A career criminal eyed in a slew of burglaries in Brooklyn and Manhattan has been free to maraud city businesses at will thanks to what he called the state’s “great” bail reform laws, The Post has learned.
“I’m grateful for [bail reform] because I’m too old to go to jail, I’m way too old, I can’t do it,” Charles Wold, 58, said in a phone interview Friday.
Wold, a longtime drug addict, is accused of burglarizing seven different businesses in Brooklyn alone, plus another three in Manhattan, in the course of just three months. But each time cops hauled him in, he was released because of the state’s controversial reform laws, court records show.
He told The Post from his mom’s house that freedom “feels good.”
“I’m grateful for [bail reform] because I’m too old to go to jail, I’m way too old, I can’t do it,” Wold, a longtime drug addict, said.
“Rikers Island is not the key, you know what I’m saying? I’ve been in jail all my life, I can do that standing on my head, it’s not teaching me anything, I can get more drugs in there than I can out here,” he said. “Hopefully the DA will see that I did not do all these crimes that they are accusing me of and they will get dismissed.”
Wold, who has 32 prior arrests mostly for burglary and theft dating back to 1983, including 11 from 2021 alone, was arrested on November 24 after cops say he broke into two Manhattan businesses and stole cash registers, according to police sources and court records.
During his arraignment a day later, a judge cut Wold loose because the felony burglary charges weren’t eligible for cash bail and just three days later, he was allegedly back to his old tricks.
Prosecutors say he was caught on surveillance footage on Nov. 28 breaking into the Hipster Deli Grocery in Park Slope and stealing a cash register and over the next nine days, he hit another four businesses, court records show.
“It’s a headache, then the customers come in the next day, we don’t have money, we don’t have machine,” said Hazim Annisafee, the deli’s owner.
Annisafee said he lost between $400 and $600 from the initial burglary and the cost to fix the door and cash register cost him another $1,400.
On Dec. 1, Wold is accused of stealing five electric scooters, a bike and two Macbook Airs from Fridge No More in Gowanus and on Dec. 5, he allegedly broke into Artisan Barber Shop in Park Slope and stole their cash register, court documents say.
“The guy keeps going in and out, I think it’s wrong… They should give him time, leave him more in the jail so he understands more maybe,” said Rron Dulatahu, a barber and manager at the shop.
“We’re frustrated because it could happen again, and it keeps happening in this neighborhood. It’s not safe.”
Wold admitted to The Post that he has committed some burglaries — but not all he’s accused of doing.
“I might’ve did one or two of ‘em but that was in the beginning of the summer,” the career crook claimed. “I didn’t do all of them.”
“Whoever’s doing it has glasses and a bald head and he looks just like me.”
Wold pointed to his struggles with opioid abuse and his many troubles with the law and said he’s trying to get into an inpatient rehab program so he can clean up his life.
“People need to understand what addiction is, I don’t want to do crime, I don’t want to hurt people, I don’t want to steal from people,” Wold said.
“I really feel really, really bad about my situation and some of the people I have hurt… If I did it, I apologize.”
Mark Caserta, the executive director of the Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, told The Post police suspect Wold in a string of recent, unsolved burglaries in former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tony neighborhood.
“We’ve seen many of our businesses are suffering from the Omicron strain and to have someone breaking into storefronts and taking money and breaking property is just an insult during a very difficult time,” said Caserta.
As of Sunday, burglaries have nearly doubled this month compared to last in the 78th precinct, which covers Park Slope, and on Fifth Avenue, commercial burglaries have increased two-fold, police data show.
Shareen Elkenani said her restaurant Sandwich Girl Cafe on 7th Street had only been open for two months when she was burglarized a few days before Christmas.
“It’s literally gotten to a point where you have to catch them red handed for them to get arrested. The burden is on us,” Elkenani told The Post.
“They’re going to keep releasing these people until they fix the criminal reform system,” she said. “The detective told me to be cautious because he’s going to come back again.”