Just five minutes before Koffee on Audubon Street closed Tuesday, at 9:55 p.m., an unidentified male robbed the Audubon district coffeehouse at gunpoint.
No one was injured during the incident, but an undisclosed sum was stolen from the register, said Troy Stover, Koffee’s general manager. Stover would not say how much was stolen because the investigation of the robbery is ongoing.
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Stover said it was the first time the business has been robbed at gunpoint, but he declined to say whether it had been robbed before. The shop has had security cameras installed for several years now, Stover said, but he declined to say whether the cameras were on when the robbery occurred.
The robber entered the coffeehouse five minutes before it closed, purchased a small coffee for $1.79 and sat down to drink it, Stover said. While two other customers were in the store, the man walked behind the front counter, showed the female barista his gun and told her he was going to take the money in the register, Stover said. Once the barista had opened the register, the man placed the money in a bag and left.
Customers at the Koffee Wednesday said the crime is unlikely to deter them from patronizing the shop. But Stover said he will institute new security measures to prevent future robberies, explaining that he will rearrange employee shifts so that at least two staff members are always working at the same time. Only one female barista was working at the shop when it was robbed Tuesday.
The store has also placed signs on its glass front door to let customers and would-be criminals alike know cameras are watching, he added.
Business appeared to be back to normal at Koffee on Wednesday afternoon. The store was filled with more than 20 customers, mostly New Haven residents and Yale graduate students, Stover said.
Police records show the Audubon district, New Haven’s arts district, has a low crime rate compared to the rest of the city.
“I feel like this area is very safe,” said Daryl Jones ’98, a managing director for Research Edge, an investment research firm on Whitney Avenue near Koffee. “I always walk here late at night, and I’ve never had any problems.”
The five customers interviewed said they had not heard about the crime but added that knowing about it would not affect their decision to return to the coffee shop.
Since the 1960s, the Audubon district has been one of the main thoroughfares in and out of downtown. Just off Whitney Avenue, the neighborhood’s prominent buildings include the Neighborhood Music School and Creative Arts Workshop, non-profit centers that teach music and art to thousands of students, as well as the magnet school Education Center for the Arts. Every week-day around 3 p.m., parents and students flood the area, leaving school and arriving for after-school activities. Many of the parents frequent Koffee. But there is little bustle in the neighborhood at night, when the robbery took place.
Police confirmed that the crime had occurred and said the investigation is ongoing.