The distance between the offices of onetime financial giant Bear Stearns and the cash register at the Metro PCS store on Myrtle Avenue isn't one just measured in miles.
It's also judged in terms of physical risk—a fact driven home last week for one former financial industry worker-turned-Metro PCS employee.
"Anytime you deal with cash in a register, it's dangerous," said the employee, Eddie, whose last name is being withheld for safety reasons. "On Wall Street, you are dealing with paper. And there's no question that paper is safer."
Working in computer info technologies, Eddie became one of the first victims of the financial collapse when Bear Stearns—once one of the largest trading firms on Wall Street—became an early casualty of the subprime mortgage crisis in September 2008.
But it was on Friday that the new, much more dangerous nature of his present position became crystal clear when two men entered his store at 516 Myrtle Ave. at around 1:15 p.m.
After looking at several phones in the front of the store, according to police, one of the two men pulled a gun on Eddie and said, "Everything is going to be fine."
The men then led Eddie into a back room, tied him up and made their getaway with eight cellphones and an unknown amount of cash, police said.
"As long as you stay calm, there are no problems," Eddie said of his ordeal. "They got what they wanted and then they left. That's it."
Asked about whether he would ever return to Wall Street, a place where lawbreakers are perhaps more likely to be armed with accountants than firearms, Eddie gave an emphatic, "No."
"Too much red tape," he said.