A beggar of Ukrainian origin drew a knife over the weekend and threatened to stab a yeshiva student in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The incident occurred near the entrance to the central synagogue in Crown Heights. Police were called to the scene, arrested the beggar and collected testimony from the neighborhood’s residents.
The story echoed throughout the neighborhood, especially since the presence of beggars in the Crown Heights neighborhood is a notorious phenomenon. Local worshipers often encounter these beggars and several of them have been caught red-handed in acts of theft.
According to local activists, many of the beggars there are pretending to be poor and in fact have criminal records. Although they cannot be legally removed from the area, local gabbais (sextons) are brainstorming on how to prevent the recurrence of such serious cases.