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NY Post
New York Post
1 Jul 2023


NextImg:Queens pol Robert Holden demands CVS end lax security, crack down on shoplifters

CVS is putting law-abiding customers at risk by turning a blind eye to shoplifting — turning its pharmacies into something out of the Wild, Wild West, a Queens pol charges.

Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) wrote a scathing letter to CVS President Karen S. Lynch Wednesday demanding the drugstore chain start cracking down on shoplifting.

“Failing to report retail theft constitutes a dereliction of duty and poses serious consequences,” he wrote. “It inadvertently incentivizes criminals to continue their unlawful activities while putting CVS staff and customers in unnecessary danger.”

Although other drug-store chains, such as Walgreens, have also instructed staffers not to confront shoplifters, Holden told The Post he targeted CVS after fielding many complaints about three stores in his district – including one on Grand Avenue in Maspeth where there was a recent armed robbery.

Councilman Holden told The Post he targeted CVS after fielding many complaints about three stores in his district, including one where there was a recent armed robbery.

William C Lopez/New York Post

Nearly 100 customers of the Masbeth CVS fed up over lax security there signed a petition urging CVS to “take immediate action,” including enhancing security and “launching a public awareness campaign” to curb shoplifting.

Ann Marie McGee, a Maspeth resident of 41 years who organized the petition drive, said it’s “disgusting” that customers have “fear for their lives” every time they walk into a CVS and other drug-store chains.

She also said shopping at these stores since the start of the pandemic in 2020 has become extremely time-consuming because criminals rob much of the merchandise, leaving “empty shelves,” while most of the remaining items – including ice cream – are locked up.

Nearly 100 customers of the Masbeth CVS, who are angry over lax security there, signed a petition urging CVS to “take immediate action.”

Nearly 100 customers of the Masbeth CVS, who are angry over lax security there, signed a petition urging CVS to “take immediate action.”

Getty Images

“I’ve had enough of this!” she fumed. “This is not acceptable. It’s like the customers are getting treated like the criminals.”

Catering to crooks doesn’t always avoid violence.

Two weeks ago, a shoplifter slashed a 63-year-old security guard just below his left eye with a knife at an Upper East Side CVS — where workers were told to be “extra friendly’’ in hopes potential shoplifters would think twice about stealing, The Post reported.

Since the start of the pandemic, the surge in retail shoplifting has plagued major cities across the country — prompting big retailers like Walgreens and CVS to lock up many products behind plastic cases and plexiglass.

But that didn’t stop a Queens’ shoplifter last week from getting past Walgreen’s plastic security cases — by setting them on fire with a blowtorch

CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis insisted the drug-store chain takes crime seriously and has “worked closely” with the NYPD to assist in arresting shoplifting suspects.

CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis insisted the drug-store chain takes crime seriously and has “worked closely” with the NYPD to assist in arresting shoplifting suspects.

Getty Images

The brazen bandit allegedly stole about $448 worth of skin care products from the East Elmhurst branch, located at 93-12 Astoria Blvd., as other shoppers and employees stood by silently filming the wild act on their phones, according to cops and the video.

CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis insisted the drug-store chain takes crime seriously and has “worked closely” with the NYPD to assist in the arrests of more than 100 shoplifting suspects since the beginning of the year citywide.

He also said “Retail crime is a challenge to the entire industry,” adding “The safety of our customers and employees is a top priority and we have security measures in place to deter or prevent theft and to keep our stores safe places to work, shop and fill prescriptions.”