By Laura Ly and Isa Kaufman-Geballe, CNN
Updated: Wed, 22 Jun 2022 23:59:22 GMT
A 24-year-old woman used Grubhub to contact police while she was allegedly being held hostage in the Bronx over the weekend, according to a criminal complaint.
The unidentified woman, who had agreed to meet up with a man she had previously been chatting with on a dating app, was allegedly assaulted and later raped by the man, the complaint says.
According to the complaint, the man took the woman's phone away but she said she was able to retrieve it when she asked the man if she could order food.
A copy of the order, placed via Grubhub, a food delivery service, shows she wrote in the comments section: "please call the police...please don't make it obvious."
When the man opened the door expecting the food delivery, he was met by officers from the New York Police Department, according to the complaint.
Bronx man charged with sexual assault, rape
Employees at the Chipper Truck Cafe in Yonkers, New York, received the woman's Grubhub order and her plea for help around 5:20 a.m. on June 19.
Alice Bermejo, one of the restaurant's owners, told CNN Wednesday that an employee who saw the note called her husband, who then advised them to call the police.
"It was just a waiting game to see what happened. We didn't know if it was real or fake," Bermejo said.
NYPD officers responded to the address about an hour later and arrested 32-year-old Kemoy Royal at the scene.
Royal is being charged with committing predatory sexual assault, rape, criminal sexual act, and sexual abuse, according to a criminal complaint.
Royal was arraigned on Sunday and a judge set bail at $25,000 cash. He remains in custody and is next scheduled to appear in court on Friday, court records show.
Royal also faces separate charges of strangulation, committing sexual abuse and attempted criminal sexual act for another alleged sexual assault against a 26-year-old woman around four days earlier, the complaint states. It is not immediately clear how police linked the two cases together.
CNN has reached out to Royal's attorney for comment.
Restaurant owner is grateful the woman is safe, is thankful to Grubhub
Bermejo said police officials called Sunday afternoon to inform them that the woman's request for police was real, someone had been arrested and the woman was safe.
She told CNN she is still in shock about what happened but is thankful that the woman was rescued.
"We're just grateful that the girl is okay. That is the most important thing," Bermejo said.
While she does not know the identity of the woman, Bermejo said she hopes they meet one day and that she can give her a hug.
Grubhub said Wednesday that their COO reached out to Bermejo Wednesday morning to offer $5000 "that she can invest in her business as our way of recognizing her and (her family) for their quick thinking."
"Every time we see a simple but extraordinary act like this, we are amazed by how our partners positively impact their communities," Grubhub said in a statement. "However they decide to use the money, we hope it helps the restaurant and reminds all of their customers of what amazing people (they) are."
Bermejo said the money will "definitely go to good use."
"For them to call us and thank us was a big enough deal for us," Bermejo said. "We're very grateful to them... because as everybody knows, the pandemic has been tough on everybody."