Anyone who has ever done a major renovation has their contractor from hell story. Eric Hall’s may very well be the strangest.
On Wednesday, September 5th, Hall opened his freshly renovated Red Star Bar, just in time for the NFL opener between the Giants and Cowboys. The $200,000 improvements to the space included a massive overhaul of the venue’s audio, video and lighting equipment by Daryl Kral of DK/AV. As Hall was opening his doors to a long line of hungry, thirsty football fans, he discovered that “the system was barely functional.” Only one of 12 DirecTV boxes had been installed, half the sound system wasn’t working, the downstairs lighting system wasn’t fully functional and the lighting upstairs hadn’t been installed at all.
To make matters worse, Kral, who had been paid in full, did not return Hall’s calls, forcing the bar owner to hire another company, Foundation Audio, to get the systems up and running. Your standard bad contractor story? Not exactly.
At around 6:00PM on Friday, September 7th, while preparing for their bi-monthly Pirate Party comedy show, Hall and partner James DiBella discovered several high end pieces of electrical equipment were missing from the bar. A review of Red Star’s security cameras showed that Kral broke into the bar early that morning and grabbed nearly $20,000 worth of equipment, including $12,000 worth of items for which he had invoiced Red Star.
Hall reported the robbery to the 94th Precinct, and with their help lured Scarsdale resident Kral back to Brooklyn and within New York City limits with the promise of a large bonus if he could finish the installation before the weekend’s games. When he arrived for work on Saturday morning, the cops grabbed him and a search of his van turned up nearly all the missing property.
“The cops from the 94th were awesome!” said Hall. “From the cops who took the report to the detectives and anti-crime cops who made the arrest. I still have to pay someone to finish the job, but thanks to the guys at the 94th, I have all my equipment back. Sucks to have to pay for a job I’ve already paid for, but it could have been worse.”
For Kral, it will be. The alleged thief is facing felony charges for 3rd Degree Grand Larceny, 4th Degree Criminal Trespass, 3rd Degree Burglary and 2nd Degree Criminal Mischief, as well as several other charges.
Luckily for Red Star and the legions of football fans that call the bar “home” on Sunday afternoons, Foundation Audio managed to get the entire system up and running and no one missed a single play.