Terrified Manhattan diners describe how armed robbers held up swanky restaurant


New York City diners described the terrifying moment two masked, armed men attacked outdoor diners at high-end Manhattan restaurant Phillipe Chow on Wednesday, stealing one man’s Rolex watch and shooting another man in the leg when he tried take the robber’s weapon.  

Halley Wolowiec and Tamara Behan were eating outside at Le Bilboquet, across the street from Phillipe Chow. 

Sometime after 10pm Wolowiec told ABC 7 she heard gunshots and glasses and plates breaking. ‘There was no mistaking that,’ she recounted. When she looked up she saw everyone running. She said that the restaurant opened it doors and ushered people inside to safety. 

‘It was frightening because it was 20 feet away from us and it got very real very quickly,’ Wolowiec explained. 

Behan pointed to how quickly her dinner on the Upper East Side turned into her life being threatened. ‘It’s absolutely scary when you think about how quickly it goes from being a nice night to literally you’re saying could I get shot?’ 

Police said a 28-year-old male victim was sitting outside the swanky establishment on East 60th Street when one of the men stepped up to his table minutes after 10 pm 

A 31-year-old man was also approached at the restaurant at the same time when a masked man robbed him of his Rolex Stainless Steel Submariner watch

A 31-year-old man was also approached at the restaurant at the same time when a masked man robbed him of his Rolex Stainless Steel Submariner watch 

Halley Wolowiec

Tamara Behan

Halley Wolowiec (left) and Tamara Behan (right) were eating outside at Le Bilboquet, across the street from Phillipe Chow when the armed robbery occurred 

She remembered looking at Wolowiec and thinking, ‘Good God that could have gone into either one of us.’ 

The born and bred New Yorker was shaken up. ‘You always hear about this stuff but you never think about it happening right behind you.’

A hostess at the upscale Chinese restaurant witnessed the altercation, ‘It was public in front of everybody.’ One of the masked men reportedly approached a 28-year-old man and demanded his watch. ‘When he said no, they just pulled out the gun. It’s absolutely terrifying,’ she told The New York Post.

A woman dining at Il Mulino next door described the chaos to Post. ‘There were two shots. Everybody came running in, screaming,’ she said. 

‘It’s hard to believe it was a robbery. They were eating dinner out front. It looked like they were targeted. It’s crazy.’ 

Police said a 28-year-old male victim was sitting outside on a first date at the swanky establishment on East 60th Street when one of the masked men stepped up to his table.

Meanwhile, a second masked man approached another table and robbed 31-year-old diner of his Rolex Stainless Steel Submariner watch.

'(The robber) said, "Hey, it’s a stickup." They wanted our jewelry,' the victim’s date told the Daily News. 'My date started to fight him for the gun. He shot him. It was the left leg. It was our first date. I’m still in shock'

‘(The robber) said, ‘Hey, it’s a stickup.’ They wanted our jewelry,’ the victim’s date told the Daily News. ‘My date started to fight him for the gun. He shot him. It was the left leg. It was our first date. I’m still in shock’

'There was shooting, and everybody screamed,' a maintenance worker told the New York Post. 'They ran and got scared and threw the gun on the floor, over there near the bottle on the sidewalk'

 ‘There was shooting, and everybody screamed,’ a maintenance worker told the New York Post. ‘They ran and got scared and threw the gun on the floor, over there near the bottle on the sidewalk’

NYPD Lieutenant Lieutenant Thomas Antonetti told MailOnline that, after the 28-year-old was shot and his assailant relinquished the handgun, the victim managed to bring it inside the restaurant where it was recovered by police

NYPD Lieutenant Lieutenant Thomas Antonetti told MailOnline that, after the 28-year-old was shot and his assailant relinquished the handgun, the victim managed to bring it inside the restaurant where it was recovered by police

‘(The robber) said, ‘Hey, it’s a stickup.’ They wanted our jewelry,’ the victim’s date told the Daily News. ‘My date started to fight him for the gun. He shot him. It was the left leg. It was our first date. I’m still in shock.’

The 28-year-old refused the masked robber’s demand for his watch and wrestled the man for his gun. He was shot in his left leg in the struggle. 

NYPD Lieutenant Lieutenant Thomas Antonetti told MailOnline that, after he was shot and his assailant dropped the handgun, the victim managed to bring it inside the restaurant where it was recovered by police.  

Antonetti said before the robbers who are assumed to be in their 20s fled the scene in a dark-colored SUV driven by a third party heading westbound. Police have surveillance video of the suspects and are searching for them. 

The Post reported that the victim staggered, bleeding, out onto the sidewalk. 

‘One of the responding officers acquired a tourniquet to the shooting victim’s leg so that when EMS responded, he was already in that elevated state of care,’ Antonetti told MailOnline. 

The shooting victim was coherent enough to speak with investigators before he was taken to Cornell Hospital, where he is currently in stable condition.    

As of now, Antonetti said, there are no suspects or leads in the case. 

‘It was like a movie,’ a maintenance worker who watched the men get out of the SUV from a nearby building told the Post. ‘Two of them got out walking.’     

Philippe, named after its celebrity executive chef Philippe Chow, is a favorite of Rihanna, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj

Philippe, named after its celebrity executive chef Philippe Chow, is a favorite of Rihanna, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj

'It was like a movie,' a maintenance worker who watched the men get out of the SUV from a nearby building told the Post. 'Two of them got out walking'

‘It was like a movie,’ a maintenance worker who watched the men get out of the SUV from a nearby building told the Post. ‘Two of them got out walking’

A woman dining at Il Mulino next door described the chaos to the Post: 'There were two shots. Everybody came running in, screaming,' she said

A woman dining at Il Mulino next door described the chaos to the Post: ‘There were two shots. Everybody came running in, screaming,’ she said 

This is not the first shooting incident at the upscale establishment: Tekashi69's bodyguard, Faheem Walter tussled with a bouncer at the establishment in 2018 after he and another member of the rapper's posse were turned away

This is not the first shooting incident at the upscale establishment: Tekashi69’s bodyguard, Faheem Walter tussled with a bouncer at the establishment in 2018 after he and another member of the rapper’s posse were turned away

‘There was shooting, and everybody screamed,’ the maintenance worker told the outlet. ‘They ran and got scared and threw the gun on the floor, over there near the bottle on the sidewalk.’    

This is not the first shooting incident at the upscale establishment: Tekashi69’s bodyguard, Faheem Walter tussled with a bouncer at the establishment in 2018 after he and another member of the rapper’s posse were turned away. 

In retaliation, Walter hit one security guard over the head with a chair – the guard pulled out a handgun and shot Walter, who ultimately served 62 months in prison for gang violence for the incident, twice in the torso. 

Philippe, named after its celebrity executive chef Philippe Chow, is a favorite of Rihanna, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, according to The Standard.  

Cardi B celebrated the release of her album ‘Invasion of Privacy’ there, according to published reports, over a slurry of margaritas. The swanky eatery, she’s said, is her ‘favorite restaurant in the world.’

Among popular menu items are the $85 peking duck special and a $16 red velvet fortune cookie. 

The armed robbery and shooting on September 15 came a week after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio bragged that the city experienced one of its safest Augusts on record. 

De Blasio released last month’s citywide crime statistics at a press conference on Tuesday, where he said crime in August 2021 dropped 5.4 per cent compared to the same time last year. 

Crime in the city is also at one of its lowest levels since 1995, according to CompStat with 6,141 violent incidents compared to 1,979 in the year to date. Those incidents include, murder, rape, assault, burglary, larceny and grand theft auto.  

But despite overall crime rates being down, New York City continues to see a surge in violent crimes in some areas, with murders up a whopping 60 per cent in the Bronx alone this year, compared to 2020.



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