How To Help Our Neighbors Affected By The Armed Robbery At Lark Café

Lark Cafe from Facebook

After an armed robber stole laptops and an iPad from writers meeting at Lark Café (1007 Church Avenue) Thursday evening, neighbors have launched a fundraising campaign to help those who lost their computers – which they pointed out the authors depend on for their livelihood.

Kari Browne, Lark’s owner, said on the fundraising page:

Our community has been affected by the robbery at LARK in so many ways. At the end of the day, nine writers had their worlds shaken by the events on Thursday night. And the tangible side of the robbery is that one iPad and three laptops were stolen. This wonderful group of student writers depend entirely on their laptops for their livelihoods- their writing, their teaching, their studies. LARK would love to lead the effort to support these writers and raise funds to help them buy new laptops. Please consider making a donation to show support for this wonderful community and to let them know we value them and what they do.

The writers group, which has long used Lark Café as their creative home, said on the same page:

We are writers, mothers, teachers and artists. The armed robbery at LARK on November 13th shook all of us deeply, although not necessarily in the way it has been portrayed in the media coverage. Many of us are native New Yorkers, so we know crime is part of our city’s fabric. We also know when economic times are hard, crime increases. Times are hard for many of us. This includes the man who robbed us, as well as the writers in the workshop.

For many of the students in the class, the loss of our computers equals the loss not only of a material object, but the loss of an “office” directly tied to our livelihoods. For some of us, it meant the loss of unpublished manuscripts we had been working on for years. For others, it meant the loss of lesson plans, syllabi and photos of our families. The saddest part of course is the loss of a sense of safety in a place that has been our writing home since last Spring.

We have always appreciated Kari’s help in creating a space where we could work. When she mentioned the outpouring of support we were receiving after the robbery, we were so grateful. Our immediate and concrete need is to be able to continue to do the work that sustains us, materially and otherwise. We sincerely appreciate any contributions towards these essential costs.

The fundraising campaign began less than 24 hours ago – and already neighbors have banded together and raised close to $2,000 of the $5,000 goal. If you’d like to help, you can go here.

Photo via Lark Café.

Comment policy


  1. Tell me more about this writers group… Is this a women only group? How can I join? Is this a class or just a crib group? thanks and good luck with he funding.

  2. Yeah, if you have either renters or home-owners insurance, this theft should be covered. Property insurance also covers your stuff when you’re not at home.

  3. Has anyone started a fundraiser for the employees who lost their tips as a result of these robberies?

    And a PSA for the writers: It’s called a cloud drive. Use one.

  4. You can also file a report with the DA’s office and there is a fund to cover victim’s of crime…I think. Or something similar to that. And no offense, for what happened is truly traumatizing, and what you lost that is important (the written word and time) really cannot be replaced by money or a new machine. There is something borderline troubling about raising money for what is really a minimal cost (for most of US) of something easily replaced, when there are people who literally cannot afford a meal. My empathy goes out to your experience but I feel our community money could be better spent and directed. And I understand this will not be favorable on here.

  5. Mainly since every writer will now be incorporating this event into their material, spending far too much time imagining the circumstances which lead to this heinous crime.

  6. My guess is you’re typing your words on a computer, most likely a laptop. Perhaps you could sell it and then donate the proceeds to the needy, along with any spare cash you happen to have on hand? That would be a little less hypocritical than trying to donate OTHER PEOPLE’S laptops.

  7. It’s not about the money. It’s about the support from the community. Most of the donations are around $25 – not exactly high-end philanthropy. But as they say at the holidays, it’s the thought that counts. And why do you think that those contributing don’t also contribute to food banks?

  8. Of course it’s about the money. If they didn’t want money, they wouldn’t ask for it. They could have asked for support through a card and note writing campaign. Or, they would be raising funds to donate to some kind of anti-crime/anti-violence organization. But they’re not: they’re asking for money to replace the luxury good possessions they lost.

  9. Oh please. No one has suggested that it was right to steal the laptops, or that we should go steal more laptops to buy food for the poor. But what Guest has pointed out is just how privileged this fundraising campaign is.

  10. Correct. They’re asking for the money. They aren’t putting a gun to your head and removing the money from your wallet.

  11. Can we play the “You’re more privileged than me” game? I LOVE THAT GAME!!! WHEEEEEEE!!!!!! LOOK OUT….WATCH ME, WATCH ME….WHEEEEE….!!!!

  12. Hi Guest, This is guest who made the original post. Thank you for your words and understanding my point completely. And it should be noted I never said it was OK at all what happened, and I never denied being “privileged” myself. (I actually don’t think I even used that word.) I was using a laptop and I would be very aggravated if it was stolen. I would NEVER ask/or accept community donations to replace it. I would be more traumatized by the gun and violence of the act. And I would seek some support around THAT. I never suggested a 2nd robbery would make asking for money better. I never would. I work in criminal justice and understand all sides, aspects, and dynamics accordingly. I am not Robin Hood but there is something about this I find absurd to be quite frank. $25 donations are a lovely and modest gesture- all agreed. I just find it a bit offensive to even go there in terms of money when there are funds available for this kind of thing AND we can all most likely afford to replace what was lost.

  13. $5k for three laptops and one ipad, wtf!?! You can buy a used laptop for $300 I think? Do you really need a top of the line computer just to type stuff in a word processor?

  14. Yes, exactly. I mean, I spilled water in my laptop last month and had to buy a new one. It sucked big time, and it was a hard hit to my wallet. But I didn’t ask the community to chip in for my replacement even though it was totally my kids’ fault since they’re to blame for the sleep deprivation that led to the accident in the first place.

  15. Exactly the point. Life happens, and it’s pretty gross to go around begging for charity when all you lost was a computer and you’re not living in poverty.

  16. But it’s like you yourself said, the trauma is not losing the laptop, it’s HOW you lost it – at gunpoint, with a threat to your life, in a place you always considered to be safe. Yes, there are funds available from a variety of sources to cover the material loss. But the fact that over 100 people so far contributed, many with as little as $5, says that we understand what a traumatic experience this was, and we support you.

  17. When non gentrifiers are robbed, it business as usual but god forbid if someone were to rob these young white professionals and their idevices, all of a sudden it’s an attack on gentrification. Stop the presses, get the ny times on the phone so they can write down quotes from some in the neighborhood. Ppl say Gentrification is not about race but the comments from “locals” suggest otherwise and plays into the fear tat young black marauding thugs robbing are these young white men and women becuase their rent is too damn high!

    How about you just call this what it is, a robbery. A crime of opportunity. You don’t think these armed robbers will rob a black owned business? Becuase they do, but they don’t get a blog post about it or a ny times reporter.

  18. No, it says that you wasted money helping people who don’t need financial help. It says “screw the employees of the robbed establishments, what *really* matters is that upper class people get their Macbooks back ASAP.” It says you only think in terms of first world problems.

    I am very disappointed.

  19. Cry me a river, punk. If you’re so upset you can start your own gofundme drive to help whomever you think needs it. Have at it! Or perhaps you’d prefer to simply sit around here and whine.

  20. Ugh. A campaign to replace Caleb and Megan’s i-crap devices. A writer in Brooklyn means you’re unemployed by choice.

    I’m not surprised. Brooklyn’s lost. Hey, what happens if these walking pringle chip flannel wearing privileged trust fund kids lose their replaceable i-crap devices AGAIN? Are you guys going to start another gofundme campaign? What, mommy and daddy cut you off?

    I tell what, how about if Lark Cafe use the funds for a freaking security system? You know, the one with HD cameras and a big ass monitor? I’ve seen corner stores in Brownsville with state of the art surveillance systems that would put a lot of these up and coming filmmakers to shame.

  21. I’m not raising money. I don’t have the time for that. I have other obligations and i have a job,unlike these trust fund beardos who spend the whole day typing another shitty novel on their i-crap device because that’s “hip” and “kewl.” No it’s not.

  22. Judging from the amount time you spend here whining and crying your eyes out, you have plenty of time on your hands. Put up or shut up.

  23. So what about a writer’s group that meets at 8:00pm tells you they don’t have jobs? What about owning a laptop means you don’t have a job and can easily afford to replace it? What about “student writers” who are also “mothers, teachers, and artists” implies that they’re kids? Yeah, there are lots of new hipster transplants here — but you don’t seem to have noticed that this area is full of artists and writers of many ages and backgrounds who don’t earn their livings as writers and artists, but who do earn a living.

    Oh, and writing IS a job.

  24. Think they’ll give the extra money to the waitstaff who lost tips? To a charity?

    I bet not. Thank goodness none of these people are my friends. I’d be so embarrassed.

  25. You should feel very bad about our community’s priorities right now. Buying brand new computers for people who could easily afford to replace their own losses? Shameful. Shame, shame, shame on everyone who contributed.

  26. Why would you assume they could easily afford new ones? Shame on you for your prejudice and for trying to make your neighbors feel bad about doing something nice

  27. Look where the “extra” money these greedy little graspers could have given the excess money they collected – or indeed, all the money: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/500-turkeys-for-500-families–501#pledges

    But no, they “underestimated” their original goal (read: got excited about the idea of making a profit/getting a computer even better than the one they lost without having to pay for any of it) so they’re going to keep all the money and give none to anyone in TRUE need.

  28. Did you post the link to CAMBA’s fundraising, assuming I hadn’t donated? Or assuming that if one gave to the fund to replace laptops, one couldn’t also support a food drive. Awfully presumptuous of you, no?

  29. “Self-entitled” isn’t a word. It’s just “entitled,” unless you are somehow granting yourself something to which you feel entitled, but that doesn’t make any sense. I know this because I am a bearded hipster with a trust fund and 5 computer devices, and I don’t have a job but I make art and look up grammar in the coffee shop all day. Please don’t hate me.

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