By Carol Tannenhauser
The police called it “grand larceny auto,” but neighborhood chatter said a newspaper deliverywoman had been “carjacked and mugged” this morning “on Riverside Drive.” Police put the time at around 4:02 a.m. and the address at “West End Avenue in the vicinity of West 86th Street.”
The NYPD report proved incomplete. According to a police spokesperson, a woman had gotten out of her car, leaving it “open with the ignition on,” when an unknown person got into the car and “drove away.” The police spokesperson also said the owner of the car had “tried to get back into the passenger seat to stop it, but was unsuccessful.”
This all makes more sense in light of a post on Next Door by Susan Gold this morning around 10 a.m., announcing, “Newspaper delivery lady carjacked and mugged! The very reliable lady who delivers my paper every day to my building on the UWS just got mugged and her car stolen on Riverside Drive.”
WSR spoke to Gold who said she had heard the story from her doorman. Her doorman heard it from the substitute newspaper deliveryperson.
WSR confirmed the incident with Jack and Myrna, both managers at Mitchell’s NY, the home and office delivery company where the deliveryperson who was allegedly attacked works. “We have a report that two drivers had problems,” Jack said. “One car was taken, one was not.”
We reached out to Mitchell’s vice president for further details, and are awaiting a return call.
Update, Thursday, August 10, 11:20 a.m.: WSR spoke to Alan Rafal, vice president of Mitchell’s NY, who confirmed and clarified the details of the incident. “Thank God, the deliveryperson is okay,” he said, immediately. “There was no weapon involved…she was shaken up.”
Rafal said it is not unusual for newspaper carriers to leave their cars running and unlocked as they dash out to deliver papers — despite being warned regularly against it. “In this day and age you can’t do it,” Rafal said. “The criminal jumped in the passenger side. She tried to get back into the driver’s seat, but he pushed her out and drove away.” He added that “last week the same thing happened to another driver, but he managed to scare him off.”
On the bright side, the deliveryperson’s car was later found — “with some damage,” Rafal said. “No one should get out of their car with it running and unlocked under any circumstances,” he reiterated, “even just to toss a coffee cup in a trash can!”
If you’d like to receive our free email newsletter, click here.