BROOKLYN, New York (WABC) -- The United Bodegas of America is offering a $3,000 reward for the arrest of a man who stabbed two bodega owners and assaulted a third. They say this attack is part of a bigger problem plaguing their employees.
The call for action was held in front of Pedregal Grocery on Rogers Avenue in Brooklyn, the site of the most recent crime.
The brutal attack happened at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the bodega. The union says a man refused to pay for an item and started throwing full cans of beer.
The suspect then pulled out a knife, and when the owners came after him with a baseball bat, he took the bat and came after them.
According to witnesses, the suspected shoplifter is known as 50 Cents.
Owner Pedro Ramirez, 46, was stabbed in the chest and arm and had to undergo surgery.
Marcial Ramirez, 60, was stabbed and beaten with a baseball bat, and his hand will need reconstructive surgery since his nerves have been damaged.
Jose Ramirez, 51, had facial wounds when the suspect shattered the glass door with a bat, injuring him with flying glass.
"Bodega owners and employees must remain calm and give up whatever these criminals want. If we fight back, we get arrested and prosecuted while the criminals are set free. The laws must change, we have the right to defend what belongs to us", said Radahmes Rodriguez, President of UBA.
Family members of the victims and the victims themselves were there to share their accounts and plead for action in the hopes that their attacker is brought to justice.
"These three brothers and their niece have worked in this bodega since 2013. This was brutal and we must arrest this man ASAP. We will connect with Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez to make sure this man does time," said Fernando Mateo, spokesman for the UBA. "Bodega owners are overwhelmed with looters and crime, and this must stop. Stabbings and shootings are out of control, and it must stop."
The UBA represents more than 14,000 bodegas across the city. They want more to be done to protect the owners.
"The criminal knows that they might get picked up, and then they'll be arrested maybe but then out the next day - business owners pay the consequences," said Mateo.
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