Lark Cafe at 1007 Church Avenue in Caton Park is the latest to be hit in what appear to be a string of six related armed robberies targeting eateries and their customers south of Prospect Park. Thursday night, a masked gunman stole laptops from a group of writers holding a meeting at the cafe, reported The New York Times. The story said:
And now fear and concern are rippling through the normally quiet neighborhood…because the robbery at Lark was but the latest in an unusual pattern: Armed robbers in hooded sweatshirts and masks are hitting local businesses, not just for the cash in the registers but for patrons’ belongings, too — their wallets, their computers, their jewelry. Despite low robbery numbers citywide, and a drop in robberies in the [70th Precinct], the holdups — as well as a fatal home invasion on Rugby Road last month — have shaken the confidence of this community that is usually safe.
Other businesses to be hit in recent weeks include Ox Cart Tavern, Stratford Deli and Mimi’s Hummus. We’re not sure what the other two businesses are, but locals already held a meeting with local Council Member Mathieu Eugene and police from the 70th precinct even before Lark was hit, as Ditmas Park Corner reported at the time.
Meanwhile, the writers group is asking for donations on GoFundMe to replace their stolen laptops.
Business owners told the Times the robbers might be targeting gentrifiers. “Worst-case scenario,” said one, “the robberies are a pushback against the new people in the neighborhood.”
That might be, but it also could be the case that the robbers feel these sit-down eateries are easy targets. The robberies are certainly brazen. We can’t recall anything quite like this, even in the 1970s. Do you?
In Ditmas Park, Armed Robbers Prey on Businesses and Their Patrons [NY Times]
Photo by Lark Cafe