Last month, three males burglarized Hae Goong (means “Water Paradise” in Korean), a basement bar in Flushing, Queens, locking the employees and customers inside and demanding their cell phones, jewelry and money.
Today, while one is locked up behind bars (because he couldn’t make bail), two were released on bail and are out on the streets.
This was not the first time this threesome took advantage of the building located at 164-10 Northern Boulevard. The building has eight storefonts that consist of upscale clothes stores and 14 inside offices that are medical and law offices. On the lower level there is a parking garage and a bar. The building primarily caters to the Asian population.
Thanks to the $30,000 security system that the Randazzo’s (owners of the building) have installed, many crimes have been videotaped. They have 13 different cameras on at all times and a parking attendant who monitors the garage and cameras during the day. Most of these incidents, however, occur at night.
The first incident occured one year ago. The three males walked through the basement entrance and broke into a medical office on the second floor and took a flat-screen television. The surveillance video was given to detective McGuire at the 109th precinct, but nothing came of it, and he had since retired.
“I felt violated because we kept the garage open,” said parking attendant Mr. Lim, who is also good friends with Mr. Randazzo. Apparently, the interior offices were locked, but were still reachable by outsiders. They immediately put up a gate to keep intruders out.
Two months later, the same perpetrators returned, this time with a crobar, and targeted KOAM, a Korean medical clinic, and came out with $3,000. At that time, there was another investigation, and the fingerprints matched the first crime, but there was still no capture.
“They looked like eleven year old Hispanic kids,” said the building’s owner. “One was very chubby, and the other two were thin as rails–you wouldn’t think they could pull off something like this,” he says of what the surveillance shows.
This final incident, that occured last month, was what captured them. They entered Hae Goong bar, which is not noticable at street level, with bandannas on their faces, a little past midnight. According to the videotape, as soon as they went in, one Korean woman ran out screaming and one of the robbers threw her on the floor and dragged her back in and locked the doors. That is all the surveillance got because all of the action was going on inside, where there weren’t any cameras.
According to the bar owner, an older Korean woman, the three males ordered everyone on the floor and on their stomachs and demanded their valuables (including money and jewelry) and cell phones, so they couldn’t communicate with outsiders or take photos or video. There were seven employees and six customers at the bar that night. Luckily, there were no injuries.
From the footage, detectives were able to identify and capture the men, who were actually 27, 18 and 19 years old and of Indian descent.
Two of the men were posted bail because there was not enough evidence of the crime inside the bar. The employees, all undocumented workers, did not want to say anything, afraid it would jeopardize their livelihood. The owner did not want to say anything because she wanted to protect her employees and she wanted to keep the whole thing low key; she didn’t want bad publicity. The owner originally opened the bar because it is centrally located in Flushing and because it has its own parking garage.
“I think it’s wrong that these illegal aliens fear being deported because of the President’s Immigration Act–that they won’t testify for this,” says parking attendant Lim. “If I was here, none of this would have happened,” he also said. His office sits directly across from the bar that now has its own interior surveillance camera and a door bell to enter.
The detectives at the 109th precinct know Mr. Lim and Mr. Randazzo by first name and are popular because of the footage that they catch at the popular Northern Boulevard and Sanford Avenue intersection. In the past, the system has helped catch a popular thief in the MS13 gang who was known for slashing tires of wealthy business owners depositing cash into the nearby Chase bank. They also aided in helping catch the “Mad Hatter” thief who was known for numerous bank heists while wearing an array of hats.