It was a cool and crisp October evening and I was on my way to get some pizza at a local restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. I had just left 124 Columbia Heights and was walking down the street towards the Towers Hotel when at least two guys jumped me from behind. We fought and I got the short end of the stick although I did drag the guys attacking me for about a block until my pants ripped which made me think the guy had a knife. I gave them all the money I had on me at the time. ($7.00) and the next thing I remember is being assisted up from off the other side of the street by the Bethel doctor. (I cannot remember his name but we used to call him "Fingers" because his hands and fingers were so big and this made a certain part of our annual physical quite uncomfortable.)
They quickly brought me into the infirmary at Bethel and the doctor said that I had a concussion. I think one of the guys had something in his hand as he wailed on my head while we were scuffling down the street. I do remember having a terrible headache that lasted for about three days. The guys on security came into the room once the doctor was done and asked me questions and quickly received word from above that I should report the attack and mugging to the local police. So, a few minutes later some police officers were in the infirmary. They were clearly impressed by the place and had no idea that the JWs had such things in their buildings. They asked me to go to their precinct the next day and look at photos since the neighborhood was being terrorized by these guys and I appeared to me the first one to have gotten a decent look at them.
So, the next day I went to the local precinct and sat there until the detectives had time to deal with me. I looked at pictures after pictures but no one looked familiar at all. I was there for a good 6 hours or so and they asked me to come back the next day to look at more pictures.
When I got back to Bethel, there was note that I was to report to Ralph Walls' office at 360 Furman. I worked in the Paint and Scaffold crew and Ralph was the bldg overseer at the 360 Furman and a member of the Factory Committee I believe. I went over there and spoke with Ralph and there was another guy there whose name escapes me. I think the other guy was my Overseer's Overseer.
In any case, Ralph's message to me was that they were concerned that it was a gang that was targeting the Bethelites and others in the neighborhood. Evidently, a sister had had her purse snatched a few days before I was mugged. He told me that he "was not telling me what to do" but that he was concerned that if this gang found out that a Bethelite could identify them then the Society's properties might get targeted and that they could not guarantee my safety. We spoke for a while but it was soon made clear to me, that if i did not drop the whole looking at pictures to see if I could ID the culprits thing, that my life at Bethel would be made difficult. (And, believe me, by this time I was not about to do anything that would make my Bethel experience anymore irritating as it was irritating enough by then.) So, I never went back to the police precinct to look at pictures.
What did ultimately happen after this, however, was that Bethel started their own bus service between the Factory, 360 Furman, and the Squibb Bldg for those who worked late in the evenings.
Not long after this, a friend of mine from home came to visit Bethel and went on the tour. He said, that he found the tour interesting but very troubling because he could see that Bethel seems to place more emphasis on their properties (such as the presses, bldgs, etc) than on their people. It was at this point that I really started having issues with things...........This JW from home had no idea how true that was.