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Mohammed’s $30 hot dog scam near 9/11 ground zero sets off fights

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New Yorkers are fighting mad over a hot dog vendor’s “disgusting” behavior that preys on tourists close to the World Trade Center.

Ahmed Mohammed, a downtown Manhattan food cart vendor, is allegedly charging tourists outrageous prices for his hot dogs, NBC 4 New York reported.

The price of a hot dog and drink in New York City is now the subject of an investigation by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

The vendor, selling near the former site of the World Trade Center, was caught on camera in a report by WNBC charging as much as $30 for a dog and drink.

“I asked for a hot dog and a Dr Pepper. ‘$30.’ I said, ‘You’re joking right?’ ” a New Jersey customer named Ben told WNBC. “He was like ‘$15, maybe $10.’”

The man left in disgust, saying, “I left my bitten hot dog there. That was it.”

According to the report, Mohammed appears to be targeting customers with accents, thinking they are tourists who would not know what the average cost of a food cart item would be.

Witnesses reported seeing fights break out at the stand between the owner and his customers.

WNBC reporter Melissa Russo asked Mohammed about the prices he is charging, but he denied price gouging, saying maybe the customers “don’t speak English.”

Though street vendors are free to charge what they want, the business advocacy group Alliance for Downtown New York says their prices still need to be clearly posted.

“It gives New York a bad name,” said group President Jessica Lappin. “To rip off someone, to charge them $35 for a hot dog and pretzel, that leaves a terrible impression.”

One woman told WNBC “I just felt like I was getting ripped off, and it’s just making the 9/11 grounds like a big tourist trap.”

Frieda Powers

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