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Cleaning woman murdered in Ridgewood theater: Cops

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A cleaning woman was beaten to death inside a Ridgewood movie theater on Myrtle Avenue early Wednesday morning, but police had not identified a motive or suspects in the hours after the attack.

The woman, described by police as Hispanic and in her 40s, was murdered as she worked at the Queens Circuit Ridgewood Fiveplex at 55-27 Myrtle Ave., according to authorities.

Police said she was found dead at the scene from trauma to the head.

On Wednesday morning, co-workers mourned the death of the woman they called Guadalupe.

“Everytime I came in she would open the door for me,” said George Tapia, an usher at the theater for the last three months who said he cried when he heard the news. “She would ask me about my day and everything. She was just very sweet,” he said.

The woman would come in at the end of the evening along with two porters to clean the three-story theater, which has five screens. Workers on the scene Wednesday morning said it was not unusual for the three-person crew to be spread out across the theater as they cleaned, leaving each alone.

As a security precaution, workers said, the main gates are closed in the front of the theater and all doors are secured after the last show of the evening ends.

According to reports on the Breaking News Network, police discovered that the fire escape doors to the theater were open after co-workers found Guadalupe’s body.

Co-workers speculated that the only way assailants from outside could have killed Guadalupe would have been if they were let in or if they had hidden in the theater after it closed.

Co-workers said Guadalupe, who is of Mexican descent, lived in Ridgewood with her husband and three children. Her husband works at a movie theater in Jackson Heights.

Police were dredging sewer grates with the assistance of the Department of Environmental Preservation Wednesday morning to see if they could locate a weapon that was used in the attack.

As of press time, police were unable to officially identify the woman or provide any additional information as to how she may have been killed. No suspects were known and the case was being investigated.

“She was friendly. She was very nice — a very quiet lady,” said co-worker and ticket seller Jsenia Rodriguez.

-Brian M. Rafferty contributed to this story.

Reach reporter Brendan Browne by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 155.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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