The last time we checked in with the newish East Harlem liquor store Freeland Liquor & Wine, the very vocal members of the Mount Morris Park Historic District had pressured the owners into getting rid of their bulletproof glass, and metal "riot gates," which some neighbors deemed "ghetto" and bringing "down everything we are trying to build up." So the owners of the store—who were also in trouble with the Buildings Department and Landmarks Commission—cooperated and got rid of the plexiglass. Then they got robbed. Twice.
The NYPD is trying to track down the perpetrators, who were not dissuaded by the in-store surveillance camera that documented their crimes. On March 17th, around 1 a.m., two male suspects broke through the security gate and stole an undisclosed amount of cash and booze. One wore a black ski mask and hooded sweatshirt (the NYPD describes him as 5'7" with light complexion) and the other perp is described as 5'9" with "a dark skin complexion and a mustache."
Then, last Thursday, three burglars did it again, cutting the security gate at 4:48 a.m. and stealing booze and money. They were also caught on surveillance camera, and two of the men appear to be the same as the ones who perpetrated the first burglary. "If I had the other gate [in], this wouldn't have happened," owner Berihu Mesfin tells DNAinfo, referring to the riot gates that outraged some locals. "I put [in] the chain gates and they cut it. I put the chain gate again and they cut it," he explained. "Now I'll put [in] the metal gates." Great, now everyone's going get the impression that there's crime in the neighborhood!