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Bodega customer destroys merchandise with knife after owner asks her to wear mask

A bodega customer in the Bronx destroyed merchandise with a butcher knife last month after she was told to wear a mask by the owner.

News 12 Staff

Aug 30, 2020, 9:40 PM

Updated 1,361 days ago

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A bodega customer in the Bronx destroyed merchandise with a butcher knife last month after she was told to wear a mask by the owner.
Wascar Soto, the owner of a Soundview bodega on Watson Avenue, says when some customers don't want to comply with the regulations of wearing a mask, they argue, curse, want to fight or even simply leave and slam the door on the way out.
However, Soto says a woman who came into his store last month took it even further, causing over $7,000 in damages by stabbing everything in sight.
"Started stabbing everything in the store - juices, soda, cereal, throw everything on the floor, frozen food," he says.
Surveillance video from inside the bodega shows 29-year-old Ariel Gager puncturing plastic drink bottles.
Soto says she also went on to stab sacks of rice, flour and anything else she could find.
He claims he called the police, and over a dozen officers showed up 25 minutes later. He says they then took another 25 minutes to arrest her.
Gager was charged with criminal mischief, but some bodega workers say the incident raises an issue with police being afraid to do their jobs in today's environment.
Fernando Mateo, spokesperson of the United Bodegas of America, says the group is scheduled to meet with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
"We want to know from him what options do we have when his cops can't come in and arrest someone, can't come in and do their jobs?" Mateo says. "Why are the cops being handcuffed by the city? We need our cops. We need for them to do their job."
Mateo says he invites the NYPD commissioner, mayor and governor to work behind the counter of a bodega for one day to see what it's like.


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