It happened on March 29 on the Upper West Side, as NYPD Sergeant William Rivera and his Neighborhood Coordination Officers were hunting for perpetrators wanted for robbing a female victim of her AirPod headphones.
The NYPD posted about the incident on Facebook, saying the team had almost given up the manhunt one hour after the robbery when they spotted one of the suspects.
The suspect allegedly ignored officers' verbal instructions to stop and began running across West 72nd Street toward Broadway.
The deliveryman, 21-year-old Alou Bathelu, was riding a bicycle when he saw the pursuit and yelled, "I'll stop him, officers!" police said.
He peddled ahead of the suspect, identified as Lovell Ambrister, and pulled the bicycle across his path, delaying him just long enough for Rivera and officers Jack Etter, Delilah Solis, Darnell Jones and Bridget Fanning to catch up and apprehend him in a safe manner.
While the suspect was running, police say he was throwing fake $50 bills out of his pockets. In addition to committing the robbery, he had also used the counterfeit cash at two stores where he bought small, cheap items with the fake bills to obtain real cash as change from the purchase. Authorities say Ambrister has seven prior arrests that include robbery and grand larceny.
Bathelu, who lives in Harlem, is an immigrant from Mali who came to America two months ago to pursue his dreams and go to school. He works at Domino's as a side gig.
He said he was not afraid to take down the robber and would do it again.
"It's good for the community because if I'm going to help the policemen in their work, it's good because the police are here for the security," Bathelu said.
Dalla Yara, Bathelu's roommate, told him he was nervous after the encoutner.
"He called me ... and said, 'I'm scared. I don't know if I did something good or not,'" Yara said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter to thank the good Samaritan, writing, "At last! A reason for New Yorkers to consider Domino's. Kudos to the pizza delivery hero who help New York's Finest stop this robbery (in 30 minutes or less)."
Pizza, like justice, is best delivered quickly. https://t.co/huy4yngqYc— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) April 5, 2019
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