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NYC Pharmacy Employee Punched In Face By Shoplifter, Police Say

A woman was recently punched in the face while attempting to stop a shoplifter in New York City, according to local authorities.

Fox 5 New York reported that the incident took place at around 10:27 AM Friday morning at a Duane Reade pharmacy in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. The suspect allegedly began taking food items out of the freezer section, when the 21-year-old woman, an employee of the store, approached the man and told him to put the items back in the freezer. Police said the suspect then punched the woman, pulled her by the hair and threw her to the ground. The suspect then left the store.

Police described the suspect as black, around 40 years old, about 6 feet tall, and weighing about 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a bright red jacket, blue jeans, and red boots. Additional security photos broadcast by Fox 5 show that the man has light-colored hair and was wearing a black baseball cap while carrying a white striped bag.

Police shared a photo of the suspect on the official NYPD Crime Stoppers Twitter account. Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact law enforcement either by phone at the Crime Stoppers Hotline, 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), at the Crime Stoppers website, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential, police said. A reward of up to $3500 has been offered for information leading to an arrest.

A similar incident took place in New York in December. Fox 5 reported that a serial shoplifter punched a uniformed NYPD officer in the face as she attempted to stop the shoplifter inside of a Duane Reade in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. The officer suffered a fracture to a bone in her face and a laceration to her left ear.

The city of New York has seen a spike in serious criminal activity in recent months. Shoplifting incidents have also been thrust into the national spotlight, amidst a rash of “smash-and-grab” robberies that began in California then spread across the country.

The rash of shoplifting incidents in New York has forced several shops to take additional security measures, or even to close. A Rite Aid pharmacy in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood was forced to close its doors after it became a frequent target. The New York Post reported that thieves had taken more than $200,000 worth of merchandise in December and January alone.

Several more brazen incidents were also caught on film recently. The New York Post reported that an individual was caught on video stealing 10 packages of steak from a Trader Joe’s in the East Village.

Actor Michael Rapaport posted a video in late January he said showed a shoplifter leaving a Rite-Aid on the Upper East Side.

“I can’t believe I’m seeing this s***,” Rapaport says in a video he shared with 2 million followers on Instagram. The footage depicted the suspect walking past a security officer as he vacated the store.

“This f**ing guy just filled his two bags up with everything in Rite Aid, right here on 80th [Street] and First Avenue, is walking down the street like s*** is Gucci. Looking me in my face like, ‘What’s good?’ I was watching him the whole time,” the actor continued.

“My man just went Christmas shopping in January. He had the condoms, the shampoo,” Rapaport said.

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