(NewsNation) — A New York cafe helped police save a kidnapped woman after receiving an online food order with a note pleading for help.
The Chipper Truck Café in Yonkers, New York, received the note via the food delivery app Grubhub over the weekend, just months after they started taking orders through the delivery service.
“I drive my staff crazy, telling them ‘pay attention to the notes,’ because the customers let us know if something goes wrong and we don’t want things goes wrong. We want them to get the order right. I drive them crazy,” restaurant owner Alice Bermejo said during an appearance on “Morning in America.” “And thankfully, they did what we asked and they saved this girl.”
An order came in for an Irish breakfast roll and a burger early Sunday morning. But something in the additional instructions section stood out: a note from someone saying “please call the police.”
The rest of the message didn’t make sense, but those first four words were alarming enough for the staff at the cafe to sound the alarm.
“You could see it was real because it was rushed. The wording was not right but you could still understand what they were meaning,” Bermejo said.
One of the restaurant’s security cameras captured the moment when the employee who received the order, walked over to a co-worker showing her the note.
The next thing they did was call their boss.
Bermejo’s husband answered the call and told employees to cancel the order and call the police. He said, “Call the cops. Don’t send the order because you’re gonna alert the people.”
“We just didn’t want to take any chances,” said Bermejo.
New York City police rushed to the address and found a 24-year-old woman being held against her will inside an apartment building in the Bronx.
“They gave us a phone call. They told us that there was an arrest made and a girl was saved. And that was a complete shock to us,” Bermejo said.” They had hoped it wasn’t real, but when they received the confirmation, they were shocked.
Officers arrested 32-year-old Kemoy Royal, and charged him with rape, strangulation, criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment, menacing, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and sexual abuse.
Police said one week earlier, Royal also tried to rape a 26-year-old woman at his home.
“Only the girl got away. So, God knows how many times he would’ve tried to do this — only for this girl’s quick thinking,” said Bermejo.
Detectives said Royal met his victims on dating apps, inviting women to his home where he would allegedly attack them.
The U.S. has seen a large uptick in crime, with mayors across the nation stepping up, trying to address the growing crime crisis. New York City mayor Eric Adams is among the mayors searching for solutions to growing crime and gun violence.
A new NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll released Thursday found that near 15% of voters believe crime is the biggest problem the U.S. faces; and 60% of voters fear they, or someone in their family, will be a victim of a violent crime.
Grubhub gifted the café a $5,000 reward for getting involved and calling the police.
Bermejo explained that her and her husband have been feeling the pressure from the economy. She said it has been a struggle.
“Everything. The cost of everything has doubled, tripled on us. I mean, this is our sole income. So we’ve done our best to keep it going,” she said.