EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (PIX11) – The 90-year-old owner of a beloved East Village candy store suffered a broken jaw when he was attacked on Tuesday.
Ray Alvarez, who opened Ray’s Candy Store in 1974, was attacked outside his store on Avenue A. An unidentified man carrying a package walked up to Alvarez and asked if he wanted to buy the package, police said. When Alvarez asked what was inside, the man handed the package to someone else, then told Alvarez he was going to kill him.
The attacker hit Alvarez in the head with an object described as a belt with a heavy rock on the end, police said.
“He whacked me in the head and I couldn’t believe it,” Alvarez said. “I fell down on the floor. I was bleeding. Something happened to my jaw.”
Alvarez wasn’t immediately hospitalized, but ended up going to a hospital two days later. A CT scan revealed he suffered three fractures around his jaw. Alvarez is currently unable to chew and can only consume liquids.
The attack is the latest woe for Alvarez. Rising food costs and bills have put Ray’s Candy Store in danger. Community members have raised more than $50,000 to help Alvarez out.
However, the attack hasn’t shaken Alvarez’s spirit. Customers stopped by on Thursday to check on the store owner.
“People are great,” Alvarez said. “I love the people and America and I love New York.”
Police asked for help identifying the suspect. He fled southbound on Avenue A. Some people in the neighborhood said they recognize the man as someone who occasionally hangs out in the area.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).