Arrest Made in Attack of NYC's Famed Ray's Candy Store Owner

Ray Alvarez, owner of Ray

Ray Alvarez, owner of Ray’s Candy Store in New York City’s East Village was attacked on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, and a suspect was arrested. (Screenshot from video from CBS New York)

An arrest has been made in a senseless attack on the beloved 90-year-old owner of New York City’s legendary Ray’s Candy Store where “everything is made with love.”

Luis Peroza, 39, was arrested in connection with the attack on Ramon “Ray” Alvarez, the owner of the famed East Village shop, police said.

Alvarez was attacked Tuesday at 3 a.m., according to a New York Police Department bulletin. The assailant approached Alvarez in front of the store on 113 Avenue A and struck him on the head with what police described as a belt with a heavy rock on the end.

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Alvarez suffered bruises to his eyes and returned to work. Alvarez told CBS New York the drama happened when a man offered to sell him a soda for $2. He was attacked when he said he politely refused.

“He told the guy, his friend, ‘Hold this package, I’m going to kill this bastard,’” Alvarez said. “They swing and hit my head.”

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The candy store, in the news in November when a GoFundMe was posted to raise money for the struggling shop, is a legendary New York institution.

“He’s very friendly,” East Village resident Steve Woods told the news station. “This keeps him alive, this store.”

Chris Flash told CBS that if the attack had happened at another time when all of Ray’s friends and admirers had been there, “It would have been a very different story for the perpetrator,” he said, punching a fist into the hand.

Alvarez, a U.S. citizen who came from Iran in the 1960s, turned 90 in January and has worked the counter for 50 years, selling New York City’s “best fries, shakes, egg creams, and more” seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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People from all walks of life, including Kim Kardashian, the late Anthony Bourdain, and Bruce Willis, have visited the shop, the GoFundMe page said.

“Proprietor ‘Ray’ has helmed the counter for nearly 50 years, conducting a sort of nightly junk food symphony, satisfying customers and making people smile with every ice cream cone or a heaping pile of golden, delicious Belgian fries he prepares,” the GoFundMe page said. “To know Ray is to love him. He truly is one of the great New Yorkers. Few people in this world can say that just about all they’ve ever done in life is make other people happy. Ray can. It’s been his gift to us for nearly five decades.”

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