With his house sitting along the East River, Anton Duke has a fantastic view of the Whitestone Bridge.
But over the last week, Duke has not spent time looking at his view but at the blood stains throughout his Whitestone home.
On Dec. 22, Duke was beaten up, threatened with a gun and robbed by two men in ski masks after he returned home in the evening, police said.
Duke, who owns and runs Storks Pastry Shop on 150th Street in Whitestone, had left his home for just an hour, leaving his alarm system off.
After entering through his garage door, he heard a shout in the dark.
I thought it was my own people from my own business coming to wish me Merry Christmas, Duke said. And I said, Who are you? And all of the sudden, I saw two guns.
Two men confronted him, he said. Duke, who suffers from a heart condition, fell unconscious and came to shortly. He found himself lying on a plant in his solarium.
When I woke up, they were standing on top of me, and I told them I have a heart condition, he said.
The taller of the men picked up Duke by his jacket, hit him and pulled a gun alongside his head, Duke said.
He shot it next to my ear and busted my eardrum, Duke said.
The 72-year-old man managed to escape for a moment and ran into his foyer, locking a glass door behind him. But the men then broke through the glass door, grabbed him, and starting hitting him again, Duke said.
The men found Dukes safe and made him remove his cash before tying him up on the couch, Duke said.
Then I knew that I wouldnt die, Duke said. The minute they tie you up, you know they want to get away.
The men pulled out all the phone cords in the house and fled, Duke said.
Duke then untied himself and used a cellphone to call police.
He was taken to New York Hospital Medical Center Queens with his face bloodied. Despite having dizzy spells, he returned to work the next day.
Although glad to be alive, Duke said he feared the two would strike again. Due to a police investigation, he could not discuss his theories about who committed the crime, although he said he believed the criminals knew him.
Duke said he has not cleaned up the blood stains throughout the lower floor of his home because he is waiting for his insurer to inspect the home.
Duke, who was born in the Netherlands and raised in Germany, said police patrols in the area had decreased in recent years.
The police could not find the house, he said. That means the police are never cruising.
Robberies in the 109th Precinct, which includes Whitestone as well as Flushing, College Point and Bay Terrace, have actually decreased this year, dropping 3.7 percent in the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 15 as compared to the same period last year.
Burglaries, however, have jumped by 14.3 percent. With 1,042 burglaries reported this year through Dec. 15, the 109th Precinct has had more burglaries than any other precinct in New York City. Recently, a special unit was assigned to the precinct to help tackle the problem.
We have to have more police protection, Duke said.
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.
©2003 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.