By Hannah Reale
On Sunday, July 9th, Dan Kirsh of Kirsh Bakery and Kitchen became a neighborhood hero when he took down a purse thief that came into his restaurant.
As he told the West Side Rag, a man entered the premises on Amsterdam between 86th and 87th Streets carrying a large purse. He asked one of the servers where the restroom was. She told him, but she also had a “gut feeling he was a little shady of a character,” according to Todd McMullen, the on-duty manager at the time. When the man emerged from the restroom without the purse, she went to investigate and found the empty purse on the ground of the restroom.
After concluding that he had stolen the purse and taken its contents, she went to her boss, Kirsh, who approached the man on the street outside of the restaurant.
When Kirsh confronted him, the man tried to “hit [him] and escape.” As Kirsh said, “I knew that something was wrong. So I grabbed him, because I have a lot of experience from the army, so I knew how to take him down but not hurt him.”
Kirsh then instructed his employees to call the police. “For seven minutes, he was struggling very hard to escape. He was struggling to hurt me.”
As the police arrived, McMullen wrote to us, a woman came running up to the restaurant. “[She said] it was her purse, which she had left in her car as she ran inside the Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner to buy things for her family. Not only did the lady get all of her belongings back, but the police took the gentleman in and arrested him.”
We reached out to the police and confirmed that the arrest occurred at 10 a.m. In addition to the woman’s belongings—namely her credit cards—police also said he had a hypodermic needle with him.
McMullen first reached out with the story. He summarized the exciting events in an email, noting, “We always hear things like ‘if you see something say something’ and our server did that, but on top of that our owner ‘did something’ when he saw something. They both stepped up and did the right thing without any thought of their own safety. I am so proud to work with people like this and I feel that this kind of behavior should be recognized so that when others are put in this position they too will ‘do something’ when they see something.”