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Police: Suspect Who Punched, Choked Queens Laundromat Worker Arrested

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A laundromat employee was attacked on the job last week in Queens, and now police say they have arrested the man responsible.

It happened around 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 7 at Family Laundry on Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven.

Police said the suspect approached the 50-year-old woman, punched her in the face, dragged her into a bathroom and choked her until she lost consciousness.

Suspect Dontae Bennett allegedly stole a cellphone from the counter and took off, police said. Tuesday night, the NYPD tweeted out that the suspect seen on surveillance cameras had been taken into custody.

He was arrested around 10 p.m. Tuesday. The 21-year-old has been charged with robbery, criminal obstruction of breathing, unlawful imprisonment, assault, and trespass.

The victim was taken to the hospital and treated for pain and bruising to her neck and face.

The woman, who is originally from China, is already back on the job. She told CBS2's Natalie Duddridge she doesn't want to speak about the incident but is OK.

"I feel so bad for her because she's a nice, quiet lady. They don't bother nobody and they're hardworking people," said neighbor Therese Mendoza. Mendoza works at a restaurant next door and has lived in the neighborhood for 17 years. She told Duddridge that after this attack she's changing her routine.

"I work in the morning and this happened in the morning, so now my son is driving me here," she said. "Just be aware."

For William Adjei, this incident hits too close to home.

"I actually got robbed in September of last year," Adjei said. That happened on 85th Street, a block away from the attack on the laundromat worker.

"There's a lot going on over here in this community, and we know we have cameras and everything, but we still need to see the presence of the police around," he said.

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