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Stuy Town mayhem trifecta: Armed robbery, man carted off after domestic incident, hard-luck shoplifter

BY KEITH J. KELLY | There was a mini crime wave in the Stuyvestant Town area on Thursday. A shoplifter was detained at a hardware store and released. Another thief fled down First Avenue after holding up a 99-cent store at knifepoint across the street from the complex. And a domestic disturbance inside an apartment ended with a man being rolled away on an E.M.S. stretcher and charged with assault.

The man on the stretcher, who bystanders said was a resident of the sixth floor of 400 E. 20th St., reportedly had barricaded himself into an apartment where neighbors said he lived with his wife and a young child.

A report of a domestic disturbance at Stuy Town ended in a man being wheeled out of the complex and into an ambulance and charged with assault. (Photo by Keith J. Kelly)

He appeared to be intoxicated. As he was being wheeled away, he said to The Village Sun photographer, “Who the f— is that taking my picture?”

There were ambulances and a heavy police presence, but officers did not deem it a dangerous situation to other residents as people were seen coming and going and deliverymen were still making deliveries.

Neighbors said they knew the man as “Richie.” The apartment was on the corner of First Avenue and E. 20th Street above the Hane sushi restaurant, whose main and outdoor shed portion were closed for renovation, so only a small takeout door was operating.

A police spokesperson said a report was filed for an assault at 6:45 p.m. inside 400 E. 20th St. A 54-year-old woman told police she was kicked in the left arm, causing redness and pain. Richard Debonis, 57, was removed to Bellevue Hospital and charged with assault.

Police caught a man who allegedly tried to steal goods from Ace Hardware, but he was released after the store declined to press charges. (Photo by Luke Kelly)

Earlier that afternoon, employees at the Ace Hardware store, in a ground-floor storefront in Stuy Town near 18th Street and First Avenue, apprehended a would-be thief.

A passerby said the man in custody, with a variety of almost-stolen items on the ground at this feet was lamenting, “I’m sorry… . I don’t have a home or family. I just wanted to sell stuff.”

He was unarmed and was said to be trying to get away with items including kitchenware.

“They were probably worth less than $100,” said one Ace employee. Police on the scene said they released the foiled shoplifter because the store did not want to press charges.

Police responded to the scene of a knifepoint robbery at a 99-cent store. (Photo by Keith J. Kelly)

Several hours later, a second thief struck across the street from Stuy Town in a 99-cent store. Police on the scene said the store clerk identified the thief as a black male, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and wearing a gray-and-tan hoodie, white jeans, white sneakers and a black fanny pack strung across his shoulder. Police on the scene said he was last seen heading south down First Avenue. He was said to have robbed the store armed with a knife.

One N.Y.P.D. officer responding to the domestic disturbance scene at 400 E. 20th St. commented, “It’s going to get worse in the summer.”


  1. Howie Koss Howie Koss April 15, 2022

    Hane is not “closed”! Please update your article to reflect that their kitchen is open for takeout and delivery while their dining room undergoes a renovation. There is no need to unnecessarily stymie business potential of a local restaurant, either unintentionally or ignorantly, by spreading false information about their operational status. I just had delivery from them last night, they are very much open for business.

    • Keith Kelly Keith Kelly April 16, 2022

      I too have had takeout from Hane.
      The passing reference was meant to demonstrate that there were no diners sitting in the restaurant while police and ambulances swarmed the area…

      • Anonymous Anonymous April 16, 2022

        Any chance Hane will deliver ‘’2-for-1’ cocktails during the renovation?

        • Keith Kelly Keith Kelly April 16, 2022

          That is a great draw to their in-person dining that is for sure — It makes it far less expensive to dine there than the newish Rosemary’s Italian restaurant across the street. I bet if you ask Hane for the two-for-one drinks on takeaway orders, they’d give it to you. Drinks-to-go are now legal in NYS — as long as served with food…

  2. Anonymous Anonymous April 15, 2022

    Seems kind of shameful to include a photo of that guy on the stretcher, making him recognizable. And to have neighbors name him.

    • Archibald J Leach Archibald J Leach April 15, 2022

      Absolutely, especially since you’re not reporting that he was charged with a crime.

      • Keith Kelly Keith Kelly April 15, 2022

        He was charged with assault. That should be reflected in an updated version of the story…

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