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NYPD’s 104th Precinct arrests ‘chronic shoplifter’ inside of Middle Village CVS

Jul. 25, 2023 By Anthony Medina

A collaborative effort between the 104th Precinct and CVS on Metropolitan Avenue led to the arrest of a shoplifter who had targeted the store multiple times, according to authorities. 

Pedro Rivera, 44, was arrested inside the CVS on 79-60 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village on Thursday, July 20, for allegedly stealing three sunscreen items, police said. 

Officers arrested Rivera, a Brooklyn resident, at approximately 5:52 p.m., police said, adding that he was charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

According to a CVS employee, who wished not to be identified, these incidents are nothing new to the store. The employee told QNS this wasn’t the first time the store was robbed in recent months and on one occasion, they were attacked by one of the robbers, who managed to land a hit on them.

“Every day they try to steal,” the CVS worker said. 

Retail store theft remains a growing problem in the city. Councilman Robert Holden penned a letter to CVS President and CEO Karen Lynch on Wednesday, June 28, to voice concern over a lack of security and employee intervention involving shoplifters. The New York Daily News and Queens Chronicle first shared the exclusive letter. 

In Holden’s letter, shared with QNS, he asked Lynch to implement enhanced security measures, collaborate with local authorities, and launch an public awareness campaign to inform employees and customers about the consequences of shoplifting. He also noted local CVS branches failed to engage with criminals while committing theft and neglected to report theft to law enforcement.

Holden took to social media to respond to the collaborative effort from the 104th precinct and CVS employees, but he said it’s not enough to combat the growing issue of shoplifters.

Mayor Eric Adams also addressed the growing issue of retail theft early this year. The mayor released a comprehensive plan to combat retail theft across New York City’s five boroughs in May, highlighting new initiatives and programs aimed at the prevention and punishment of thieves. 

“Shoplifters and organized crime rings prey on businesses that have already taken a hit due to COVID-19, but, with this comprehensive plan, we’re going to beat back on retail theft through a combination of law enforcement, prevention, and intervention,” Adams said. “Last year alone, 327 repeat offenders were responsible for 30 percent of the more than 22,000 retail thefts across our city. This hurt our businesses, our workers, our customers, and our city.

Holden also commented on the mayor’s plan at the time, acknowledging issues with legislation that continues releasing caught criminals onto city streets. 

“Mayor Eric Adams’ comprehensive plan to combat retail theft in New York City is a step towards protecting retailers and bolstering economic recovery,” Holden said in a statement. “This plan demonstrates a commitment to protecting retailers and supporting vulnerable individuals in the city. However, if our state legislators don’t roll back the pro-criminal laws that tie the hands of our judges, we’ll continue seeing career criminals back out on the streets breaking the law.” 

QNS reached out to CVS for a statement on retail theft at their store locations and is awaiting a response.

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