By Carol Tannenhauser
Best line in a police report ever: regarding the robbery of 96 Tabacco Shop at 2571 Broadway (96-97) for the third time in two months on Monday, March 6 at 9:30 a.m.
“An unknown male individual…went behind the counter removing approximately $1,565 worth of merchandise from a display case without permission.” Without permission? What a rude robber!
Two weeks before, on February 21 at 1:15 a.m., a different unknown male individual “kicked open a security gate to the area behind the counter [in 96 Tabacco Shop] and removed approximately $600 worth of merchandise.”
And three weeks before that, on January 30 at 3:30 p.m., a third unknown male individual “jumped over a counter attempting to grab a bag of merchandise [at 96 Tabacco Shop]. When an employee attempted to stop the individual, he pushed the employee and removed approximately $200 worth of merchandise.”
In all three cases, the individuals fled on foot and there were no reported injuries. This is the second UWS smoke shop that has suffered multiple robberies. The Exotic Smoke Shop on Columbus Avenue between 83rd and 84th Streets was robbed twice, including just days after it opened.
Anyone with information regarding these incidents, please call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/, on Twitter @NYPDTips.
All calls are strictly confidential.
When 24-hr pharmacies are the constant targets of shopliftings, or strong-arm robberies, or good ol’ plain, simple armed robbery, the pharmacies are blamed for not having enough security, and chastised for not doing enough to protect their employees and patrons. Then the pharmacies close early or altogether, and the neighborhood is the worse for it.
Where are the demands that these ‘smoke shops’ provide sufficient (armed?) security that they are not repeatedly targeted? This kind of soft target that attracts robbers is dangerous–for employees, customers, and the surrounding area.
Instead you get pablum about how they are not hurting anyone; or how they provide employment and recompense to previously ‘marginalized’ members of society (i.e drug dealers). These illegal businesses are definitely contributing to the diminished quality of life in the neighborhood. Close them, confiscate their inventory, and pursue civil proceedings against business owners and landlords.
How about just close the illegal ones, which would cover 95 percent of them.
Actually at this point, all but 4.
I can’t understand why these shops don’t have dogs: pet therapy for the good customers, and faces ripped off for the bad ones. Any well trained dog can do both for a few Milkbones.
What about pet snakes? Lots of people are frightened by snakes and a few slithering around in a display case could be an effective deterrent. Small shopkeepers could invite a few Appalachian snake handlers to NYC for tips.
Then a bunch of lawsuits will erupt. A dog will be euthanized.
I think Sam’s point was that no one will dare break into, jump over, or otherwise violate, because a big, cuddly, but well trained German Shepherd will be a DETERRENT!
Under normal conditions. But can a stoned dog do that?
Who ever thought that unlicensed weed sellers would bring crime to a neighborhood?
Who ever thought 80% would vote for status quo?
The problem with not voting for “status quo” is it involves voting for someone who is anti women’s abortion rights, pro gun lobby, pro tax cuts for the rich, anti environmental protection regulations (so corporations can do whatever makes them money), etc. I can’t bring myself to support those things, even though I do favor more “tough on crime” and non “woke” policies. It’s frustrating.
What is a woke policy?
Oh, I was just referring to various “progressive” attitudes about things like gender/diversity/crime/immigration. Of course, it’s not a hundred per cent for-or-against, plenty of “shades of gray” depending on specific details/situations.
Agreed. It’s a false dichotomy fallacy to say that the only choices are between “keep them out of Rikers no matter what further crimes they commit” vs. “bring in MAGA Republicans.” There are saner, more moderate paths in between these extremes.
Crime was already here, DR is right across the street. Do you know how many times that was robbed, at knife point and/or gunpoint? How quickly we forget. Let’s focus on the criminal element who know they can just saunter into the neighborhood and violently take anything they want with no repercussions.
Yes and now DR has security. Let’s require the weed stores to do the same. They can afford it, they likely don’t have insurance since no insurer will underwrite an unlicensed cash-only shop. So whatever they would have spent on insurance premiums can be used for security.
Why are these stores still being allowed to operate. How about very large fines payable in 30 days or merchandise seized. And clerks arrested. Now see if they can get a staff.
Close them down and do not allow any more to open,! They are nothing but trouble !
Progressive policies are generally good for health care, maybe okay for education, and lately terrible for the street, as we can see from the chaos created by the proliferation of bike lanes, the proliferation of illegal two-wheeled vehicles (an unintended but predictable result of the construction of bike lanes), and the proliferation of these smoke shops.
Stick to health care, progressives! You all know nothing about the street!
These smoke shops are nothing but crime magnets and a public menace. Many of them are selling illegal drugs. The city should vastly limit the number of these stores, just like they do with liquor stores.
I am appalled by these comments of people blaming the stores for the robberies.
It is the violent criminals who are responsible.
Do we blame banks when there is a bank robbery? The banks, after all, carry a lot of cash – does that somehow make them culpable?
Lastly, the fact that the stores are “illegal” is irrelevant. This same robberies can easily happen to “licensed” stores. Violent criminals do not attack stores depending on whether a vendor filled out paperwork to get a license.
My opinion on the situation — I agree that victim blaming is never a good or appropriate thing. I do think it is acceptable to ask why are we seeing and reading about so many robberies of these smoke shops.
I do think the answer is somewhat complicated and somewhat easy. First, the state is partly to blame here (not for the criminal element, though that is topic for another day) Why, I think many of these smoke shops have opened up so quickly because they want to be first in line for a dispensary license. The thought is that they will be easily able to say to the regulatory agencies that they have a shop in place, etc. It is taking the state way too long to finalize and hand out these licenses. With no licensing regulations in place, the shop owners can do almost anything they want and get away with it. Let’s not be fools here, we know that many of these shop owners are selling products illegally (I am not commenting on drug laws generally, but speaking on the laws as they are now). We saw the results of the recent “sweep” conducted by the sheriff’s office. Stores were cracked down on, but they went right back to business as usual.
Second, without licenses and clearly defined requirements to maintain a license, the shop owners have no incentive to put crime prevention measures in place. If you look at places like Colorado and California that have legalized dispensaries, shop owners are requirement to have enhanced video surveillance, armed guards, product must be kept in a safe until a transaction is being completed and all cash mush also be put in a safe. Plus, these jurisdictions have both enforcement agencies and penalties for lack of compliance. All of these things are currently lacking in NYC and NYS (surprise, surprise). Until regulations are put in place and there are substantial penalties in place for violators, this will continue to happen and we will continue to read about it.
We don’t fine banks if they get robbed.
We look for and arrest the bank robber.
A license is completely irrelevant.
You are right, but I said nothing about finding and prosecuting the criminals….they should be found and prosecuted.
I was only responding to the concept about victim blaming and while I may have been too academic in my response, the fact is, without strict licensing and requirements for security, etc. these stores will continue conduct illegal activities and will do nothing to take preventative measures. Honestly, they are easy targets and we all know it.
They are easy targets; and they are proliferating because the public wants their products.
I too would like to walk around our neighborhood with the easy freedom that–in some years–some of us were able to take for granted. Moving past today’s street crime and robberies will not be an simple fix. “Nab the bad guys and lock them up” may sound like a reasonable solution, but the real world is way more complicated.
These stores attract criminal elements of our society. It makes the UWS more and more disgusting every day. Was I dreaming when in 2010, I could walk from 59th to 115th street, and it was just wonderful? It’s like your youth, it’s gone and down the road is only deterioration and pain.
I felt that way at the start of Covid. I used to be grateful that at least the neighborhood was still safe feeling to walk around.
Honestly it’s difficult for me to muster up any sympathy for shady illegitimate businesses that are being robbed.
Should I feel bad about the fact that I don’t feel bad about it?
So, I wear a mask 24/7 as I help to caretake for my elderly mother ( age 94!) and am very careful wearing my mask inside and outside.
However, I would gladly hold my breath for a few seconds to LOWER MY MASK so my face can be photographed, and the move my mask back up. I wear an N95 and it is quite easy.
What is the point…. call Gale Brewer and ask her to enforce lowering your mask for a photo as you walk into the store. It is no big deal to hold your breath for a few seconds. I even had my mom try ( although she is not mobile) as she said it was not a big deal.
I was really appalled to read the NYT today ( my other paper besides the West Side Rag) and folks were complaining about being asked to lower their masks.
Fact is … I hardly see anyone wear a mask anymore.
The problem is that even if you hold your breathe, when you lower the mask you are breaking the seal that is keeping the bad stuff out. So when you put your mask back on, it now has the compromised air inside of it. It is obviously not as bad as going mask-less. But not perfectly safe either.
In order to enforce a requirement to lower masks, stores need staffed security and/or a locked/buzz-in door (which weed stores in other states have). So just get the security staff or buzz-in door.
Criminals robbing criminals. So on the one hand we’re not prosecuting shops that are illegally selling narcotics and on the other we’re not locking up criminals who are illegally stealing illegal narcotics. Everyone just keep voting the way you’re voting though. . .
I think a big majority does not vote at all. DiBlasio was elected to his second term with something like 18% of the electorate voting.
People know these are huge illegal cash businesses just waiting to be robbed. No one thought about all these associated crimes and problems with legalizing weed, they just saw dollar signs.
There are exactly 4 licensed stores in the entire state at this time. 3 here in the city and 1 in Binghamton. ALL the other stores are illegal.
How our government managed to arrest so many folks for cannabis over my lifetime, yet is so hopelessly impotent here, is really quite amazing.