Customers attacked at Beverly Mr. Submarine

May 6, 2011 (CHICAGO)

It happened at the Mr. Submarine restaurant in the city's Beverly neighborhood on the South Side.

A man and his girlfriend were approached by thieves in the drive-thru lane. That's when the restaurant's employees jumped in to help defend the couple.

Ernesto Romero worked the window at Mr. Submarine Friday night, just as he has for the last eight years. He and his brother Agustin enjoy working the late night shift, but occasionally that means they run into troublemakers who have been drinking.

That's what they say happened early Sunday morning when surveillance cameras captured pictures of three men attacking two customers at the drive-up window. Ernesto grabbed one of them through the window while his brother ran outside to help with the other two.

"I knew something was not right, so I just go and see, and one of them was punching the lady," said Agustin Romero.

"It was scary, I don't know why they have to do that to me," said Ernesto Romero.

Mark Ziolek, meanwhile, says he was trying to defend himself and his girlfriend from the random attackers. He was fighting a losing battle until the Romero brothers helped chase them away.

"I did the best I could fending them off of me," said Ziolek. "Had it not been for the two gentlemen at Mr. Submarine, you know, I could have really suffered worse injuries."

Police arrived shortly after the attackers fled, but officers arrested the three men: Conor Heffernan, 24, William Butler, 20, and Robert Heffernan, 20. All three men are charged with misdemeanor battery and criminal damage to property.

Ziolek has a black eye but says he looked worse a few days ago.

"I look in the mirror now and I get smiley, because at one point my head was severely swollen. Both my eyes were black and blue. The center of my nose was swollen. I mean, I took some pretty serious blows," said Ziolek.

While some are calling them heroes, as far as the Romero brothers are concerned it was no big deal. They saw trouble and stepped up to help.

"I just do like anybody else do for the guy. He needs help, we help him," said Agustin Romero.

Ziolek says he has been in touch with 19th Ward Alderman Ginger Rugai's office and she is planning on honoring those two employees with a certificate of gratitude signed by the entire City Council.

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