Orchard St. Business Calls for Stepped Up Police Patrols

Merchants and business owners up and down Orchard are calling for more police protection in the wake of Tuesday's violent robbery.

As we reported yesterday, this week’s violent attempted robbery at the Pilgrim vintage clothing boutique has focused new attention on shoplifting and other incidents that have plagued Orchard Street for the past several months. Still recovering from injuries suffered in Tuesday’s bloody altercation, the shop’s co-owner, Brian Bennett said, the situation has “gotten totally out of hand and we can’t defend ourselves.”

Bennett is certainly not alone among Orchard Street business owners, in his belief that more needs to be done to curtail crime on the neighborhood’s main commercial strip. Yesterday afternoon, the management at M & M Environmental, the pest control company at 32 Orchard, reached out to us.  Timothy Wong, M & M’s director, said he’s been trying to get the police to pay more attention to incidents happening on lower Orchard (M & M is located between Canal and Hester streets) for several years.

Orchard Street Retailers Face ‘Rampant’ Robberies

An NYPD cruiser was parked along Orchard Street Thursday, a few doors north of Tuesday's robbery.

Thursday afternoon, as Pilgrim boutique co-owner Brian Bennett described his violent encounter with shoplifters 48 hours earlier, two police officers on foot patrol walked slowly up and down his block of Orchard Street. A few doors north, a cruiser was parked in front of An Choi restaurant, with an officer at the wheel.

“This has gotten totally out of hand and we can’t defend ourselves,” said Bennett, who wound up in the hospital Tuesday night after confronting four suspects who were attempting to steal from his store. Bennett suffered a severely bruised back and head from being stomped on. His partner, designer Richard Ives, is still at home recovering from a trip through Pilgrim’s plate glass window, with injuries to his head, neck, shoulders and arms that needed 100 stitches.

Community Meeting on Orchard St. Safety Planned

Tuesday

In the wake of Tuesday’s broad-daylight assault and robbery at Pilgrim vintage clothing store on Orchard Street, community leaders plan to gather next Tuesday afternoon, June 21, to discuss how to improve safety there.

The meeting, which is open to merchants of Orchard Street and the surrounding neighborhood, will take place at Clemente Soto Velez, 107 Suffolk St. at 3 p.m.

The LES Business Improvement District is spearheading the event, with participation from the 7th Precinct Community Council, Community Board 3 and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Suspects Charged in Orchard Street Robbery, Assault

The NYPD was out in full force after a robbery at Pilgrim boutique on Orchard Street last night, but officers also had plenty of help from civilians, who helped capture three suspects.

The NYPD has charged two men and one woman in yesterday’s high drama robbery, assault and foot chase on Orchard Street yesterday evening in which the shopkeepers of Pilgrim boutique were injured.

A fourth suspect, who is believed to have been injured as well, is apparently still at large after eluding Cafe Katja chef James Fry, The Cast store owner Chuck Guarino and clothing designer Robert James, who led police to the other three. Pilgrim’s neighbors jumped in to help run down the suspects after the 6 p.m. robbery. A tussle in the boutique’s vestibule sent one owner and one suspect through a shattered plate glass window and left a blood trail around the block on Grand Street.

Cafe Katja Employee Describes Orchard St. Drama

Pilgrim store front after robbery on June 14, 2011 - photo by thelodownny.com

More on the dramatic scene that unfolded on Orchard Street earlier this evening.  A few minutes ago, The Lo-Down’s Jennifer Strom spoke with James Fry, who works at Cafe Katja across the street from Pilgrim, the clothing store that was robbed.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Fry said he heard the sound of shattering glass. He walked outside to investigate and saw Pilgrim co-owner Brian Bennett on the ground, tussling with one of the suspects. They were both covered in blood and glass fragments.

The Scene After Orchard Street Robbery

A look at the aftermath on Orchard Street following tonight’s robbery and foot-chase. (Click through for more photos.)

Breaking: Orchard Street Boutique, Pilgrim, Robbed (Updated)

The scene outside pilgrim on Tuesday evening after a robbery occured - photo by thelodownny.com

A short time ago, Pilgrim, the boutique at 70 Orchard Street was robbed and an employee inside assaulted.  We’re on the scene and will have more details this evening.

UPDATE 7:08: P.M. – from The Lo-Down’s Jennifer Strom on the scene: A little over an hour ago, four suspects (three men and a woman) caused quite a scene on Orchard Street, between Broome and Grand.

According to witnesses at least some of the suspects went inside Pilgrim, a boutique at 70 Orchard, and allegedly stole a piece of jewelry. A scuffle followed between the suspects and the owners, Richard Ives and Brian Bennett. During the scuffle, a plate glass window was shattered and one of the suspects was pretty severely cut.

A chase ensued, with several people, including the chef at Cafe Katja running after the suspects. They tackled some of them in front of Congee Village on Allen Street. Also involved in the chase, the owner of another Orchard Street clothing store, The Cast. He had apparently kicked one or more of the suspects out of his store a short time earlier.

Three suspects are in custody; police are searching for a fourth. Ives and Bennett are hospitalized tonight. A canine unit was brought in to follow a trail of  blood in front on Zarin’s Fabric on Grand Street.

More to come…