Grab-n-Go Thieves Swipe $18,526 in Eyewear from LensCrafters, Including Lots of Prada, Police Say

LensCrafters at 2050 Broadway.

By Joy Bergmann

Last Thursday around noon, a team of six thieves allegedly walked into LensCrafters at 2050 Broadway (70th), grabbed 37 pairs of sunglasses and glasses frames and fled with the loot, valued at $18,526, an NYPD spokesperson told WSR. Some pairs were priced at $1,395, $1,446 and $1,524 apiece, NYPD said, noting the complaint mentions 13 Prada items swiped.

“There was no use of force threatened. No injuries,” NYPD said. Though the complaint mentioned six male suspects, a 20th Precinct tweet says detectives are seeking five men and one woman for the grand larceny.

When WSR visited the store Monday morning, worker Tiffany said she was keeping the front door locked until at least two other colleagues joined her. She wasn’t at the shop when the incident occurred, but said grab-n-go theft was a recurring problem — jumping to a new level with this group action. “Usually somebody snatches a few pairs,” she said, “but never in such a large group like that.”

Tiffany said the team likes to keep the store “comfortable” for customers who want to try on multiple pairs from open racks of options. But given what’s been happening, she says, “we might have to start locking the cases again.”

NEWS | 53 comments | permalink
    1. Frank Grimes says:

      Amazing how quick stealing shampoo and toothpaste from CVS escalates to stealing from other business in the neighborhood. It’s a slippery slope, and current laws that don’t punish simple crimes pave the path for more serious ones. No one should be surprised here, our local elected officials don’t care about these kinds of crime, and are fine w/ normalizing it, they have made this very clear.

      • Jerry says:

        I wish people could refrain from overly simplistic analyses and prescriptions. No, it is not clear that “our local elected officials don’t care about these kinds of crime, and are fine w/ normalizing it.” Yes, these types of crimes are on the rise throughout the United States. No, you cannot attribute it to this elected official or that political party. Yes, if it were really that easy to understand and defeat crime, our society would have done so.

        • John says:

          This is very simple. The left wing Democrat’s are allowing this to happen with their new policy’s and agenda.

          • Jerry says:

            @ John

            I’m always curious when someone posts a comment like this whether the person is just trolling or actually believes what they stated. It doesn’t take an extensive amount of education and knowledge of sociology or history to know that crime doesn’t rise or fall in a short period of time because of one political party’s policies or agenda.

            • nemo paradise says:

              Just plain wrong. Anyone who lived in NYC during the Dinkins/Giuliani transition would laugh at this.

            • Sam Katz says:

              But you are wrong. This is a result of bail reform and thinking robbery is something a retailer’s insurance can simply afford. Bail reform lets these “non violent” criminals back on the streets hours after they are nabbed, which is why the same offenders are arrested dozens of times. I am writing this as a liberal Democrat. Bail reform is a major failure and has led to the rise in gun violence, subway violence, repeat vandalism, and rampant grand larceny. If it was YOU being robbed or assaulted you wouldn’t be so cavalier about it.

          • Jerry says:

            @nemo paradise

            Perfect example, actually–an ideal case in point! The widely-held belief that Dinkins was terrible and Giuliani was great at fighting crime does not stand up to even a small amount of research–going below the surface shows that there’s way more to this than meets the eye. 1- Dinkins increased the hiring of police officers–a measure that began under him but did not take affect in large part until the next (that is, Giuliani) administration; 2- there’s healthy debate as to whether it was Giuliani or his first police commissioner (William Bratton) who should get credit for innovative and aggressive police tactics. (And Giuliani reportedly fired Bratton because Bratton was getting too much credit.); 3- Crime began dropping all over the U.S. at the same time it started to drop in NYC under Giuliani–and continued to drop for many, many years afterward to historically low levels in NYC and the U.S. through successive administrations. Criminologists continue to debate the multi-faceted social, economic and demographic causes for this.

        • SadforUWS says:

          “these crimes are happening all across the United States”, is the mantra of UWS liberals. Nobody falls for it.

          • Paul says:

            Aah, but it’s true.
            The trend is nationwide.

            And its exaggerated, in many ways.

            Including with the value of the theft, because with eyeglass lenses, 80% of the stated value is in markup (covering the cost of preparing and installing prescription lenses), so the cost to the company is 20% of what’s reported.
            Which goes a long way towards explaining why they aren’t investing more in theft control measures.

            • geoff says:

              There was a time not long ago that one or two eyeglass frame manufacturers made all frames. Things have changed a little bit but not much.

              Have you ever wondered why there are nowadays so many eyeglass outlets in the neighbourhood? Lots of money to be made, that’s why. Sort of like coffee.

              So, who makes the frames? A biggie is Luxottica.

              Here are some of the brands that you may not realized are run by Luxotttica as of January 2019: Chanel, Oliver Peoples, Prada, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Tiffany & Co, Persol, Versace and Dolce & Gabanna.

              So, not to condone theft, but to raise the idea of the its value, consider just how much Prada frames must cost at retail compared to their manufacturing cost.

              Insurance companies must be all over this.

          • Jerry says:

            @ SadforUWS

            “Nobody falls for it”? Hard to know what you mean by that. It appears as if you are ignoring or negating well-documented facts.

            • Brandon says:

              About the only thing that agitates SadforUWS more than a crime story is one about a white man’s statue being removed. A troll best not fed.

        • Leon says:

          Petty theft is a gateway crime. Start with packs of gum. Work your way up to expensive glasses. A teenager who steals one low-priced item shouldn’t get the chair. But someone who repeatedly commits these crimes should face real consequences so that they do not escalate.

          Under current laws, there is almost no penalty for repeat offenders, so there’s no fear. The police have no incentive to stop them if they will be released moments later. Common sense laws that are neither too punitive or not punitive enough would be great – right now we are too far in the direction of not punitive enough.

        • Gary Thornton-Marks says:

          It is simple. We did do it it before. It does take one politician or party. Rudolph Giuliani. Where were you?

    2. Marcos says:

      Amazing how we focus on retail theft when tax evasion is an order of magnitude greater than this.

    3. Moolah says:

      I wonder how much it costs to manufacture a $1,524 pair of glasses frames. $50?

      • Peter says:


        You’re welcome to manufacture widgets for $1 and set up shop on Broadway to sell them for $10,000.

        • Paul says:

          The relevance is that the cost to the retailer reflects its true loss (since the stock will be replenished and sold at retail).
          The cost here is about 20% of the stated value (80% of the cost of glasses reflects markup covering the cost of preparing the presciription eyeglasses and profit).

          And if the cost to the retailer were much higher, it’s likely the store would pay more attention to “loss control.”

          • LK says:

            Blaming the victim at its finest. It’s not reasonable to expect for people not to steal, right? With these outrageously expensive skirts, oops glasses, the retailers invite the thieves… What about drug stores selling laundry detergents ( one of the most commonly stolen items ) – what did they do wrong?

            • Paul says:

              I literally grew up in retail, hanging in my father’s store on B’way in the Bloomingdale neighborhood when time permitted.
              Some loss is a fact of life and is built into pricing.

              The extent to which businesses invest in loss prevention is a pure cost – benefit calculation. That isn’t “victim blaming.” It’s life.
              Lenscrafters isn’t going to spend thousands a month for security for a one-time loss of about 3,500.

              That notwithstanding, yes, catch the crooks and jail them.

              (by the way, the most expensive component of loss prevention is theft by employees. Which is why my dad paid a security firm to perfom integrity tests but never paid for security against customer theft)

          • Peter says:

            Nope, it’s tautological – the cost of the product is the true cost (to the retailer).

            (The first line of reporting (or prosecution) for theft like this is “market value”. Only if that cannot be established- and that’s not the case here – does it go to “cost / replacement cost”.)

            Not to mention that you’re assuming that the product is replaced AND sold at retail, and not replaced and STOLEN again. These people are not going to jail any time soon with current laws and level of enforcement.

            And you’d want more “loss control? Guess what – that costs more money to the retailer.

          • Worn Glasses Since I Was 3 says:

            It’s a little unfair to eyeglass shops to say that that is the markup. they have a lot more labor than most people are aware of. You buy one pair of glasses to last you 2 to 3 years, but you go in once a month to get them adjusted for free. So yeah, it seems like they are making a lot of money off of that sale, but it has to be amortized.

            What’s atrocious if we really want to get outraged about the price of glasses is how Medicaid will not pay for glasses if you have astigmatism. They only pay for the lowest grade plastic frames which are not sturdy enough to hold astigmatism prescription lenses. They also will not pay for high index lenses, which are required for those prescriptions. Glasses cost what they cost. You cannot put a monetary value on a person’s ability to see. Do we all need Prada? Heck no. But the eyeglasses store markup is not the problem.

    4. Danielle Remp says:

      These thefts are the cost of doing business and are passed on to us, the consumer.
      How long will we have any retail stores to visit if this continues?

    5. Frustrated says:

      No one here is mentioning the emotional state of the employees. If I worked in a store that was brazenly robbed and ransacked, I would be terrified. I know several small businesses that have lost employees because they are fearful of the criminals stealing and they are criminals if you steal, something that this city will not admit. Not only losing product but good employees who are now fearful. Exactly why the female employee has the door locked now. Would you feel comfortable? Another loss in a different way.

      • Anna says:

        Good observation, Frustrated.

        The Marshalls on Broadway and 78th Street is robbed regularly. I was there shopping on three separate occasions when criminals walked through grabbing what they wanted (mostly bags and wallets).
        It was very scary to be a customer witnessing that. I can only imagine what it’s like for the employees.

        • Concerned says:

          I was at Marshall’s last week when a few criminals walked out with huge bags of merchandise. And yes, it was scary and unsettling as a customer. An employee I was speaking with said it happens very frequently and she was upset as well. In my opinion, laws need to change to serve as a deterrent to these criminals. It’s not ok, no matter the value of the merchandise. We all deserve to live in a society where these kinds of crimes are not commonplace and expected. Also, what is the impact to children and teens who witness this behavior? How do we explain that they need to follow the rules when others don’t?

      • Tiffanywouldknow says:

        Anyone would be terrified. I was at this store shortly after this incident – there were 2 female officers inside -all involved were wearing face masks. It has nothing to do with the cost of anything – you would be surprised how many people spend a fortune on frames! Male employees also get bullied!

    6. AC says:

      As an UWS resident for over 50 years, and I know some don’t want to hear this, but Rudy had it right with regards to the Broken Windows theory on crime. Low quality of life crimes, if unattended, result in larger crimes. We live in an unusally large city and having this “let the people police themselves’ or ‘bail reform’ policy is ludicrous. The last 4 years should be a good example of how it does not work in a BIG City. Am I the only one still swiping? Fare evasion has gotten out of control.

      While I believe Adams to be much more polished with regards to government, CRIME is my biggest concern right now. I’ll be voting for the Beret Crusader, as he’s been fighting crime since the 70’s!

    7. Glasses Wearer says:

      1) A few months ago someone robbed EuroOptica on Columbus the same way.
      2) for those of us who actually NEED glasses, this is a shame. Warby Parker has already made it hard for places that can accommodate higher prescriptions to stay in business. We don’t need theft making it harder for them to stay open as well.
      3( LensCrafters sells Prada???

    8. Kate says:

      Such a shame. I’ve gotten so many pairs from that LensCrafters – the service is excellent and the staff is always so nice.

    9. Tom says:

      Horrible, but wholesale value of frames probably $100 😎

      • Mildred Babbs says:

        We liberals need to support police. That would turn the whole thing on its head.

        Police now know that to thwart petty crime the only one who stands to lose and lose big is the cop.

        We want a thriving compassionate community where everyone has purpose and meaning.

        The key to that is not allowing vultures – rich or poor – to suck the life from our community.

        I know the bad old days and I am sorry to say It seems like our current mayor would love to bring them back.

        Maybe the next one will work to de incentivize crime and support honest policing.

        Of course – the real problem starts in the cradle and is clearly nothing new considering it has been an issue for thousands of years. At least it was a problem for the folks that wrote the 10 Commandments.

        • Jerry says:

          @ Mildred

          I’m absolutely astounded by this idea that liberals are anti-police or soft on crime! It is so silly–and so wrong-headed. Nobody is in favor of crime. Nobody wants to be unsafe. Nobody wants a poor quality of life. And no, the current Mayor does not want to bring back “the bad old days.” How absurd is that? Merely wanting the police to enforce the law in accord with the Constitution and not abuse force is not anti-police! If a police officer cannot do their job without breaking the law, they should not be a police officer! And reductions in the use of cash bail is a measure that passed the New York State Legislature (so no, it is not a NYC provision!) after criminal justice advocates successfully argued that the old cash bail system in effect criminalized poverty. Bail reform movements are not new in the U.S. and gained steam in recent years as the cash bail system’s inequalities and injustices became more apparent. A cornerstone of the American criminal justice system is that those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty. However, three out of five people in U.S. jails today have not been convicted of a crime, amounting to nearly half a million people behind bars who are still presumed innocent! That is why cash bail has been eliminated or reduced in numerous jurisdictions throughout the U.S. in recent years. Most importantly, there is no evidence to date that eliminating or reducing cash bail is responsible for a significant increase in crime. It is one thing to react emotionally or make sensational suppositions; it is quite another to have facts. As far as anyone knows so far, the statistics do not show that a significant amount of crime is being committed by someone awaiting trial who has been released without bail. None of us like crime. Even criminals do not want to be robbed or beaten! But the causes of crime and the solutions for reducing it are far from simple and have nothing to do with whether one is liberal or not. Mistreating citizens and violating the U.S. Constitution have never been shown to reduce crime in the U.S.!

          • Lesley Achitoff says:

            Perfectly stated, Jerry. As a former therapist on Rikers Island who now works with kids in juvenile detention, the lack of humanity in our criminal justice system is reprehensible.

    10. DenaliBoy says:

      Bail reform is one hell of an incentive to rob stores in the city. Robbery is nothing new; however, when there are no consequences if caught why would a thief stop stealing. Best case scenario is that victims are not injured because it’s highly unlikely much will be done because the thieves have had a difficult childhood, they can’t find decent jobs, and really it’s the fault of our society. Almost feel sorry for the poor thieves.

      • Jerry says:

        @ DenaliBoy

        I have little doubt that I am wasting my time by responding to such comments, but let’s unpack the logic (or lack thereof) here: Whereas before I would not rob a store because if I were caught I would be arrested and held in prison while awaiting trial if I could not afford the cash bail amount, today I am willing to commit a crime because even if I’m caught I will not have to post a cash bond and won’t be held in prison while I await trial? You really think that?

        • Dokey says:

          Thank you.

          This is the question that needs to be asked over & over. Do you honestly believe that?

          Politics & policy is not a sport, we either win together or lose together. So many people act and argue in bad faith just to ensure the other team are losers.

        • Peter says:

          Its amazing and scary how clueless and naive some people are. When a subway pusher has been arrested 47 times and never been to jail people are amazed. Yes people will continue to commit crimes when they know there is no punishment. Typical delusional liberals.

          • Jerry says:

            @ Peter

            It seems as if you did not read the comment immediately above yours from Dokey, or perhaps it had not been posted yet? I say this because you engage in oversimplification, gratuitous name-calling and hyperbole. Yes, there have been truly outrageous incidents, but those are not the norm and they do not form the basis for reasonable discussion. Very often people we read about who have been arrested numerous times are mentally ill and/or who have been arrested for relatively minor crimes. Regardless, if a person has been lawfully convicted of a crime they should serve the appropriate sentence. Where do you get that “liberals” don’t want people who have been lawfully convicted of a crime to be punished? That’s absurd! Moreover, you did not even address the question being asked, which is whether someone really believes that people who were not otherwise going to commit a crime are suddenly choosing to do so now because they are less likely to be held in jail while awaiting trial?

    11. care4u says:

      Anybody that pays $1,395, $1,446 and $1,524 apiece for glass frames is getting robbed by the owners of the store they buy it from.

    12. LivesOnUWS says:

      For all the Republicans complaining about Liberals being weak on crime. How much do you think it costs to add more police officers to chase down and house people accused of petty crimes? You can’t continually lower taxes and have proper public services.

      The GOP quest to privatize everything over the public good is just as culpable as any “Liberal Agenda” to protect the citizenry from systematic inequities. The GOP dream is everything is privatized which would resemble a Russian oligarchy where only shareholders had a vote.

      • JVH Morningside says:

        Bump this comment to the top of the thread. Hypocrisy and internal contradictions dominate the outraged reactions.

    13. Tiffanywouldknow says:

      I went by that store to pick up a much needed new pair of glasses. The staff in that store are incredible! When I chose my very inexpensive frames – everything was super duper kept clean, etc. The saleslady just opened the door and said she could hand me my glasses. I saw 2 officers inside – and everyone was adhering to facemasks, etc.My brother and I have been going to this location for years – just saying…..

    14. Tego says:

      Unfortunately theft/crime is an accepted way of life in this country. Most of which is not even prosecuted when the perp(s) is/are caught. Let me list the many ways: Tax theft; Police graft; Bankers knowingly washing drug money (big profits); Elected/Unelected officials awarding contracts/passing laws for campaign contributions/cars/homes/or just plain ole cash. While collar stuff, i.e., “free money.”
      Unless one was born yesterday, all others know this. It’s an American way of life. so can you blame some Americans, who are not in White Collar jobs, or any jobs for that matter, for wanting “their “fair” share.”
      Yes, I would rather not see any crime/theft, White or Blue Collar, but until our “leaders/upstanding citizens/religious leaders/etc.” straighten up, to expect all others to is a pipedream.

    15. Jo Baldwin says:

      I know for a fact that certain retailers are having their employees sign a document instructing the employees to not confront a thief if they see them stealing. Just ignore them. On the one hand it protects the employee from being harmed while also doing the same for the employer (“hey you were told…”) possibly side-stepping any liability. And then it also shows how the bad guys are winning. We’re letting them, from the top on down we are giving them the store.

    16. Maura says:

      Okay but what about with insurance

      • Sam Katz says:

        What about insurance? If you are robbed, your policy goes UP and UP and UP. Same as in your home or your car. If you repeatedly get into car accidents, your insurance rises and rises until it becomes unaffordable. Same with LensCrafters. They will eventually leave the area and go someplace else where grand larceny remains a crime and people are punished for it. The residents suffer. And if someone robs LensCrafters in the middle of the day, imagine what that same perp will do to you in the deserted subway late at night.