Woman Beaten In Botched Robbery

Peggy Spellman Hoey

A woman working inside a Westhampton Beach phone card and wire transfer business was threatened at knifepoint and beaten by an assailant looking for some easy cash Saturday night.

A man entered Westhampton Multi-service, located at 173 Montauk Highway, just before 7 PM and demanded cash from the woman, who works as a clerk at the store. When he didn’t get any, began calling her stupid and started punching her about the face before throwing her to the ground, Westhampton Beach cops said. During the scuffle, the assailant grabbed a nearby kitchen knife the woman had used to cut salad and lime, and threatened her with it, cops said.

When the woman was pushed to the floor, her cell phone fell out of her pocket and the assailant grabbed it and threw it to the floor, breaking it, cops said.

Police said the woman tried to comply with the would-be robber’s demands, but could not, because there was no money. Empty-handed, the would-be robber fled the business in an unknown direction. He is described as a heavy set white man wearing a black hoodie and dark pants.

After the assailant left, the woman was able to make it across the street to another business where she called the Multi-service owner, Jose Cruz, who then notified police.

No further information about the attempted robbery was available from police as of deadline.

“He didn’t get any money,” said Cruz, a Riverhead resident, in a phone interview Sunday. “He got mad and that is why he beat her up.”

Cruz said the woman fought back by kicking her assailant.

“She was all crying and everything; she is a young lady, like 20 years old,” he said.

Cruz said he believes the man had been casing his business and thought that there would be cash on the premises. His brother had just picked up the proceeds for the day minutes before, but Cruz believes that the assailant must have thought he was bringing money, not picking it up.

The woman was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead and was released overnight, then driven home by Cruz’s wife, he said.

The woman’s eye and face were injured in the attack, but she is recovering, the store owner said.

“She is resting at home,” he said.

Cruz said most of his customers are from Guatemala and Colombia, so it would be odd to see non-Hispanic people in the business because it’s not common for them to use the business’s services such as sending wire transfers. “You guys don’t send money,” he said.

Cruz said he is always telling his female employees to be mindful of who is around and who comes into the business, and to take note if someone looks like they do not belong. “I say to them, ‘You got to be careful,’” he said.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the Westhampton Beach Police at 631-702-1519.

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