They’re not going green.
Several small businesses in Harlem are trying to avoid keeping cash on hand and are going virtually cash free in a desperate attempt to deter thieves.
The businesses include a barbershop, a java joint, and the neighborhood’s first and only chocolate shop.
Jessica Spaulding, the owner of Harlem Chocolate Factory, said she was devastated when a thief shattered her front window and stole all the cash from her store and safe.
Since then, she told The Post, she has stopped carrying cash to avoid being victimized again.
“You only got to rob me once,” Spaulding said. “There will be no cash held in Harlem Chocolate Factory.”
She added that the burglar not only stole all the money in her store but also her banana truffles — which added insult to injury.
“It’s like, how much do you want?” said Spaulding, whose shop was hit on May 16. “That pissed me off so much.”
The same night Spaulding’s store was broken into, the nearby NBHD Brulee coffee shop was burglarized by the same bandit who hurled a rock through the front window before stealing the cash register and hundreds of dollars.
Duane Chan-Shue, the owner of the shop which opened in October 2019, said he was going to avoid buying a new cash register, but ultimately reversed course when he learned a city ordinance requires businesses to accept cash.
Chan-Shue said his store was burglarized earlier this year.
“It’s been a pattern because they realize there’s cash in the restaurant drawers,” Chan-Shue said, adding that the nearby Angel of Harlem restaurant recently lost two cash registers to the same thief. “If I had my way, we would be cashless.”
A block away, on the corner of Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and 138th Street, Just For Smiles Barbershop was also hit by the same thief who shattered the door and dragged out the shop’s ATM.
Emmanuel Carracos, the owner of the barbershop, said he will not be replacing the ATM, which he stocked with bills himself before it was stolen, and he is now using other payment methods like Venmo, CashApp, or Zelle in lieu of having customers use the ATM.
“They keep asking and I say, ‘Nah I’m not going to put another one again because I’m scared that something could happen again,'” Carracos said.
Spaulding and Chan-Shue both said they learned from detectives that the burglar is known to police as a repeat offender who got out of jail a month prior to the Harlem break-ins.
Authorities have yet to collar the culprit two weeks after his crime spree, according to the NYPD, which did not identify the serial burglar.
The neighborhood’s 32nd Precinct shows a 52% jump in robberies, a 22% increase in grand larceny, and a 3% bump in burglaries, compared to the same time two years ago, according to NYPD data.
Spaulding has since installed a new security system with the help of a GoFundMe campaign and Chan-Shue said he bought a new metal gate to fortify his storefront.