38 year old Ruben Werczberger was involved in a minor fender bender at approximately 7:30 PM on November 11th. Pulling over to the side of the road to exchange insurance information with the other driver in front of 354 52nd Street, Werczberger suddenly found himself in the midst of a hostile situation.
“A group gathered and someone from the group started striking the car with a piece of wood, damaging the front windshield,” an NYPD spokesperson told VIN News.
Werczberger rolled down his window and was punched in the face several times. The attacker, who reportedly said, “This dirty Jew won’t move from here. We’ll make him move,” grabbed Werczberger’s phone, kicked him in the hand and ran away.
Police said that Werczberger, who began chasing his attacker, then assaulted by an African-American man who punched Werzberger in the head several times, calling him “a dirty Jew.” A Hispanic woman who was also following Werczberger, grabbed his phone and all three fled the scene.
The NYPD was called to the scene and began searching for the three suspects using a phone locator app on Werczberger’s Samsung phone. Members of the 72nd precinct searched the vicinity, before finally returning back to the area where the incident began. All three suspects were located inside 345 52nd Street with the help of the GPS signal from Werczberger’s phone.
Linda Gonzalez, Vischal Budhram and Cindy Colletti, all 32 years old, were taken in by police and arrested.
Gonzalez, the first of the trio to allegedly attack Werczberger, was charged with two counts of robbery, grand larceny, criminal mischief, petit larceny, attempted assault and menacing, all as hate crimes, as well as criminal possession of stolen property, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment. Bail for Gonzalez, who lives at 1749 Grand Concourse in the Bronx, was set at $5,000.
Budhram, who allegedly chased and punched Werczberger, was charged with two counts of robbery, grand larceny, petit larceny, attempted assault and menacing, all as hate crimes, in addition to criminal possession of stolen property and harassment. Bail for Budhram, who lives at 345 52nd Street in Brooklyn, was set at $20,0000.
Colletti, who allegedly grabbed the phone from Werczberger the second time, was charged with multiple crimes including two counts of robbery, grand larceny, petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, attempted assault, menacing and harassment. Bail for Colletti, who lives at 463 61st Street in Brooklyn, was set at $10,000.
All three defendants have been charged in separate complaints. No trial dates have been set yet according to Carla Usher, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.