Last Friday morning, a Yale student went to Alpha Delta Pizza expecting to get a slice of pizza — but instead got robbed.
Around 2:30 a.m. Friday, the student had his phone stolen by unidentified figures outside of Alpha Delta Pizza at 371 Elm St. Despite this, the proprietors of three local eateries — Alpha Delta Pizza, Gourmet Heaven and A-1 Pizza on Broadway — said that the robbery, which occurred in what the New Haven Police Department considers a low-crime area, has not affected how they conduct their businesses and that their operating hours will remain unchanged.
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“Those businesses have a lot of security coverage because both the Yale and New Haven police departments cover them,” NHPD spokesman Joe Avery said. “People aren’t going to commit robbery in front of the police, and these stores have some good coverage because of overlapping patrols.”
Business owners in the area said the police do good job of patrolling the area, and so allow them to keep their doors open to patrons late into the night.
“The Friday of the robbery was very different from what we’re used to seeing,” said Mahmut Turan, an employee at Alpha Delta Pizza. “Usually, drunk people come late at night to get food after going to clubs. We just give them what they want and try to get to get them out of here.”
Turan, who was working behind the register when the robbery occurred, mentioned that this was the first time he had ever seen a Yale student get assaulted near Alpha Delta’s premises.
The student, he said, was jumped by hooded figures who stole the victim’s phone and drove away in a car before the police could show up. When the police finally arrived a few minutes later, he added, no one at the scene could identify the assailants or their license plate number.
“Everything happened like that,” Turan said, snapping his fingers. “Within a matter of seconds, the student was on the curb and bleeding from his chin.”
Though there have been incidents of drunken harassment at Alpha Delta before, Turan mentioned, they have largely been kept under control by the presence of New Haven police, who hang around the store at late hours, often eating themselves. Despite such coverage, Alpha Delta now plans on hiring security on weekend nights as an added precaution to ensure the safety of its customers.
“Police presence around here is very good, but we don’t want the same thing to happen again,” Turan said. “We just want everyone to be safe and enjoy coming here.”
Employees at two other stores near campus said they were surprised by what occurred at Alpha Delta Pizza on Friday morning. They stressed that storefront crimes are not the norm in the area and that their businesses are able to operate so late because police presence prevents incidents from breaking out.
“We have a very good relationship with the New Haven police,” said Yong Cho, the proprietor of Gourmet Heaven. “Sometimes, we have problems with rowdy Quinnipiac students who go to bars and drink too much, but Yale students have never been a problem here. The police keep everything under control.”
The only crime Cho could recall was an attempted theft by a man who tried to shoplift several grocery items from Gourmet Heaven in 2008. The man hid the items in his backpack and began to leave, Cho said, but was stopped by a worker and arrested by a police officer before he could exit the store.
Similarly, Murat Tetik, an employee at A-1 Pizza on Broadway, did not express major concern over the robbery at Alpha Delta. The police, he said, provide plenty of security coverage for the neighborhood, especially at late hours after clubs have been let out.
“I actually like people being drunk,” said Tetik. “They bring good business to our store because they eat a lot. The cops keep everyone safe, and besides, drunk people are funny.”
Four out of five students on campus said that they did not feel discouraged from eating out late at these stores, even when informed of the robbery at Alpha Delta. Two students said they thought New Haven was not as safe as other cities, but that this belief would not cause them to deny themselves late-night Wenzels — Alpha Delta’s special sub sandwich. One student, however, expressed some reservations about visiting these eateries late at night.
“I think I’ll have to think twice before venturing too far from Yale when I go out to eat after dark now,” said Helen Wang ’14. “On the other hand, I do like pizza. Maybe I just won’t go alone.”
In addition to pizza, Alpha Delta also sells the Wenzel, a buffalo chicken club sandwich.