Josh is still scared to come to work each night after being robbed of $200 in tips at gunpoint behind Bern’s Steak house a few weeks ago.
“He took something away from me, a peace of mind,” Josh said. “I look at people and situations differently now.”
That feeling is now stronger than ever after one of Josh’s fellow valets was shoved to the ground, held at gunpoint and robbed in the very same alley early Sunday morning.
“So little has been done to improve the conditions here safety-wise that I feel the guy will probably be back to do the same thing again,” Josh said. “He makes a whole night’s worth of pay in less than a minute.”
Josh says in both cases, they couldn't quite make out the robber's face. He looked like a white male in his mid-30s with a thin build.
“Employees are scared,” Josh said.
Those fears extend to the surrounding community.
“For an incident like that to occur the way it did is quite shocking,” neighbor Mei Crane said.
Crane lives next to Bern’s and said officers spend a lot of time in the bar district of SoHo but not as much in nearby areas.
“I often have problems with people parking in from of my house and it's almost impossible to get anyone here to respond in a timely manner,” Crane said.
Investigators say that will change with stepped up patrols starting this week. Josh hopes no one else has to go through what he and his coworkers are dealing with.
Brooke Palmer Kuhl, Bern’s spokesperson, gave the following statement to ABC Action News:
Bern's Steak House and it's related entities takes the safety of our guests and employees very seriously. After the last incident, additional lighting was installed in the area, as well as modifying the fence along our property line to secure access. We are installing additional cameras and signage as well.Last night's incident, and previous crimes in the area, is an indication that there must be increased vigilance by all guests and residents of SOHO, and that we as businesses must increase security presence to prevent these criminals from invading a beautiful and safe neighborhood. Bern's has been the foundation of Howard Avenue for 60 years, and in that time, the block has changed significantly. We will be working with the local authorities and the SOHO business watch to prevent future incidents from happening. We want our guests, employees, and friends to know that SOHO is a safe place to live, work and eat. We will not tolerate anything less.