‘Shooting to scare them’: Queens jeweler-to-the-stars faces hate-crime charges after he turned ‘vigilante,’ following and shooting at two black men in his neighborhood: D.A.
A jeweler-to-the-stars whose store helped inspire the acclaimed movie “Uncut Gems” has been branded by Queens prosecutors as a hate-fueled “vigilante hell-bent” on chasing two black men out of his neighborhood.
Yosef Aranbayev, 41, whom family and neighbors confirm also goes by the name Joe Avianne, raced after the panicked pair in his SUV, firing one shot at them as the frightened men drove away, prosecutors said Monday.
Aranbayev faces attempted murder as a hate crime and other charges for the troubling Saturday night attack.
“I was chasing those guys…We’re chasing them out of our neighborhood,” Aranbayev bragged after cops stopped him, prosecutors said. “I wasn’t shooting to kill them – just shooting to scare them.”
But his neighbors and a relative challenged that account of the incident, insisting Aranbayev was protecting his home from a group of shady men who came knocking Saturday — and noting his Midtown jewelry store was robbed by a heist crew last year.
Aranbayev, driving a black Dodge Durango, bore down on the two men at 7:25 p.m. near at the intersection of 73rd Ave. and Parsons Blvd. in Pomonok, prosecutors allege.
The victims were so rattled that they drove their Chevy Tahoe the wrong way down the street to escape him, nearly striking a police car, authorities said.
The Tahoe driver pulled alongside the police car, said he and his passenger were being followed, pointed at the Durango — and reported someone inside had shot at them.
Meanwhile, Aranbayev cut through a gas station to avoid a traffic light, but to no avail. Cops quickly caught up with him.
“Those guys were in my neighborhood. I’m sorry, officer, I didn’t do nothing wrong. They were scouting my whole neighborhood the whole day,” Aranbayev claimed, according to a criminal complaint.
“I’m chasing them. All of us were chasing them. We’re chasing them out of our neighborhood,” he added, the complaint alleges.
He admitted firing the gun, and said his shot “100% hit their car,” the complaint alleges.
Aranbayev lives in Jamaica Estates, about two miles from the location where he was stopped. Cops found a loaded .357 revolver ditched along the route he was driving. One of the five bullets inside had been fired.
He co-owns Avianne & Co., a store dealing in diamond-encrusted bling with a celebrity clientele that includes Nicki Minaj, Pete Davidson and Justin Bieber, his neighbors confirmed Monday night.
“Hate crime? His wife is black,” said a woman who identified herself as his brother’s wife. “They have four kids and have been together for over 20 years.”
“He’s a jeweler, his clients are black!” she said. “What they’re saying, it’s just nonsense. There were two cars. There was two black guys and there was another car with an Israeli gangster. He didn’t know what they had in that car.”
Last Aug. 25, two sharply-dressed thieves robbed his W. 47th St. store at gunpoint, making off with roughly $4 million in swag. The feds arrested two men, Jaysean Sutton and Pedro Davila, accusing both of pulling off the heist.
“He’s a jeweler to the stars. All his customers are rappers. If he were a racist, he’d be out of business. He is a real gentleman,” said one neighbor, who wouldn’t give his name. “They were outside his house, and in his driveway. He was only protecting his property.”
credit to nydailynews.com