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Suspect Arrested in Robbery, Attack at Seward Park Liquors

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Police made a quick arrest in a violent robbery and assault that happened at Seward Park Liquors on Sunday afternoon.

61-year-old Rickey Hayes of Newark, New Jersey was taken into custody and transferred to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. At around 12:45 p.m. Sunday, a suspect walked into the liquor store, now located at 53 Ludlow St., and threatened an employee. He began hurling bottles at the worker, hitting him in the head. The man then took $200 from the cash register. A similar incident occurred at a store on LaGuardia Place a short time later.

The owner of Seward Park Liquors, John DeBlasio, told Channel 2, “At least 10 bottles, he was throwing bottles like crazy… He was out of his mind, evidently he was a loose cannon.” DeBlasio said he couldn’t bring himself to watch security camera video because the victim of the attack was his son, who has worked in the store for years.

Channel 7 spoke with the victim:

“He says give me the money from the register or I’ll kill you,” said the man who was behind the counter, talking exclusively with Eyewitness News. Police say Rickey Hayes told the victim to hand over cash from the register. He refused, and that’s when the suspect lashed out, using a glass wine bottle as a weapon… “I ducked away from his swing, and by then, it was get going,” he said. He ran from his attacker, who then pummeled him with more glass bottles. “I didn’t have anything to fend him off with or protect myself except bare hands at the time,” the victim said.

Then there was this from Channel 4: “Asked if he had comment as he was led from the police station after his arrest Monday, Hayes only said ,’I didn’t take my medication’ and mumbled what sounded like ‘sorry’ when asked if he wanted to say anything to the victims.”

Hayes faces multiple counts of robbery, attempted robbery, assault and other charges.

Seward Park Liquors has been in business on the Lower East Side for more than 40 years. DeBlasio recently relocated to Ludlow Street from Grand Street after losing his lease.


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