NYC retail workers tell tales of city’s soaring shoplifting

NYC retail workers tell tales of city’s soaring shoplifting

Posted For: Willie Wonka

By Jack Morphet

New York City retail workers told the Post that they are fed up with the brazen shoplifters who hit their stores and are scared to step in — as complaints for store thefts soar to record levels.

A 30-year-old security guard at a Manhattan Nike store told The Post Friday that at least one person per day tries to make off with some goods.

“At least four days each week someone walks out with stolen goods,” said Rell Emejuru.

“This is an expensive store,” he said of the shop at the corner of East 67th Street and Third Avenue. “For the most part, they’re taking anywhere from $700 to $1000 worth of items each time.”

“They often come in the morning and scope the store out, then come back in the afternoon when it’s busier. [They] try and blend in, grab something quick and get out of here.”

Emejuru said the employees’ goal is to not provoke violence and just make sure no one gets hurt.

“We have insurance and my first priority is the safety of the workers,” Emejuru said.

“I go up to them and say ‘can I help with your items’ and if they tell us no, the best we can do is watch them walk out with it. You never know if these guys have knives.

‘As bad as Dinkins’ era,’ a Manhattan party supplies store owner says


 Louis Weissbart poses in his store Modern State
Shoplifting continues to run unchecked in NYC and stores like the Modern State party supply store on 3rd Ave and 72 St get hit daily and owner Louis Weissbart says its’s only getting worse.
Matthew McDermott

Louis Weissbart, the owner of Modern State party supplies store, said his shop gets hit daily by thieves.

“They’re not stealing food or other essentials from me,” he said. “I don’t sell essentials, it’s all discretionary stuff. They steal toys like crazy. They are stealing to make money.

“The last few years have been as bad as the [Mayor David] Dinkins era,” he fumed. “It got bad under [Mayor Bill] de Blasio and it’s not getting better.”

Weissbart said he doesn’t even call the police anymore when someone shoplifts from his store near the corner of East 72nd Street and Third Avenue.

He raged over the NYPD’s inaction and blamed much of the uptick on justice reforms that have created a “revolving door” for criminals. He said he hasn’t seen any change since the mayor’s retail summit last December.

“I tell my staff don’t get hurt, try not to get hurt, which means sometimes you have to let them go,” Weissbart said. “Every once in a while my staff will intervene but they have to be careful.

“One of my managers got knifed when he tried to throw someone out.”

‘Sometimes they bring suitcases,’ a food store cashier says



Cashier Virgina Ribiara poses for a photo.
Food Emporium on 3rd Avenue and E. 69th Street gets hit daily by thieves.
Matthew McDermott

A cashier at a Food Emporium said they get ripped off at least six times a day.

“And those are just the ones we see,” Virginia Ribiara said.

The 57-year-old cashier described thieves that have become more and more brazen over the years.

“We have the professional ones who bring their own bag, fill it up and walk right out the door,” said Ribiara, adding, “You got the other ones who don’t care, grab whatever and walk out.”

“Sometimes they bring suitcases, fill them with beer and leave without paying,” she said. “Anything they can, they will: beer, Tide [detergent], muffins, sushi, meat.”

Ribiara echoed other retail workers’ fears of trying to stop the thieves.

“When we see them, we stop them. But it’s scary to top them. They get mad when they get busted, they curse you out and they want to fight.

“One lady threw a full drink at me.”

The cashier complained that this year shows no signs of getting better.

“Nothing has improved since the Mayor’s summit,” she added.

Cops tell supermarket owner ‘there’s nothing they can do’


Cops arresting a man.
Morton Williams managers says it’s only gotten worse this year.
William Farrington

A general manager of a supermarket on the Upper East Side decried the officers’ inaction if they respond to a shoplifting call.

“The crazy thing is we call the cops and they come but all they do is tell the criminals ‘give the stuff back and don’t come back here,’” 28-year-old Julio Mato said.

“I have asked the cops to arrest the shoplifters but they won’t,” said Mato, adding. “They say there’s nothing they can do.”

“Calling the cops or not calling the cops, it’s the same thing.”

Mato said his Morton Williams is hit daily with thieves snatching various items, including Tide, aerosols like Febreze, beer and protein shakes.

“They steal meat — they go for expensive stuff like filet mignon and ribeye, not the cheap stuff,” he said.

Mato railed that the shoplifters know the law and will be back on the street in just a few hours even if the cops decide to arrest them.

And he’s not hopeful for this year.

“It’s getting worse, not better,” he said.

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