Getting busted on petty larceny charges no longer serves as a deterrent to stealing from supermarkets, fumed Dominick Albergo, who’s in charge of security for the Gristedes grocery chain.
“We had one shoplifter arrested three times in one day and he kept returning to the store. They were all desk appearance tickets,” said Albergo, an ex-NYPD cop.
Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis — who last year offered a $10,000 reward after one of his stores was robbed at gunpoint — also said there was “a difference between professional thieves who are ruining the city and someone stealing a loaf of bread because he’s hungry.”
“Bail reform for someone stealing a loaf of bread? Yes. For professional thieves? No!” he said.
A co-owner of the Morton Williams supermarket chain said it spent an extra $1 million last year to hire off-duty NYPD cops to work security and blamed “ultra-liberal prosecution” for creating a sense of “theft entitlement.”
The situation has gotten so out of hand that even everyday shoppers are even getting in on the action, Avi Kaner said.
“We recently stopped a senior citizen with a Louis Vuitton bag stealing expensive cheeses,” Kaner lamented.
Jason Ferreira, the president of three Foodtown supermarkets in Queens, said, “The response from law enforcement has been very inefficient — almost nonexistent — because it just seems there’s a lax attitude toward people shoplifting.”
“There definitely needs to be a collaboration between Albany and the city,” Ferreira said. “We’ve spoken to the mayor. He said his hands are tied and Albany is not hearing him,” Ferreira said.
In a statement, City Hall said that Mayor Eric Adams’ administration “remains steadfast in its commitment to tackle this issue, in partnership with our business community, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, courts and lawmakers.”
“That is why the mayor hosted a retail theft summit last month at Gracie Mansion to craft a citywide strategic prevention plan to deter retail theft. We look forward to releasing our recommendations soon,” the statement added.