The Patient Pretty Thief Holds Out For Metrocards

Perhaps the staff of the Food Emporium at 1066 Third Avenue should have known something was up on June 3, when a customer arrived and waited patiently for the manager a full 10 minutes at the customer-service desk.

Nobody in Manhattan waits 10 minutes before getting ugly.

However, as soon as the manager made himself available, it became clear why the customer had exhibited such stellar self-control: The manager was the only one in a position to give him what he wanted. Displaying a firearm-to be precise, a black handgun that he yanked from his pocket-the suspect stated, “Open the door to the office.”

Then he ordered the manager both to open the safe and to summon a store clerk. When she arrived, the robber told her to take the money out of the safe-$6,516 in cash and $640 in MetroCards-and place it in a black North Face bag that he’d brought along for the occasion. He also removed money from a table in the office. Before he left, he instructed the manager, “Get on your knees” (apparently to impede any pursuit), and then fled in an unknown direction.

About 20 minutes later, at 10:50 p.m., a police officer assigned to Spike Post No. 5 at 63rd Street and Madison Avenue (it’s called a “spike post” because it’s established to respond to a spike in a particular type of crime, in this case commercial burglaries on Madison) heard the report of the supermarket robbery come over his police radio and responded to the 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue subway station. There he spotted a man matching the description of the perp who’d just fled the Food Emporium.

Stopping the suspect and searching him, the police found a fully loaded 9-millimeter handgun tucked into his waistband, as well as seven additional loose rounds residing in his pants pocket. Oh, and he was carrying a mask, too.

While one enjoys the presumption of innocence in our criminal-justice system (unless you’re spending the summer at Gitmo), the guy appeared, for all intents and purposes, to be the supermarket bandit. However, when the manager of the Food Emporium was brought to the scene, he failed to positively identify him.

Nonetheless, the perp was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon and carted off to the 19th Precinct stationhouse. A police source said he believes strongly that their prisoner will ultimately be linked to the robbery, which remains under investigation.

Split Ends

If there’s one business more competitive than consumer electronics, it’s got to be hair and nails, at least judging by the number of such salons that keep popping up long after you’d assume the city would’ve been saturated by them.

For that reason, owners of these businesses-in this case, one unlucky hair salon on East 86th Street-need to be extra careful, not of bandits but of employees, such as the one who worked there, then quit and made off with enough product to set up a competing hair salon down the street.

The suspect, described as a 31-year-old, 5-foot-1, 135-pound female, absconded with an $800 Professional Ceramic straightening iron, $150 worth of Simbi hair products, 12 boxes of a Japanese hair-straightening gel valued at $360 and $370 worth of hair color. The salon owner, a 42-year-old Port Washington resident, told the police that the ex-employee also had straight black hair-whether or not the result of a Professional Ceramic straightening iron, he didn’t say.

The Patient Pretty Thief Holds Out For Metrocards