NYC drugstore shelves empty amid shoplifting boom

Thanks to a citywide shoplifting tsunami, bare necessities are now a rare luxury on drugstore shelves in New York City.

“It looks like a third world,” mourned a Manhattan resident after glancing down the aisles of a CVS on Sixth Avenue in Soho, including toothpaste, face wash, and hand sanitizer, among a long list of other items. expressed.

“They’ve all been stolen,” a CVS employee told The Post.

The state’s bail reform laws make shoplifting a promising career option for some of New York City’s gangsters. A 22-year-old from Queens, Isaac Rodriguez, was arrested for shoplifting 46 times this year alone, The Post exclusively reported last week.

New York City’s top cop Dermot Shea said the blame goes straight to the halls of power in Albany.

“Madness,” Commissioner of Police tweeted In response to a report from The Post last week. “There is no other way to describe the resulting crime that has come out of the disastrous bail reform law.”

Ninth Precinct police officers stand guard inside Duane Reade on Avenue B and East 2nd St., where some items are kept locked.
Ninth Precinct police officers stand guard inside Duane Reade on Avenue B and East 2nd St., where some items are kept locked.Helen Seidman

Serial shopkeepers, even if arrested, are usually freed the same day. They are often not prosecuted. Drug stores, full of small necessities aisles, provide an easy-to-cook gold mine for thieves.

Rodriguez reportedly stole 37 bars from a Walgreens store, picking up everything from protein drinks to soap, baby formula and body lotion, often filling a bag with the stuff and walking out the front door without paying.

NYPD sources say 77 other burglars are currently roaming the streets of New York with 20 or more shoplifting charges.

As of 12 September, the city has registered 26,385 complaints of retail theft – the highest ever (going back to 1995). This is an increase of 32 percent from last year (20,024) and 38 percent from 2014 (19,166).

Post reporters visited a dozen CVS, Duane Reade/Walgreens and Rite Aid stores in the city and found the same shocking condition in all of them.

Large clumps of barren shelves, in some cases horrifyingly empty of almost every imaginable need: cereal, batteries, hand wash, diapers, paper goods, and baby formula.

Good luck finding tampons. Each post visit showed almost none on the shelves. Displays of relative luxuries like lipstick and shoe polish also looked neglected.

Only 12 of the 57 paper goods listed on the price display at CVS on 50th Avenue in Long Island City were in stock. About 8 to 10 clothing detergents were missing from the shelves of a Rite Aid on Broadway in Astoria; As were all 27 varieties of Sure Nutrition drinks and all 15 types of Irish Spring soaps and body washes.

empty cvs stack
The state’s bail reform laws make shoplifting a promising career option for some of New York City’s gangsters.Helen Seidman

Two police guards stood inside Duane Reade’s door at the corner of Avenue B and East Second Street on the Lower East Side this week.

“There has been a lot of theft here,” said one of the officers, who said he did guard duty in the store portion of his neighborhood patrol effort.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that retailers are the target of a $45 billion organized crime burglary spree, in which picked up merchandise is often sold on Amazon.

“Reported thefts (in CVS) have increased by 30% since the pandemic began,” the WSJ report said.

Disruptions in global supply chains have led to shortages at drug stores and other retailers across the country.

“Product supply challenges are currently affecting most of the retail industry,” CVS spokesman Matthew Blanchett told The Post. “We are continuing to work with our vendors to resolve this issue and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to our customers.”

Retailers in New York and across the country, meanwhile, struggle to find people to re-stock those shelves; While trucking companies report difficulty finding drivers to make much-needed deliveries.

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