Borough President Says Shoppers Should Stay Alert After Trader Joe’s Theft

A cart at Trader Joe’s.

Borough President Gale Brewer sent us a notice about a theft on Monday at the Trader Joe’s on 72nd Street and Broadway that she says should serve as a warning to Upper West Siders.

The Borough President wanted me to inform you that a robbery took place at the Trader Joe’s on 72nd Street at 2 p.m. today. A woman left her bag in a cart and someone ran out with it. Trader Joe’s has cameras on the lower level but not the top level where the robbery occurred. Our office has reached out to Captain Neil Zuber of the 20th precinct to express our concerns and we will keep you posted of any updates. In the meantime, BP Brewer recommends that New Yorkers take heed of NYPD holiday tips:

  • Secure bags and valuables when entering or exiting vehicles and transit facilities.
  • When dining or shopping, do not leave your handbag on the back of a chair, or inside a stroller or cart.

There are more safety tips provided by the NYPD:

We’ve reached out to Trader Joe’s to learn more about what happened and what steps they may be taking.

FOOD, NEWS | 60 comments | permalink
    1. HelenD says:

      Considering everything that happens on that block, I’m more surprised that anyone would leave a bag unattended than I am that the bag was stolen. 🙁

    2. John says:

      you forgot to write if the person is caught nothing will happen

    3. Julie says:

      This person must have never lived in a city their entire life. Welcome!

      • Say-moi says:

        I was going to say exactly the same thing!! Amazing!
        How foolish! Not a New Yorker for sure!

        • Nevets K says:

          I don’t understand this victim blaming, except if it is to make people feel temporarily better about their own situation. The woman is not responsible for this crime. The criminal is.
          I imagine the next time a blamer is a victim, he or she will crave sympathy, not a further attack.

          • Briant says:

            While the general sentiment does seem to be a bit hard on the person who’s purse was stolen, calling this out as victim blaming is what does the most harm. The act of putting this unfortunate occurrence to print, as is clearly stated, is to raise awareness in an effort to prevent reoccurence. This implies a personal responsibility for one’s actions leading to the crime. The person who stole it may have never intended to commit a crime, but when presented with an opportunity the idea was hatched. We all make mistakes or end up distracted unwittingly, but that doesn’t mean life is some victimhood tug of war. Yes, it sucks, but think about the service this, ‘victim’ is doing for the community by raising awareness rather than sulking in her victimhood…

            • Nevets K says:

              “How foolish!”
              “Not a New Yorker at all!”
              “This person must have never lived in a city their entire life. Welcome!”
              These are the responses
              I am referring to when I spoke of victim blaming. I was not referring to candidate Brewer’s remarks, which make up the bulk of the article.

          • charles becker says:

            A victim should not crave sympathy but should seek advice on how to avoid a repeat of this type of incident.

            • nemo paradise says:

              “Excuse me, but I was murdered on West 78th St. Can someone please give me helpful advice, so that I don’t tempt anyone else to stab me several times with a kitchen knife?”

      • Jay says:


        And does everyone simply leave purses unattended in shopping carts in parking lots at suburban supermarkets absent any concern about potential theft?

    4. Boris says:

      I’ve lost track of how many women I’ve warned to either close their bags or keep them within their sight. Surprisingly, none of them have really been appreciative. Some of them actually acted annoyed.

      • Barbara R. says:

        Me too. Especially when they leave them hanging off the back of a chair. Usually they act annoyed and leave them there anyway…..and I’m sure more than a few of those people got their bags stolen.

      • woodcider says:

        You did a good deed. Sometimes people need to learn the hard way.
        Personally, I wouldn’t leave my bag unattended in Mayberry. All a thief needs is an opportunity.

      • Iris says:

        I was in the store only a short time after and I had no idea. There were not any additional personal on the floors in fact I have noticed less. No one patrols that store. Pre pandemic they took away their front door security? It’s a robbery or worse waiting to happen

        But I too have seen women who are so non chalant about their handbags. It’s a pervasive attitude and you just have to be plain reckless to leave an unattended bag anywhere.

      • adam says:

        Yes, it’s most certainly the woman’s fault. Victim blaming. . .amazing.

        • Boris says:

          Get off your high horse and stop reducing this discussion of observations to an issue of victim blaming.

          But if I wanted to comment specifically about this situation, I have no trouble mentioning that she did not take proper care in safeguarding her belongings. That is 100% on her. Whether or not someone took advantage of that is another issue. It shouldn’t be in poor taste to want people to take responsibility for their own mistakes so maybe they won’t repeat them.

      • G.Locke says:

        I did that too myself.

        I just warned a young woman the other day that keeping her purse on the back of her chair in the outdoor area of the restaurant while sitting on the side where people were walking by was not such a good idea. She took it off and placed it in her lap but you could see that she felt inconvenienced. If she changed seat with her companion, her purse on the back of her chair would have been at the temporary back wall of the plastic tent of the restaurant with only the waiter or waitress walking behind her. Oh well.
        I tried. Won’t do it again for some time.

    5. Frank Grimes says:

      “Let this serve as a warning, that I and all your elected officials are aware of the rising crime and diminishing quality of life on the UWS. In response, we will choose to do absolutely nothing about it, in order to bow to this progressive woke culture that we insist will make NYC better somehow.”

      There, I fixed it…..

    6. biffmeister says:

      The only warning to Upper West Siders is that when the city is run by left-wing fanatics, law and order goes down the toilet. We need to hire 10,000 more police, restore the plain clothes unit, re-criminalize public urination, turnstile jumping, aggressive pan-handling and anything else that has reduced our city to its current state of decay. We also need to elect DA’s and politicians who actually understand the difference between good guys and bad guys. And we need to restore cash bail. In other words, stop letting the patients run the asylum.

      • Bob says:

        It’s easy to understand why this country is so divided when one side’s response to an ordinary property crime — which, I mean, crime happens whether in big cities or small towns or anything in between — is some diatribe about “left-wing fanatics” who have done… something.

      • Ella says:

        Hopefully people will pay more attention to whom they are voting for in the future.

      • Concerned POC says:

        Some of you sound so damned ridiculous. Don’t victim blame??? How about have common sense. Even growing up in the suburbs you don’t leave your bag or purse unattended. As for the whining, privileged individuals bitching about police reform…walk in the shoes of a non privileged person of color and then get back to me. There are many things wrong with this city but it is still the city I love and respect. While change isn’t immediate, we are working to get to where we want to be. NYC is for all people and we should not feel like the police are against us, that’s why reform was needed.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        … because we don’t have ENOUGH people in jail, most of whom, in NYC, have never been convicted of anything.

      • Jo Baldwin says:

        And a hearty AMEN to that. Can anyone not see the common sense in all those points? That is if you want to live in a civilized community. If not . . .

    7. Erica says:

      As a woman I never leave my bag unattended. It is always crossbody, especially in crowded places. While I feel bad for her, lesson learned.

    8. AJ says:

      My shopping trolley was stolen from the Trader Joe’s on W 93rd & Columbus on Saturday afternoon while I was shopping there. The store has you leave your own cart in a little holding area inside the store which is unmanned. You’re supposed to retrieve it when you check out. I went to get mine and it was gone. The trolley cost $80 so no small loss. The store management was very nice about it but still another lesson learned about being careful while shopping there.

    9. aphasian says:

      She might have been a parent. Cumulative sleep deprivation and multi-tasking can lead to some dicey decisions…

      • m.pipik says:

        I’m a 2nd generation NYer. You learn early in lift how to treat your purses and wallets (for men)

        You keep your purse in your possession and make sure it is closed too. I don’t even have to think about it. It is a habit.
        (Oh, and men, don’t put your wallet in your back pocket.)

        I not infrequently see women leaving open purses on the chairs next to them. Anyone with light fingers could easily take a wallet out. I once told a 20-something woman that she should close her purse–she gave me a dirty look and went back to talking to her friends. I guess I was an interfering old woman.

        And it isn’t just NY. You can have a similar problem in any big, dense city.

    10. Christina says:

      This is horrible really she should know not to have a purse in a cart. One should always have it on them. It’s common sense.

    11. King says:

      When Will Trader Joe’s install cameras on the top level?

    12. Ray says:

      This was not a robbery, which is taking someone’s property by violence or a threat.

    13. Rwc says:

      It has to be a non New Yorker.
      We need a welcome pamphlet when you move to New York what’s your belongings lock your doors close your purse .
      Anyone born and raised in New York knows not to leave a handbag hanging from chairs or left in a shopping cart unattended. Or the very convenient for a pick pocket hanging open purses.

      Crimes of opportunity, welcome to New York city.
      This is nothing new!
      The land of opportunity for petty theft.

      • D. Ellen says:

        How about less criticism for the victim. Some people are very tired and overwhelmed and have forgetful moments. Let’s all just step up and try to watch out for each other.

    14. Spence Halperin says:

      Teach your children well..the NYC survival skills from the ’70s.

      • Agnes Frank says:

        Not NYC survival skills, just common sense. Can and does happen anywhere.

      • World Peacenik says:

        Teach your children well
        Their father’s hell did slowly go by
        And feed them on your dreams
        The one they pick’s the one you’ll know by

        Don’t you ever ask them, “Why?”
        If they told you, you would cry
        So just look at them and sigh
        And know they love you

    15. a says:

      Having my wallet stollen many years ago from my purse in a shopping cart, I’ve learned my lesson. I now were a money belt that I bought when I went to Europe. I carry a few dollars, credit card, ID and keys around my waist under my loose top. I wear a fabric back pack to carry my gloves, hat, umbrella, etc. If that was stollen or they tried to pick pocket me, they would be disappointed.

    16. Larry says:

      On Saturday December 18, my shopping cart was stolen from the 72nd Street ground floor vestibule of Trader Joes. It was taken from where everyone parks their baby strollers and shopping carts. Trader Joes was very kind and replaced the cart, but be aware…its no longer a given that your cart is safe if left in the vestibule.

    17. SCKB says:

      Same situation as AJ, my shopping cart cost
      $50 liner $30 was stolen at Trader Joe’s 72nd, & the employees could careless! I also feel one needs to watch the the workers at TJ’s as from not wearing masks to cheating you at check-out.

    18. anne says:

      another reminder: don’t leave your precious four-pawed family member tied up outside a store “just for a minute while I have my eye on her”– she could be snatched and sold 2 blocks over before you look up from the cashier! 🙁

      • HelenD says:

        I saw a father leave a small child outside in a stroller while he ‘popped’ into a store on 72nd & Amsterdam (one of the worst corners in the neighborhood)! I waited outside with her and she was clearly in distress, calling him and trying to get out of her stroller. Having a complete stranger attempting to console her did not help matters. There were police cars sitting in front of the subway and I was just about to get their attention when the father came out. It’s possible it was 2-3 minutes but it felt much longer. 🙁

    19. Lisa says:

      WOW! I am one of those really foolish women who leave their backpack in the cart while getting something else in TJs or WFs. I always thought no one would walk out with it etc. Too many camera. NO MORE. Thank you for the overdue wake up call.

      • charles becker says:

        Is it a change in policy? I use to see old people go down the escalator with their personal carts, in spite of a sign that said no carts. It was a dangerous situation. A store employee told me the sign was for store carts.

        Have the rules changed

    20. Judy Harris says:

      TJ’s make you leave your shopping cart, often with things purchased elsewhere, and use their shopping cart. No one is left to mind these carts, and I’m often ill at ease until I get back and make sure mine is still there.

    21. Deborah Salant says:

      Does this mean she cares about the non homeless residents in the UWS. Why the change?
      She has never shown any sympathy towards the many owners and renters who pay taxes and vote. A drop on the bucket!

    22. Bruce Bernstein says:

      if you are in favor of cash bail, then you are arguing that if a POOR person committed this crime, they should stay in jail until trial (many months). But if an upper middle class person committed this crime, they should be let out.

      if you then respond, “well, only the poor would commit this crime”, then you are arguing that poverty is the source of theft.

      In fact, there are plenty of middle class kleptomaniacs. but they don’t end up sitting in Rikers.

      • Frank Grimes says:

        You seem well versed on the issue, and not to make you speak for ALL those who subscribe to the theory, what plan do these progressive leaders have to solve the problems. I’m asking not to be condescending, but because I (and others) are genuinely baffled, and concerned.

        We have emptied prisons and decriminalized a slew of crimes that would otherwise require bail. The result, as I see it, is a tremendous spike in crimes, from petty thefts to murder. The numbers across NYC are frightening. Do people who think this is just the “cost of doing business”? In order to take two steps forward, we need to take a massive step backwards? I just haven’t yet met a progressive thinker who has sold this idea to me, and I would love to hear a better argument, bc this idea of bail reform to me looks like a complete failure, and no one is taking any responsibility for it.

      • Peter says:

        That’s spot on, Bruce. Outlaw jails! Baseball tickets for everyone! Take a purse, get 3 gift cards bonus from the state!

        Court appearances? Eh, if it’s on your way…

        And that shopper?! Can you believe the mindless privilege of even owning a handbag?! I can’t believe the inequity afflicting this world…

    23. Olivia says:

      Lily Tomlin once said”New York is always knowing where your purse is.”

    24. Jay says:

      Wait, someone on the UWS saw a chance to get away with theft, of an unattended purse, and took it.

      Next will we be shocked to learn that much of the financial industry has operated the same way for at least 25 years? (At least back in the late 1980s, people were prosecuted for the S&L crimes.)

      • Phoebe says:

        Our prez is making sure lots of bad rich folks get their equal rights, when it comes to early release. And other stuff. No joke.

    25. babrarus says:

      Last time I was at the same Trader Joe’s someone on the lower floor stole my heart.
      She’s in her 30’s, red hair, slim build, 5’7″ tall, green eyes, dressed in red jeans with a blue jacket.
      She gave me a smile as she stepped on the escalator, and that’s the last I saw of her.
      Was thinking of reporting the theft to the police, but decided not to. You know, catch & release bail reform.

    26. Times have changed says:

      I still don’t understand why women have to bring bags with them when they go shopping. Especially the older women they drag them almost touching the ground. You don’t need bags with personal items and then when you go shopping. Secure your wallet on your body and you have no problems just like a man does.
      You never hear about a bag being stolen from a man. And please don’t give me the excuse a woman needs a bag she does not need a bag this is 2020.