John Catsimatidis, owner of the popular grocery chain Gristedes, is offering a $10,000 reward for information about an armed robbery at one of its Upper East Side stores.
The robbery took place on April 16 at the Gristedes on 89th and Lexington Avenue at about 10pm. Two armed thieves entered the store and stole $3,300 in cash. “They … tied up a manager and tied up one of our cashiers with guns to their heads and opened up the safe,” said Catsimatidis. “I guess we’re lucky that harm didn’t come to them.”
This is not the first time his stores have been plagued with robberies, and it’s not only money the thieves after; it’s goods as well. Earlier this year, he hired retired NYPD officers as security guards to protect his stores. “These people come in with the idea of stealing as much as they can to go and sell it to other people. There’s a whole network,” he said in an interview this February on Fox and Friends First.
Catsimatidis blames the lenient bail laws for the recent uptick in robberies, both at his chain of supermarkets and across the city. Repeat offenders are a big factor in the 44% surge in crime across NYC, according to the NYPD. More than 500 suspects have been arrested three times this year for robbery, shoplifting or burglary charges. Catsimatidis is calling on our politicians to address this issue. “We love this city but let’s not make this city a joke,” he said. “We’ve got to straighten out our city. We’re putting our foot down. We’re mad as hell. We’re not going to take it anymore. And I want the message to get out to Albany — keep our city safe or else resign.”
Catsimatidis said he is fed up with crime in the city, and the robbery on April 16 is what put him over the edge. He hopes the $10,000 reward will be a strong incentive to those who have information. “Let one of their friends turn them in,” he said at a news conference outside one of his Manhattan stores. “Let one of their relatives turn them in. We’ve got to get rid of the crime on our streets.”