A woman who feared for her life while allegedly being held hostage in a New York City apartment found another way to call for help without alerting her captor.
The 24-year-old was being held against her will in an apartment in the Eastchester section of the Bronx on Sunday after a man she met online allegedly sexually assaulted her, police told ABC New York station WABC.
The woman and the suspect had first met in person months after they hooked up online, police said. The encounter quickly turned violent, police said, and the suspect did not let the woman have her phone except to order food, the station reported.
Employees at the Chipper Truck Café in Yonkers, just north of Manhattan, received an order placed on Grubhub for a breakfast sandwich and burger around 5 a.m. Sunday, restaurant owner Alice Bermejo told WABC . While the order itself is not unusual, employees noticed a hastily written note in the further instructions section, which said to call the police and have them come with the food – warning them not to. not make the answer obvious.
“She was basically saying bring the police in with the delivery,” Bermejo said.
Bermejo said her husband received a call from one of the employees who saw the order appear on the screen, asking him what to do.
Bermejo’s husband asked the employee to follow the instructions.
“He was like, ‘Call the police. I can’t take any chances. Better safe than sorry,'” Bermejo said.
Police responded and the suspect, Kemoy Royal, 32, was arrested, the New York Police Department told ABC News in a statement. Royal was charged with rape, unlawful imprisonment, strangulation, criminal possession of a weapon and sexual abuse, among other counts, police said.
Royal was also charged that day with attempted sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman on June 15, the NYPD said. Police did not immediately explain why Royal had not been charged earlier for the incident.
Grubhub COO Eric Ferguson reached out to Bermejo on Wednesday morning and offered him $5,000 to invest in his business to recognize the quick-wittedness of owner and employee Lisa Belot, director of public relations at the food delivery company, told ABC News over email.
“Every time we see a simple yet extraordinary act like this, we are amazed at the positive impact our partners have on their communities,” Belot said. “From drivers delivering in difficult times to our corporate employees volunteering at food banks to those restaurant workers in Yonkers who recognized a serious situation and acted quickly, we are grateful and humbled that Grubhub can be one of these amazing stories of kindness and heroism.”
Bermejo said she later received a phone call from the victim’s friend, thanking the restaurant for helping her.
“We really had no idea how serious the situation was until it all happened,” Bermejo said.
ABC News could not immediately reach an attorney for Royal.