Monday, March 18, 2024

2 East Village residents 'shaken and scared' after assault inside their building

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy

Two longtime East Village residents are recovering from a beating they suffered inside their building by a group of men who said they were soliciting business for an energy company. 

On Tuesday, March 5, at around 2 p.m., Wayne Rada (pictured above), co-founder of the LISA Project, said he buzzed in two people claiming to be from the "electric company" who came to his fifth-floor apartment to get him to sign up for Brown's Energy Services, an alternative energy supplier based on Staten Island. 

Rada and his husband, LISA Project cofounder Rey Rosa, escorted the two workers to the elevator to show them the first-floor office where they could leave sales material. 

The elevator stopped one floor down, and Rada and Rosa saw four to five more employees who said they were representing the same company.

Rada remarked that the group looked "more like a package theft ring," and Rosa took out his smartphone to photograph the men. At that point, the group allegedly pounced on Rada and Rosa, pushing them into the stairwell while punching and kicking the two. Rada described it as "gleeful rage."

Rosa was able to dial 911 on speakerphone and escape the men's clutches. 

Rada, treated at Bellevue, suffered an orbital fracture of the left ocular bone, a concussion, extensive bruising, and four broken teeth, as well as the loss of a molar. Rosa has strangulation bruises.

Both said they were severely shaken and having a difficult time recovering from the incident. 

Police sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, confirmed that four men were arrested, and two others have outstanding warrants in connection with this assault. It's not immediately clear if the alleged suspects were actually in the building to pitch renewable energy services or if they were carrying bogus documents.

The suspects left behind photocopied documents, including an ID badge (we blurred the person's name) with Brown's Energy on it ...
During a phone call last Tuesday, Michael Palmese, the owner of Brown's Energy, expressed his shock and horror about the assaults and said that he was not aware of them.

"Unequivocally, we don't have any agents who work for us," he said. "We are a supply company and have only four in-office employees."

Palmese said they will hire third-party marketing companies for in-person pitching, telemarketing, and sales at concerts, sporting events, and other venues. He said he'd get back to us with information about any third-party vendors but had done so by the time of this post. He also did not respond to follow-up calls.

Back in his East Village building last week, Rada discussed the assault ...
... and pointed out where there were still blood droplets on the stairwell floor and walls where the suspects slammed his head onto the concrete...
"This is all too, too much ... happening inside my building. It's surreal and makes it impossible to sleep," Rada said. "[The attack] repeats over and over in our heads. We are so shaken up and scared."


Trixie said...

Oh my gosh, how terrible! This is just awful. Makes me hesitant to buzz anyone into the building at all, even if they say they're from UPS or USPS. The way parking and deliveries are nowadays, I can't even look out my window to see if the truck is there, or what. Definitely not going to buzz in any energy sellers!

j said...

So very sorry this happened to them. Good to hear they are recovering.

Mark said...

Damn. This is horrifying. Both might need to speak with mental health professionals at some point due the trauma that was endured. I hope they heal soon. Wish them well.

I live in a building here in the EV where I can deny or permit access to visitors with my smartphone. If I don't recognize their name or am not expecting a delivery or a friend, I won't let them in. Sometimes, I receive a call for another tenant who are expecting a package from Amazon or UPS. But I always decline because of shady activities with drug activity from passersby and previously stolen items in our small lobby. Don't ignore your instincts. Trust no one. This is where we are at now. Sad, but true.

WotM8? said...

I feel for the victims, no doubt. A walk away lesson for sure is not to buzz anyone in unless you're expecting someone. If it's a package delivery, tell them to leave it at your door. Now and days you don't really need to sign for anything unless it's really important. Keep a chain on your door, if you have one, when you open up and look through the peephole before opening. This is still nYc, people! & it's a bit crazier than usual as of lately.

Sarah said...

ESCOs are all quasi-scams at best anyway (though inexplicably one of them gets to pitch at the TSP greenmarket?). That they often operate through third parties whose behavior they can claim to know nothing about only makes it worse. Never talk to them. Nothing good can come of it.

This story is a little weird because I'm not sure what the exact motive was (were they planning to rob the office?), but maybe they were just bored that afternoon and wanted to have a little "fun." I hope the two injured gentlemen recover quickly.

Brian said...

It sounds like Wayne and Rey did this community a huge favor by bravely confronting these guys, getting their pictures, getting the cops involved, and getting them off the streets for the rest of us. THANK YOU!!

Really sorry for your injuries, but very grateful for your courage.

creature said...

I had to stop a couple of these "energy" people from scamming my elderly neighbor a few years back. After I told my neighbor who they really were (not ConEd) and to stop talking to them, they proceeded to get belligerent, but not violent (lot's of cursing and door belling ringing). I was concerned that they knew where I lived, but nothing further came of it.

Wayne Rada said...

So hi I’m Wayne. Thank you Stacie, and our thanks to all of you. Rey and I wanted to clear a few things up.
1) We never buzzed in the Brown Energy people, some 7-9 of them,they either sidestepped into the building or they got in when the building left the doors wide open without supervision. Either was illegal entry, trespassing.
2) The individuals that attacked us were dressed in business casual, came to our front door on the 5th floor and rang our RING doorbell. Said they’re we the “electric company.”
3) We asked them to leave the building and check in with the office next door.
4) We did follow down the stairs, because it felt like we were being lied to, and thought maybe they were package thieves.
5) When Rey took his phone out to start recording this bullshit, they all attacked us. Raged on us! Why? We just asked to leave, never disrespected or vulgarity being used.
6) They beat my lower front teeth in and knocking out a lower molar, breaking and upper molar, causing concussions to the side of my head in addition to the fracture under my left oculus. Rey was almost strangled to death, and luckily, I was able to wiggle him free, to which he basically saved my life. Love that guy.
7) we are experiencing ongoing Physical issues, neurological issues and mental health issues, PTSD, agoraphobic and depression with a healthy dose of anxiety and panic attacks. And forget about quality sleep…

Exterminator said...

Brian 4:54, don’t count on these thugs
being off the streets. Pretty much
everyone gets released these days.
Nobody goes to jail anymore.

Anonymous said...

So Sorry Wayne!! That was a truly awful ordeal. In my old EV building, they would somehow get in...kind of like rats.

Trixie said...

Oh Wayne we're so sorry this happened to you guys. Sincere well wishes for your recovery. Hugs.

Lola Sáenz said...

So sorry, best well wishes.

Anonymous said...

I’m so sorry for what you both went through and I wish you all the best.