UWS Crime: Lansky’s Deli Robbed & COMPLETELY Trashed; Anti-Semitic Slurs Written On Walls & $100K+ In Damages

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Several readers wrote in over the past two days to report they had noticed police activity at Lansky’s Deli (235 Columbus, btw. 70/71) and that a sign on the restaurant noted it was closed due to “acts of vandalism.”

I’ve been slammed with non-MyUpperWest stuff this week and hadn’t had a chance to investigate, but thankfully Eyewitness News sent over a crew yesterday evening.

The details are disturbing and damages are estimated at more than $100,000.

In addition to Eyewitness News, CBS-NY and The Post also have reports.

Not only was the restaurant robbed and completely trashed, but apparently the walls were also covered with anti-Semitic slurs.

Lanksy’s is a Jewish deli and the incident occurred on Tuesday night, after the second day of Rosh Hashanah.

Per CBS:

“It was devastating. We put our heart into this restaurant,” owner David Ruggerio told CBS 2′s Tony Aiello.

Ruggerio found the mess Wednesday morning. Computers, televisions and light fixtures were all smashed, and leather seats were slashed and a trophy case was trashed.

Cell phone video shows broken dishes and the espresso machine thrown to the ground. Chunks of the ceiling were torn down and littered the floor.

Most upsetting were messages sprayed on the walls, including anti-Jewish slurs that Ruggerio quickly ordered painted over.

“The vandalism was one thing, defamation was different.  It was very, very hideous things written on the wall. There was urination all over the restaurant,” Ruggerio said.

Ruggerio is not Jewish but his 94-year-old partner is.

Police are treating the incident as a burglary and do not think the anti-Semitic aspect was the primary motivation.

The Post has word that both police and Ruggerio suspect it may be “an inside job.:”

“I’m an Italian-American from Brooklyn, but if I was Jewish, I’d be deeply offended,” he fumed.

There were “some words, some symbols — I can’t tell you what they were. I don’t want this to become inflamed. I immediately covered them up.”

There was also a message that read “NOPOLR,” with capital A’s in the two O’s and the word “California” beneath it. Ruggerio had it seen before.

About two weeks ago, he let a dishwasher go after two days and the ex-worker and a female pal later broke into the deli, slept there overnight and cooked themselves breakfast in the morning.

Ruggerio found the same message, which police sources said didn’t appear to be gang-related, scrawled in the deli afterward.

“I knew something was wrong with him. Something was visibly wrong with him,” he said of the unidentified dishwasher.

UPDATE: A reader took issue with the Ruggerio quote above: “if I was Jewish, I’d be deeply offended.”

To clarify, this is either a misquote by The Post or poor paraphrasing. In the Eyewitness News video at the top of the post, Mr. Ruggerio makes the following two statements:

“I’m not Jewish but I was quite disturbed by it.”

“I’m Italian-American from Brooklyn and I was greatly offended by it.”

Accounts differ as to the financial extent of the damage — CBS reports “$100,000″ while The Post says “$200,000.” Either way, the cost and clean up are massive, to say nothing of lost revenue.

Lanksy’s has been closed since Wednesday morning and his hoping to reopen in time for dinner tonight (Friday), although they may have to wait until the weekend.

H/t to MUW readers Kealan, NYLadyEsq, and Jennifer.

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