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.

Dan Kirsh, owner of Kirsh Bakery and Kitchen. Photo by Hannah Reale. 

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.”

FOOD, NEWS | 26 comments | permalink
    1. Catherine Arcure says:

      Congratulations on your heroism. We are all grateful to you.

    2. Wijmlet says:


      Beware of men carrying large purses,

    3. MF says:

      And Kirsh Bakery has the best food too!!! Bravo!

    4. Judy Kass says:

      What kind of nitwit leaves her purse in an unlocked car?

      Glad she got her things back.

      Glad there’s a neighborhood hero. Not many around.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        that’s nothing. I called the cops once when I saw a 2 year old locked in a car on a hot summers day with the windows rolled up. I was about to smash the window when the mother came out “I was only inside to get a refund, didn’t take long!…”

    5. Dave says:

      Seems like the server is the heroine of this story.

    6. Karen Bruno says:

      Wow, what a great story for a change!

    7. LK says:

      Nicely done! Thank you!

    8. StevenCinNYC says:

      Nice story.

      Can anyone explain why the thief would enter a restaurant to dispose of a purse? Isn’t that odd?

    9. Nancy says:

      Bravo! Thank you.

    10. UWSHebrew says:

      Thank you Dan Kirsh for your bravery in subduing this feral animal.

    11. Eric says:

      I understand the instinct Kirsh had to do what he did and am impressed by his bravery but the fact is that he (or others near him) could easily have been stabbed, shot or killed by the man he confronted. NO purse is worth that. This headline could easily have been LOCAL TRAGEDY: KIRSH BAKERY OWNER KILLED AFTER CONFRONTING THIEF.

      The best thing to do in these situations is get all the information you can to the police as rapidly as possible. Things can be replaced, lives cannot.

      • Dan kirsh says:

        Hey Eric
        I don’t recommend to ppl with no experience to act like I did.and since I have a lot of experience i did what I did plus the main target of me was keeping this criminals out of our life and the belongings was not wait I tried to get.if I didn’t hold him he was stil on the street.

    12. Karen says:

      “The police took the gentleman in”. Gentleman?!?!?
      Come on writers, you can do better!

    13. Lisa says:

      Wonderful story, thank you to the heroes of Kirsh! Love their food too!

    14. 92nd Street says:

      Serves her right for going to Dunkin

      Good work Kirsh

    15. John doe says:

      Forget the purse bring back my beloved popovers

    16. Bravo! Courageous! The lesson here is that each of us can and should do our part in our own way to make the UWS better for all. For some, it’s paying attention and speaking up; for others, it’s using professional training, skills, and judgment to de-escalate a situation and help bring a brazen criminal to justice.

      (Also, Kirsch is a really good local restaurant and bakery. Great brunch, quality option for a casual weeknight meal, good delivery, etc. This is the sort of local establishment I’m proud to patronize and will aim to do so more frequently. Kudos!)

    17. Howard Freeman says:


    18. Lynn Shardlow says:

      What a feel good , happy ending , true life story.
      Thank you for printing it and to a prince 👑 of a Man…
      Dan Krishna …Bravo🤗💕😘🌟🌟🌟🌟and of course
      The waitress.
      Let’s make a movie or write a play
      A Hero and Heroine who save the day