Update: Police arrested a Queens man in connection to this incident. Police charged Alan Heskins, 38, with criminal mischief and assault, officials said.
Original story —
MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — A baton-wielding vandal shattered the glass front door of a popular Manhattan pizza shop after attacking one of the owners and a worker on Sunday night, police said.
The suspect threw several glass items at the owner and a 22-year-old employee of Unregular Pizza, located at 135 Fourth Ave. near East 13th and 14th streets in Union Square, around 9:50 p.m., according to the NYPD. The worker was treated at the scene for hand and forearm injuries.
The assailant then grabbed a metal baton and broke the glass front door, police said. A video of the aftermath posted to social media showed broken glass covering the pizza shop’s floor and part of the sidewalk.
The suspect took off in a red Jetta after the incident, and remained at large, as of Monday evening, police said.
“Tonight someone we know – led by envy, jealousy and spite – threatened us on Instagram and then came into our store and attacked us and our staff members by throwing glass shakers and ceramic objects,” the store owners said in the Instagram post.
Unregular Pizza owner Gabriele Lamonaca said the man came into the pizzeria about 20 minutes after insulting them on their Instagram account.
“I got really scared,” Lamonaca said. “I tried to push him away because I didn’t know if he could actually do even more than that.”
Lamonaca’s wife, Paola Sinisgalli, said the attacker is someone they knew years ago in Rome. She believes the man is jealous of their recent success.
“I do not know what goes in the head of this person, but I suspect there is some kind of jealousy issue,” Sinisgalli said, adding that she’s now frightened for her family’s safety. “I honestly don’t feel safe. We have a young son, he’s 7 months old.”
The couple opened Unregular Pizza in early 2021. It was Garbriele’s dream to open a pizzeria.
“He’s always wanted to create a pizzeria that is Roman style,” Sinisgalli said.
Lamonaca was previously featured on the PIX11 Morning News for starting his pizza business in an apartment during the pandemic. The couple recently took part in a nationally televised contest about the best pizza in the United States.
“We cannot live in fright that this person turns up again. He needs to be the one that is scared to go around. This is not how you treat hard-working people when they did nothing to you ever,” Sinisgalli said.
The community is rallying around the pizzeria. More than $3,500 has been raised through GoFundMe to pay for the damage until insurance kicks in.
Anyone with information in regard to the car wash incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips.