NEW YORK – A woman who believed her life was in peril as she was sexually assaulted and being held hostage in a New York City apartment used Grubhub as a low key alternative to summon police without alerting her captor.
The 24-year-old woman was being held against her will in an apartment in the Bronx on Sunday after a man she met online sexually assaulted her, police said, WABC reported.
The New York Police Department identified the suspect as 32-year-old Kemoy Royal. He was arrested and charged with a slew of crimes.
The female victim met Royal in person for the first time months after they connected online. The encounter soon turned violent and the suspect would not allow the woman have her phone, according to police.
However, law enforcement authorities said Royal allowed the victim to use her phone to place an order for food, according to the news outlet.
The woman used Grubhub to place an order with Chipper Truck Cafe in Yonkers. The victim ordered a breakfast sandwich and a burger around 5:00 a.m. on Sunday. Along with her order, she placed a note in the section for additional instructions that said to call police and have them come with the food — cautioning them to not make the response obvious.
“She was basically saying to bring the police with the delivery,” the restaurant’s owner Alice Bermejo told WABC.
Grubhub receipt used to rescue a sexual assault victim being held against her will in the Bronx. (Screenshot WABC)
When the order with its unusual directions popped up on the screen, Bermejo’s husband received a call from an employee asking what to do.
Bermejo’s husband told the employee to follow the instructions and summon police.
“He was like, ‘Call the police. Can’t take any risks. Better safe than sorry,'” Bermejo said.
Police responded and Royal was taken into custody, according to NYPD. He was subsequently charged with with rape, unlawful imprisonment, strangulation, criminal possession of a weapon and sexual abuse, among other counts, ABC News reported.
Moreover, NYPD said Royal was also charged with the attempted sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman that occurred on June 15.
Chief Operating Officer Eric Ferguson of Grubhub heard about the story and reached out to Bermejo Wednesday morning. He offered her $5,000 to invest in her business as a way to recognize the quick-thinking of the owner and employee, Lisa Belot, director of public relations for the food delivery company, told ABC News in an email.
“Every time we see a simple but extraordinary act like this, we are amazed by how our partners positively impact their communities,” Belot said. “From drivers delivering in difficult weather to our corporate employees volunteering at food banks to these restaurant employees in Yonkers who recognized a serious situation and acted quickly, we’re grateful and humbled that Grubhub can be a part of such incredible stories of kindness and heroism.”