Owner robbed at New York bodega where Jose Alba killed attackers

The Manhattan bodega where an employee killed an attacker in self-defense was the scene of another attack on a worker – and the suspect was released after his arrest, The Post has learned.

The kid-gloved treatment of accused robber Ariel Hernandez, 19, is a far cry from the way Manhattan criminal prosecutor Alvin Bragg dealt with store clerk Jose Alba after he grabbed a knife to defend himself from an angry man Ex-convict guard earlier this year.

The ‘woke’ chief prosecutor had charged Alba, 61, with murder and forced the traumatized employee to spend almost a week on Rikers Island – although surveillance video showed him being attacked before Austin Simon, 35, was stabbed on July 1 became.

Bragg only relented and dropped the charges against Alba after outraged by a series of front-page reports in the Post that outraged politicians and ordinary New Yorkers.

The latest attack on the Blue Moon supermarket in Hamilton Heights occurred around 6:30 p.m. on August 19 while owner Osamah Aldhabyani, 33, was working a 12-hour shift.

“The guy walked into the store and started scaring the customers,” Aldhabyani said of Hernandez.

“He grabbed two monsters [energy drinks] and left. I thought that was the end but he came back three minutes later.”

Bluemoon convenience store employee Osamah Aldhabyani
Osamah Aldhabyani was attacked during his shift at the Blue Moon supermarket.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

Aldhabyani said the man told me [he] has a real problem with me,” then “came behind the counter asking for money and Black & Milds,” a brand of tipped cigarillos popular with weed smokers for use in making blunts, according to online posts.

“I told him to leave me alone because I didn’t want any problems,” Aldhabyani said.

“He started throwing things behind the counter and … after I pushed him outside, we started fighting. I put him on the ground and held him there until the police came.”

A criminal complaint filed against Hernandez alleges that he “knocked [Aldhabyani] down and wrapped his arm around it [Aldhabyani’s] neck, resulting in significant pain [his] head and back”.

At the suspect’s arraignment the next day, Hernandez pleaded not guilty to second-degree robbery, third-degree burglary and petty theft.

The robbery was eligible for bail under the state’s controversial bail reform laws of 2019, but Bragg’s office never sought it.

Instead, prosecutors called for Hernandez to be released on his own, which Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Melissa Lewis Andre did.

“The facts discovered so far in this ongoing investigation, including the defendant’s lack of a criminal record, do not justify seeking bail and possible detention at Rikers Island as the least restrictive means of ensuring his return in court,” Bragg spokesman Doug Cohen told The Post on Thursday.

This decision was in line with the controversial “Day One” memo that Bragg issued after taking office on Jan. 1.

Among his various soft-on-crime policies, Bragg said prosecutors “must reserve pre-trial detention for very serious cases” and that there is “a presumption of non-pre-trial detention for every case except those charged with manslaughter or murder.” death of a victim.”

Meanwhile, Aldhabyani, a Qatari immigrant who bought the store eight months ago, said he feared becoming the next law-abiding victim targeted by Manhattan’s progressive prosecutors.

Aldhabyani said Bragg’s office unexpectedly sent him a subpoena for surveillance video of the Hernandez incident. In Alba’s case, the morning after Simon’s murder, authorities visited the store to retrieve similar records.

The Aug. 30 subpoena ordered the bodega to release “all surveillance video” from “between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.” on the day Aldhabyani was robbed, warning that failure to “remove the said items.” present,” could result in a felony conviction of contempt, and “a $1,000 fine and one year’s imprisonment.”

But Aldhabyani said he can’t comply because the bodega’s camera system only stores footage for 14 days and he only has the clips he took with his phone, the longest of which lasts three minutes and seven seconds.

“I’m afraid that prosecutors will take revenge on Jose Alba and that what happened to Jose will happen to me – because like Jose, I’ll be arrested,” Aldhabyani said.

“I’m scared of getting arrested because they’re targeting me for telling us not to share Jose Alba’s video with anyone and we shared it.”

Aldhabyani said he showed up at the prosecutor’s office on September 6, as stated in the subpoena, and met with an officer who told him to expect another letter to arrive.

“I’m waiting for that letter and I want to see what’s going on. I’m nervous and scared,” he said.

Aldhabyani
Aldhabyani said he was afraid of being arrested after what happened at the store.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

In a prepared statement, Bragg spokesman Doug Cohen said, “All New Yorkers deserve to feel safe in the workplace.

“Nobody at Blue Moon is investigated — obtaining video evidence through a subpoena is a routine part of investigating a case.

“We take the suspected conduct seriously and are actively investigating,” said Bragg’s spokesman Cohen.

The Legal Aid Society, which represents Hernandez, declined to comment.

Alba, who has kept a low profile since his highly publicized ordeal, told the Post Thursday night that he was sick of the violence in New York City — and at the bodega where he used to work.

“I don’t feel good about these problems. It saddens me that this keeps happening. I’ve lived in New York for a long time and I don’t want any more problems,” he said.

Alba added that he hadn’t been to the bodega since the night of Simon’s attack and wasn’t sure if he would leave the Big Apple for the Dominican Republic, as his friends previously told the Post.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/15/owner-robbed-in-nyc-bodega-where-jose-alba-killed-attacker/ Owner robbed at New York bodega where Jose Alba killed attackers

JACLYN DIAZ

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