NYC Groceries Form Political Group to Fight Shoplifting

By Matis Glenn

A bodega in Midwood. (googlemaps)

New York City grocery store owners, fed up with shoplifting, are organizing a political movement to change the way the city deals with food thefts, reports the New York Post.

Collective Action to Protext our Stores, or CAPS, currently represents nearly 4,000 establishments, the majority of which are small bodegas, with hundreds of larger supermarkets as well.

The group is asking the city to amend the controversial 2019 bail reform law, which eliminated cash bail without a clause for judges to be able remand due to dangerousness or likelihood of recidivism. They also want to classify assault on a grocery store worker as a class D felony, to be treated the same as livery cab drivers and transit employees.

The group, which includes the 3,000 member Bodega Small Business Group, is lobbying to change the minimum of grand larceny – currently one theft totaling $1,000 – to be cumulative, and not limited to one act of theft.

There were 22,000 shoplifting incidents last year, and police announced last week that nearly a third of them were carried out by the same group of 327 recidivist criminals, with an average of 20 arrests for each.

“Repeat offenders are the key words,” Carlos Collado, owner of two Fine Fare stores in the Bronx and Harlem, told The Post. “We are not asking for elevated charges for first-time offenders, but to send a message to those who make it a career.”

CAPS says that the thieves aren’t stealing to feed their families.

“Ninety-seven percent of the shoplifters do it to sell the stuff,” Francisco Marte, owner of two bodegas in the Bronx and head of the Bodega group told the Post. Very few are “doing it because they are hungry,” Marte added.

“We have been assaulted, terrorized, and our physical and mental health jeopardized,” the group said in a letter being sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams  and other officials on Monday. “A rise in larceny cases has hit independent supermarkets hard.”

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