Break-Ins at ‘Ghetto’ Liquor Store Spark Police Criticism

Break-Ins at ‘Ghetto’ Liquor Store Spark Police Criticism Updated March 30, 2012 7:11am

March 30, 2012 7:11am | By Jeff Mays, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

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Freeland Liquor & Wine owner Berihu Mesfin’s store was burglarized twice earlier this month after he removed the riot gates and bulletproof glass (DNAinfo/Jeff Mays)

HARLEM The owner of a Harlem liquor store broken into twice in a week says police took too long to respond, and failed to look at surveillance footage which showed the thieves until after they’d struck a second time.

Berihu Mesfin, owner of Freeland Liquor & Wine at Lenox Avenue and 119th Street, said video footage shows police didn’t arrive at the store until 28 minutes after the second burglary on March 22. In addition, they did not come to pick up surveillance tapes from the first burglary on March 17 until March 24, two days after the second burglary.

“What I see is carelessness from the police,” said Mesfin, who added that cops told him they were going to examine the footage the day before the second burglary.

Burglars broke into Mesfin’s store in the Mount Morris Park Historic District by cutting see-through gates and drilling a hole in the lock at 1 a.m. On March 17. Video footage shows hooded men hopping the counter and stuffing their pockets with $4,000 in cash.

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