A shocking robbery of a Jewish community member took place last Sunday, May 21, in the middle of the day, in the presence of his wife and four children. The robbery took place in close vicinity of Englewood’s Congregation Ahavath Torah, where the family had been attending an event. Two assailants held the man on the ground, a gun was held to his head, and several items were taken from his person. The assailants’ vehicle was an unmarked black BMW sedan with tinted windows, and the people who emerged were wearing ski masks that obscured their faces. Residents on the street were able to capture photos of the car as it made its getaway, and the family emerged physically unharmed.
“This was a crime of opportunity,” said Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes. “This community is so close to Route 80 and Route 4, that there was an opportunity to grab something and run away. However, I have full confidence that that justice will be served,” he told The Jewish Link. He noted that he is a former federal prosecutor and knows what is required to make sure justice is meted out in cases like this one.
Wildes added that the CCTV cameras placed throughout the city, particularly near entrances and exits to highways, can ensure justice is served for this kind of crime, and that Englewood’s police chief and deputy police chief, as well as others, are combing through both eyewitness accounts, reports, call records and videos. Calls from The Jewish Link to the detective in charge of the investigation were not answered by press time.
“This is a pure function of the economy and bad actors that prey on the residents of Englewood,” Wildes said, adding that a pellet gun shooting of a Jewish family on West Palisade Avenue outside Zula Restaurant the previous Sunday was also of grave concern to the police department, though a bias crime was ruled out in that case.
“The truth is there are some things that residents can do to be more vigilant to protect themselves. Information will be disseminated through CSS [Community Security Service] in the coming days and we will work together with the community to make everyone safer.”
At press time, the CSS had not yet released guidance for the community, but Wildes said it would be expected shortly, and that communal CSS organizations from synagogues based in Englewood had met on Zoom on Tuesday evening.