Wild video shows Walgreens security guard getting hit by shoplifter — and HE’S the one arrested
An armed security guard at a Walgreens in the Port Authority Bus Terminal says he was wrongfully arrested after he jumped in to stop a shoplifter — who allegedly clocked him in the head with a jar of food.
Retired NYPD officer Salvatore Lopiccolo, 50, intends to sue the Port Authority Police Department over the March incident that left him facing charges including assault, for allegedly threatening and “recklessly” causing injury to the accused thief’s back, according to court documents.
Cellphone footage provided to The Post shows Lopiccolo confronting the man at the store’s door and grabbing his bag. The alleged shoplifter swings the tote at the guard, cracking him in the face with it, the footage shows.
Lopiccolo then chased the alleged violent crook out of the store, throwing him to the ground and wrestling him until NYPD and Port Authority cops arrived.
In a notice of claim alleging retaliation and unjust arrest, Lopiccolo — who retired from the NYPD in 2022 after 20 years on the job — said he was locked in a cell for more than seven hours and hit with charges because he told cops he wanted his attacker to get mental health treatment, and didn’t think it was worth having him prosecuted.
“I don’t want to waste Port Authorities’ time, mine, Walgreens and the courts for somebody who’s going to get out of jail in a couple of hours or possibly a day and come back into the store and do the same thing,” Lopiccolo explained to The Post in an interview. “I think this guy needs services.”
Lopiccolo, who works at Walgreens under a contract with Allied Security, said a man known to be a regular shoplifter at the store came in around 3 p.m. on March 30 and filled a bag with snacks, according to the notice of claim filed Friday.
Lopiccolo escorted the sticky-fingered man out of the store, allowing him to keep the food as long he didn’t return, the court document claims.
But the alleged thief came back two hours later and tried to make off with another bag of food, according to the filing. That’s when Lopiccolo stopped him at the door, sparking the caught-on-video altercation.
The former cop — who had his glasses broken and a welt on above one of his eyes — told cops he didn’t want to press charges, the court doc states.
But the PAPD sergeant on the case wasn’t having it, telling the guard he “has to prosecute,” Lopiccolo claimed.
Lopiccolo was then locked up for nearly the rest of his shift, as PAPD determined how to move forward — before deciding to slap both men with assault charges, according to the filing.
“You’re charging us both the same thing here?” an irate Lopiccolo recalled telling the sergeant once he’d learned he would be charged. “I tackled somebody. I have visible injuries. Look at my face.”
“He [the sergeant ] goes, ‘His back hurts,’” referring to the alleged thief, Lopiccolo told The Post. “I didn’t know what to say to that. So they processed me, they fingerprinted me. All the Port Authority cops are apologizing to me … they couldn’t believe it.”
Lopiccolo was hit with two counts of assault and one count each of attempted assault and harassment, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He was given a desk appearance ticket and released on his own recognizance during his first court appearance.
It’s unclear what the alleged shoplifter was charged with, if at all.
Lopiccolo said he hopes his own case will be dropped, but until then he’s unable to work after having to surrender his firearm.
“What this sergeant did is incompetence,” the former cop said. “He humiliated me he took away my ability to live.”
His civil attorney, John Scola, said the PAPD’s decision to charge Lopiccolo after being assaulted sends a “clear message that violent criminals will be treated better than those who protect innocent workers from daily violence.”
“My client, a retired NYPD officer, is the only defense between violent, emotionally disturbed shoplifters and the employees of Walgreens,” Scola said.
A spokesperson for the PAPD said the agency does not comment on litigation.