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NYC officer finds glass in his burger; McDonald's worker arrested

Also, read this PoliceOne exclusive report: Dining Out More Safely

The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. (AP) -- A teenage McDonald's worker was arrested for assault after allegedly hiding bits of glass in a burger served to a police officer, authorities said Sunday.

The officer, who is assigned to the canine unit, suffered cuts to his throat and mouth while eating a Big Mac he bought from the McDonald's on Garrison Avenue in the Bronx late Saturday. He was treated at a hospital and released.

An investigation led police to Albert Garcia Jr., an 18-year-old Bronx man who works at the restaurant, according to Sgt. Mary Christine Doherty, a police department spokeswoman.

Police said they were charging Garcia with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon. He was not immediately available for comment.

Juan Rodriguez, the owner and operator of the Hunts Point franchise, said in a statement that the restaurant was cooperating with authorities.

"The safety of my customers and my crew is top priority and I take this matter very seriously," he said.

Dining Out More Safely
by PoliceOne Contributing Editor Scott Buhrmaster

In light of yet another report of an officer being targeted for attack while eating, consider these tips for keeping yourself safe in a public eatery, particularly while in uniform:

-- Take a close look at your food before digging in. Lift the bun, stir the soup, poke around the salad, etc. while watching for foreign objects or substances. Also consider smelling your food before taking your first bite. Last month an officer was seriously injured after biting into a burrito laced with cleaning solution. Taking a whiff before eating might help sniff out a silent but effective attack.

-- Avoid sitting with your back to the door and if possible, sit where you can get a clear view of the entire restaurant. Just as a kitchen, filled with knives, forks, glassware and heavy metal objects, can be one of the most dangerous places in a home, so it is with restaurants. If someone is looking to target an officer, a restaurant setting can present a golden opportunity. Don't be caught with your back to an attack.

-- If you're in an unfamiliar place, make sure to take inventory of your surroundings. Where's the nearest exit? How many routes in and out are there? Where would you take cover if an attack were to occur?

-- Consider different restaurant settings and practice for defending yourself within them. These questions may help:

  1. Can you get out of a chair quickly and immediately engage a subject?
  2. Have you practiced drawing from a seated position?
  3. How would you keep yourself from being cornered in a booth should an attack occur?
  4. Could you quickly use a table as a barrier between you and an attacker?
  5. Have you and your partner discussed how you could both get away from your table or out of your booth without bumping into each other or otherwise tangling?

-- Remember that some of the things in a restaurant that can be used against you, like knives, forks, and heavy plates, can also be used to protect yourself in worst-case-scenario situations.

-- Although tactical awareness is a must in a restaurant, as it is in ANY setting, do allow yourself to relax while eating. In addition to helping you avoid destructive digestive issues, relaxing while you eat lunch or dinner also provides you with an important mental break.

Related Story:
Protecting Yourself and Your Family From Retaliation

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