Boardwalk merchant’s death during robbery sparks protest in Atlantic City

An Atlantic City Boardwalk business owner’s death during a robbery was met by protests over safety concerns that have allegedly been ignored.
Mahmood Ansari’s death is under investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
A 12-year-old boy allegedly brandished a knife at the 66-year-old man, who collapsed at the scene and was not breathing when police arrived, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said.
A bystander initiated CPR, which was taken over by Officer Joseph Kelly and then medical personnel.
Video obtained by BreakingAC shows a commotion among a large group of people on the Boardwalk at Kentucky Avenue, after the man was taken in an ambulance.
A 14-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy were arrested and taken away in handcuffs.
The investigation continues in an attempt to identify the other juveniles that were involved in this incident, Tyner said.
The boy was taken to Harborfields Juvenile Detention Center, and was released Friday, following a detention hearing in Family Court, sources told BreakingAC.
He is charged with two counts of robbery, simple assault, shoplifting, terroristic threats, conspiracy and weapons offenses.
There are no charges connected to Ansari’s death at this time.
“There is an active investigation into the circumstances of the death of Mr. Ansari and his autopsy results are pending,” Tyner said. “We should look to support one another as we prepare to welcome visitors to our region for the spring and summer tourism season.”
The girl is charged with robbery, simple assault, shoplifting and conspiracy. She was released to the custody of a parent with a future court date.
Amer Kashmiri, head of the Atlantic City Merchants Association, said the death comes after Boardwalk store owners have made constant complaints about juveniles looting stores.
“They’re coming in stores and grabbing stuff,” Kashmiri said. “By the time we approach them, they’ve already left.”
He led a protest on the Boardwalk in front of Ansari’s store, in the spot where the man collapsed in front of his sons.
“He was trying to protect his family,” said Habib Rehman, who said Ansari was like a father to him.
Business owners said police have been called, and made aware of the issues, but that nothing has been done.
Many of those gathered said that they are told police are limited when dealing with juveniles.
“The Atlantic City Police Department is aware of the concerns and complaints from the business community, regarding juveniles,” said Interim Officer in Charge James Sarkos.  “As the weather turns warmer, the Atlantic City Police Department will work and coordinate with businesses along our famous Boardwalk and retail areas.  We are working closely with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office on this investigation.”
He said that nine new full-time officers will be joining the force, along with 15 Class II officers.

Two juveniles are seen on a bench in handcuffs after the incident. (Photo by Mike Krawitz)