store’s downstairs office.
While police didn’t confirm the safe’s contents, reports indicate that the safe contained approximately $90,000.
Currently, the 49th Precinct is investigating the possibility that the robbery was an inside job, saying the store had likely been targeted and was possibly under criminal surveillance for some time.
Police are also looking into the possibility of a former employee orchestrating the robbery.
President of the 49th Precinct Community Council said that it was awfully suspicious that the storeowner kept such a large sum of cash in his safe.
“No business needs to have $90,000 in cash handy,” Thompson said. “Why a storeowner would have that much cash sitting in a safe is definitely questionable. It hints that this was a targeted robbery,” he added.
Thompson, a former member of the NYPD, went on to explain that in armed robbery cases it is very common to catch the perp promptly, based on how good a description is given. However, it isn’t as common to get the money back.
“In most cases, when someone is caught after a robbery they never have the score on them, so it’s much more of a process to recover the money,” Thompson said.
Armed robberies are rare in Morris Park according to Community Board 11 chairman Al D’Angelo.
“We get some gang-related shootings in this area but never armed robberies,” D’Angelo said.
He went on to note that Coqui’s owner is not heavily involved in the community and little is known about his business operation.