crimes

Brooklyn, New York City’s Chitara Plasencia attacks Bel Fries employees, charged with robbery, criminal mischief

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Chitara Plasencia, 25, of Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States went to Bel Fries on Ludlow Street in Lower East Side, Manhattan at around 4:00 a.m. on July 3, 2022. She was with Tatiyanna Johnson, 23, of Brooklyn and Pearl Ozoria, 27, of Manhattan, New York City.

When Plasencia, Ozoria and Johnson were told dipping sauce would cost a roughly additional $1.75, they got angry and trashed the restaurant, which opened in 2020. They attacked Bel Fries employees Rafael Nunez, 38, and Maria Baez, 33, who both suffered from head lacerations. 

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Nunez, a fry cook, used his cellphone to record the attack. More than 20 people were inside the restaurant at the time but no one tried to stop Ozoria, Plasencia and Johnson.

Plasencia, Ozoria and Johnson were caught on camera tearing down Bel Fries’ plexiglass guard along the counter, ripping out the cash register and hurling glass bottles and stools at Nunez and Baez. The damage caused by the attack amounted to $25,000.

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After the attack, Bel Fries co-owner Annalee Schlossberg, 23, hired a security guard to work through the weekend. Her restaurant reopened on July 7, 2022.

“My number one priority is making sure all of my employees are not only physically okay but mentally okay,” Schlossberg told CBS News. “I know they’re suffering from traumatic shock from the event.”

Schlossberg’s Bel Fries co-owner said 20-30 bottles were broken and thrown at their employees. He told NBC New York, “The store was a disaster. Everything was a mess.”

Shortly after the attack ended, police officers arrived and arrested Plasencia, Ozoria and Johnson and on July 8, 2022, only Plasencia and Johnson appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court before Judge Jonathan Svetkey. Charged with robbery, criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon, the two Brooklyn residents are due back in court in August 2022.

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