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A 24-year-old woman has been rescued after using a food delivery app to send a message saying she had been taken hostage.
The woman's urgent message was received by staff members at the Chipper Truck Café on McLean Avenue in Yonkers, New York, at 5am on a Sunday morning.
The order of a breakfast sandwich and a burger was not unusual for the employees at the 24-hour restaurant, but it was the note written under the 'additional instructions' that caught their attention.
Alice Bermejo, who owns the Chipper Truck Café with her husband, said the hastily written note asked the restaurant to bring police officers along with the delivery of the food.
A worker who read the message called Alice's husband to ask what they should do, to which he responded: "Call the police, can't take any risks, better be safe than sorry", ABC 7 News reports.
Police arrived at the address in the Eastchester area of the Bronx, where they were met by a 32-year-old man who opened the door believing the woman's food had arrived.
The suspect was identified as Kemoy Royal, who had met the woman online months earlier. Things turned violent when they met in person, and Royal wouldn't let the woman have her phone apart from to order food.
Authorities say Royal was holding the 24-year-old against her will and sexually assaulting her. Her rescue came thanks to the order on the app Grubhub, with staff at the Chipper Truck Café being made aware of their role when they got a call fro the woman's friend.
Alice's daughter, Alicia, said: "They called to thank us and just to be like, 'thank you so much for helping my friend and just, you know making sure that she was fine'. We really had no idea of the gravity of the situation until after everything had happened."
In the wake of the incident, the Bermejo family said they were grateful to the staff member who called the police and gave credit to the 24-year-old for her quick thinking.
Alicia commented: "Just knowing that like, we were there, and that being open 24 hours allowed her to have a way to get help."
Royal was hit with a number of charges including rape, unlawful imprisonment, strangulation, criminal sex act and sexual abuse, among other counts.
The 32-year-old has now also been charged in the attempted sexual assault of another young woman days before the 24-year-old was rescued, when a 26-year-old victim was able to escape from his home.
It is unclear why Royal wasn't arrested immediately for the first incident, instead being charged in both cases at the same time.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact The Survivor’s Trust for free on 08088 010 818, or through their website thesurvivorstrust.org
Featured Image Credit: News 12 Westchester/Shutterstock
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