At This Eatery, a Grubhub Order Stopped Workers Cold

Cops say hostage was rescued after writing on her order: 'Please call the police'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2022 10:15 AM CDT
Updated Jun 26, 2022 3:55 PM CDT
Cops: Woman Rescued After Adding Note to Grubhub Order
This Feb. 20, 2018, file photo shows the Grubhub app on an iPhone in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

(Newser) – Usually in the "additional instructions" field on Grubhub orders, customers specify food allergies or ask for extra condiments. Cops say for one New York City-area woman, that section on the app became a place to plead for help, and helped lead to her rescue. ABC7 reports that an order came in around 5am Sunday to the 24-hour Chipper Truck Cafe in Yonkers, with an order for a breakfast sandwich and a burger—but along with the food request were "additional instructions" that caused workers to stop cold. "Please call the police his going to call me when u delivered come with the cones please don't make it obvious," the somewhat jumbled but alarming message read, per NBC News.

Owner Alice Bermejo tells ABC7 one of the workers immediately notified Bermejo's husband, who told the employee to call the cops. Police headed to the address where the food order had come from, three miles away in the Bronx's Eastchester neighborhood. Per court documents, 32-year-old Kemoy Royal opened the door at around 6:20am, thinking the food had arrived. Authorities say they found a 24-year-old woman being held against her will inside. They add that Royal and the woman had met in person after corresponding for months online, but that Royal then took her hostage, only allowing her to use her phone when she wanted to order food. He was arrested and hit with charges of unlawful imprisonment, rape, strangulation, and criminal possession of a weapon, among others.

Police also brought charges of attempted sexual assault against Royal for a similar incident with a different woman that had taken place earlier in the month. They say that woman, 26, had escaped, and even though she reported the incident to police, they couldn't track Royal down, adding his name to a "wanted" list instead, per CBS News. The media outlet notes that Grubhub is sending the Chipper Truck Cafe a $5,000 check for its quick-thinking actions, and the restaurant is offering kudos to its employees and to police. It wrote in a Facebook post that it had "often heard of this happening but never thought it would happen to us. Thankfully we were open and able to help her." Royal's bail has been set at $25,000, with his next court appearance scheduled for Friday, per CNN. (Read more Grubhub stories.)

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