BRONX, N.Y. - Shocking video shows the moment a woman took a knife to everything she saw on a store shelf in the Bronx. The owner of Lizbeth Supermarket in the Soundview neighborhood said the woman caused $7,000 in damages.
He claims she became enraged after a store employee asked her to wear a face mask.
“I ask everyone coming in to my bodega to wear a mask. Some argue, some curse, some want to fight, some simply slam the door and leave, but this person was different,” said store owner Wascar Soto. “She pulled out a butcher knife and stabbed soda cans, plastic soft drinks, sacks of rice; you name it, she stabbed it. It went on for some time before a dozen cops arrived.”
Police say it happened the morning of July 31.
They say a 46-year old man, and a 29-year-old woman were asked to put on a mask in the store.
She became irate and damaged property and merchandise, police say, and was later arrested and charged with criminal mischief.
But the store owner says officers who responded to the scene just stood by, and did not do enough to protect the store. Police did not comment on these claims.
On Sunday, the United Bodegas of America (UBA), a group that represents grocery stores in the city, held a press conference to sound the alarm about incidents like this, which they say put them in danger and are on the rise.
“Everyday we are confronted with people that are out to kill,” said Fernando Mateo, a spokesman for UBA. “More than a dozen cops responded, but they fear using force, they fear any kind of confrontation. In this case, they stood by watching this person destroying the bodega. It is sad to see cops afraid of doing their job.”
The bodega owners are demanding that police do more to protect them, their businesses and workers tasked with enforcing state and city guidelines during the pandemic.
“This was terrifying because she could have turned the knife on a worker or a customer,” said Radames Rodriguez, the president of UBA. “All this because of a mask. We cannot enforce this rule/law without putting our own lives in danger. I invite the mayor and the governor to work one day in a bodega. We cannot control the anger people are feeling. We are afraid to lose our life over this mask enforcement thing.”
The UBA wants to meet with Commissioner Dermott Shea to find solutions to a problem they fear will grow worse as people grow tired of following the health guidelines.