Sayville leaders, residents call for return of foot patrol officer following assault of cinema employee
An employee of Sayville Cinemas was assaulted Saturday, sparking calls for more patrols in the area.
According to Sayville Cinemas' Facebook page, Donald Ahlers Jr., 55, tried to choke a female employee around 10 p.m. outside of the theater at 103 Railroad Ave. A 16-year-old employee tried to intervene.
Ahlers Jr. allegedly attacked the teenager, punching him in the head and gouging his eye.
Community leaders tell News 12 that many businesses no longer feel safe in the town.
Over 2,000 residents have signed a petition calling for a designated foot patrol officer be brought back to help patrol the streets.
"Suffolk County police have been coming down at the time when some robberies have been taking place and shining the lights," says Tricia Tom, owner of Kay Cameron Jewelers. "But we really need the beat cop back."
The beat officer retired in 2020 and was not replaced with someone who took on his exact duties.
"We were told by Suffolk County there is no funding to get that officer back," says Sayville Chamber President Eileen Tyznar. "The 5th Precinct has now upped their presence. They are driving around a lot."
The Sayville Chamber of Commerce has been working with the 5th Precinct and says they are doing a great job, but that they want the foot patrol officer's role filled again.
Residents of the area say they want to protect their town.
News 12 reached out to Suffolk County to find out what happened to the funding for the foot patrol officer. No response was given by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
News 12 is told the employee of the movie theater and the person who intervened sustained injuries that were not life-threatening.
Ahlers Jr., of East Islip, was arrested Wednesday. He is charged with assault in the 3rd degree, criminal obstruction of breathing and endangering the welfare of a child.
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