Cabbie: I Was Sure I Would Die

Beating by costumed thugs was no Halloween prank, say police.

By Pei-Sze Cheng
|  Thursday, Nov 12, 2009  |  Updated 8:07 AM EDT
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The video shows the attackers punching and kicking the driver several times. They managed to get away.

The video shows the attackers punching and kicking the driver several times. They managed to get away.

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Victim of Halloween Attack Speaks to News 4 New York

Pei Sze Cheng
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Ghosts and ghouls weren’t the only thing NYC taxi driver Ndiaye Serigne had to look out for this past Halloween. 

The 48-year-old Senegal native picked up  men who were wearing costumes on Third Avenue and 23rd Street this past Halloween night.  It was four in the morning and they wanted to go to Staten Island.

When they crossed the Verrazano Bridge, Serigne said the man in the passenger seat turned off the cab’s meter and allegedly told him, “Now our ride’s free.”  Serigne says the passenger then tried to take money out of his pockets.  That’s when Serigne pulled the cab into a Mobil Gas Station at 863 Arthur Kill Road.

"I asked the guy inside, the attendant, please call the police,” said Serigne.  “I picked up the wrong guy, he's a criminal."

But the attendant, who was too scared, did not open the door.  What happened next was captured on the gas station’s security video.  Four men, two dressed up like the Mario Brothers, Mario and Luigi, and the other two in unidentified costumes pounded Serigne.  The thugs are caught on camera punching and kicking the helpless driver, who at one point, throws up his hands around his face to brace himself from the pain.  Even after taking more than two-hundred dollars from the driver, they continued to beat him.

“I'm sure I was going to die that night because the guy inside is scared to come out and nobody came out to help me."

Serigne was also scared he would share the same fate as other cab drivers he knew.  He says at least two of his neighbors who also drove cabs for a living were killed while on the job. 

“I pulled into a gas station,” Serigne said. “Because if I die, someone would find me.”

Police hope that someone will recognize the suspects in the video.  If you have any information you are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

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