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Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg to fight shoplifting surge by going after repeat offenders: biz group

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is rolling out a plan to cut shoplifting and smash-and-go robberies, the president of a top business group said Sunday.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office — which has faced blowback over Bragg’s progressive prosecution policies — will now focus on targeting repeat offenders, Kathy Wylde, president of Partnership for New York City, said on Cats Roundtable on WABC 770 AM.

“It is a plan to reduce retail theft In Manhattan: Shoplifting and smash-and-go robberies. Something we very much need!” Wylde told host John Catsimatidis.

“They’re going to be focusing on a much closer working relationship with the NYPD to aggressively identify those folks who have high rates of recidivism,” she continued, “you know, it’s a relatively small number of relatively well-organized people who are committing most of these robberies that have so much increased in the recent years.”

Partnership for NYC — a non-profit that reps more than 300 business leaders — has worked with Bragg and small business owners on a plan to combat shoplifting since January, Wylde said.

The DA’s office has previously come under fire for not requesting bail for some repeat shoplifting suspects.

Kathryn Wylde said the DA’s office will now focus on targeting repeat offenders.
Wes Bruer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Part of Bragg’s plan includes “focused deterrence,” Wylde said, explaining that pre-trial detention will be requested for accused thieves who have prior felony convictions, multiple open cases and a history of skipping out on court dates.

With the help of retailers, Wylde said Bragg’s prosecutors will also work to aggregate numerous misdemeanors charges to become a felony.

She called on merchants to keep records, with the help of security cameras, to keep track of offenders and how much they are swiping.

When asked if someone like a serial shoplifter who has been arrested more than 100 times would be locked up, Wylde replied, “That’s right.”

Three individuals entered the location an forcibly removed $6,500.00 worth of electronics from a display case before fleeing the location.
Three individuals entered a T Mobile in March and forcibly removed $6,500 worth of electronics from a display case before fleeing the location.

“That instead of to get to a felony it’s been if you took less than $1,000 worth of goods, it was still not a felony. Now, if the store keeper is able to keep the records and have the camera shots, [the district attorney] will be able to aggregate repeat offenses,” Wylde explained. “So, somebody who thought they were being cute by stealing $999 worth of goods will now be in a position where they’re going to go to jail.”

Manhattan prosecutors are also targeting fencing operations, Wylde said, noting one case pursued by the New York Attorney General’s Office where a 47th Street pawn shop owner raked in stolen good purchased for pennies on a dollar and then resold at a higher price.

“So that’s the kind of thing [the district attorney’s office] is going to be breaking up,” she said.

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