After Attempted Robbery, It's Still Groovy At Point Pleasant Beach Coffee Shop

Indeed, the event seemed to be about a dispute, or a crime involving two people - and nothing about a store that prides itself on fair trade products and, on its website, calls coffee one of “life’s daily celebrations”

It's still a place of peace, love and organic coffee beans.

More than a week after an attempted robbery and carjacking happened just outside its doors, the Green Planet coffee is still the Bohemian, happy, serene place it was before.

Indeed, the event seemed to be about a dispute, or a crime involving two people - and nothing about a store that prides itself on fair trade products and, on its website, calls coffee one of “life’s daily celebrations”

"We look at it as an anomaly," said the store's owner, Steve Pazienza.

Yes, this is definitely the kind of place where, as the cliche goes, crime doesn't happen. Nor is crime a thing of the Arnold Avenue downtown in Point Pleasant Beach, for that matter.  

Nine days after the crime, the people who own and work at the coffee shop were painting the episode more as a novelty than something to freak out about.

If anything, Pazienza said the shop - despite its peaceful, easy feeling - will do more to scare burglars away than not.

"We have a lot of people come in here," he said.

The crime also has roots that may go far beyond Point Pleasant Beach.

A homeless man who attempted to rob and carjack a victim outside the coffee shop is also wanted on three homicide charges in Washington state and failing to register as a sex offender.

Point Pleasant Beach police identified the man as Ali Muhammad Brown, 30, who is considered to be homeless.

In addition to the three homicide charges out of Seattle, Brown is now wanted on first degree robbery and second degree possession of a weapon in Ocean County.

"The Point Pleasant Beach Police department is currently working with other agencies, including the Seattle, Washington Police and U.S. Marshals Service to bring Brown into custody," said Detective Patrick Petruzziello in a statement issued last week.

Brown's bail on the Ocean County charges was set at $500,000 cash by Superior Court Judge Francis Hodgson, Petruzziello said.

Brown was recently accused of gunning down 27-year-old Ahmed Said and 23-year-old Dwone Anderson at 29th and King Street in Seattle on June 1, according to a feature posted last month by America's Most Wanted.

According to a report from KIRO-TV, Brown was previously convicted of trying to molest his 6-year-old daughter.

At Green Planet, police say Brown pointed a handgun at a 46-year-old Washington, D.C. man and demanded his money and car keys. 

The victim complied. However, the suspect ultimately fled the area on foot, police said. The gun has not been recovered, according to Petruzziello.

Store employees said they found it odd that - just before the crime - the two men seemed to be shifting back and forth, sitting in seats or standing on the Bay Avenue side of the shop before shifting back to the Arnold Avenue side.

Given the amount of people who come to the store, Pazienza wasn't surprised that no one tried to ransack his shop.

"That's a deterrence," he said, noting the store's popularity.
Old Guy July 09, 2014 at 07:57 AM
Good article, Tom. Hope we've seen the last of Mr. Brown.


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