Armless Wheelchair Robbery Victim Says NYC ‘Not What It Used To Be’

An armless Manhattan beggar who was choked and robbed while sitting in his wheelchair in front of Bergdorf Goodman sadly told The Post on Monday, “The American dream is over.”

Frankie Martinez, 40, said he had been a beggar outside the posh shop for five years and never had a problem until a cowardly crook attacked him and stole his phone on Wednesday.

“This town isn’t what it used to be,” said Martinez, who is armless and most of his legs. “There are not enough police on the streets. There should be more police patrolling the streets so we can feel safe again.

“I don’t see a good future for this country right now,” he said. “The American Dream is over. Everyone in this country is just trying to make money wherever they can. It’s chaos.”

Martinez, who lives in the Bronx but also splits time in his native Dominican Republic, was at his usual begging spot on Fifth Avenue — where he’s a popular fixture — when the thug came up to him and attacked him.

“The man came up to me, pointed his finger down my throat and started choking me,” he said. “He suddenly attacked me. A man buying a hot dog ran over to help. The attacker pulled out a knife. Then he ran away with my phone.

Suspected robbery of wheelchair-bound beggar.
Police said this was the thief who choked and robbed the wheelchair-bound victim.

“I said, ‘Take what you want, I don’t want to fight.’ The man said if I try to do anything he will kill me,” Martinez said.

According to a police source, the cruel suspect threatened Martinez, warning him, “I just got out of jail — I’m going to kill you right now.”

Police have since released surveillance photos of the robber, who remains at large.

“I don’t feel safe,” Martinez said. “I feel so, so bad. I’m afraid. I haven’t been able to sleep since I was attacked.”

Frankie Martinez, 40, robbery.
Frankie Marinez, 40, says he no longer feels safe in New York after being robbed.
J. Messerschmidt/NY Post

He’s a familiar sight outside of the upscale Midtown retailer, and others on the block say Martinez has always been polite and pleasant.

“He’s a very nice guy. He doesn’t bother anyone,” said street fur vendor Yusef Kareem. “He always says ‘Good morning’ and nods at me. I think I’m a very good judge of character and I think he’s a nice guy.

“Sure, he’s always begging,” Kareem said. “But a lot of people come here and beg. He doesn’t seem like the type to instigate anything.” Armless Wheelchair Robbery Victim Says NYC ‘Not What It Used To Be’


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