By ALLYSON BIRD
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 13, 2008
WEST PALM BEACH — As a couple sat down to eat at Palm Beach Mall's Food Court Tuesday evening, a stranger pointed a gun at them demanding their money and jewelry, according to a police report.
The man took 21-year-old Alexandro Mendez's thick gold chain with a big, diamond-encrusted money sign, off Mendez's neck. Then he took 19-year-old Lidia Lewis' purse and fled, according to Lewis.
Lewis said she initially spotted the robber and another man in front of the Chinese food counter, trying to haggle for more meat. Mendez told her, "They're watching us."
"We had on all our jewelry," she remembers. And Lewis said she had $700 in cash in her purse.
She said one of the two men disappeared before the armed man approached their table around 6 p.m. and trained his gun on Mendez's head.
A police report names no witnesses. Though the alleged attack happened in front of All American Hero, owner Dishad Ali said she didn't see the incident. She said a customer later told her what happened.
That customer, named Candice , was sitting with her two sons near Mendez and Lewis when they were robbed. She said the gunman came into the food court alone, thumbing through a wad of cash. She never saw a second man.
Her son Dylan watched the man eyeing his mother and then watched him take out the weapon.
"Do not turn around," he told his mother. "He's got a gun."
Mall spokeswoman Lydia Gilmore called the incident "highly unusual" in a written statement e-mailed through the mall's parent company.
"We have complete confidence in the comprehensive security program at Palm Beach Mall and believe it is a very safe place to shop," the statement said.