Best Buy, pharmacies targeted in upper Manhattan thefts

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The following are notable crimes within the 19th and 20th precincts:

Kitchen knife threat

A man robbed an Upper East Side CVS by threatening an employee with a kitchen knife, police say. 

At 11:42 p.m. on Oct. 2, the suspect walked into a CVS Pharmacy located at 305 East 86th Street, took items off the store’s shelves and left, police said.

An employee followed the thief out of the store, where the crook threateningly pulled out a kitchen knife. The thief then jumped into a nearby vehicle and fled, police said.

Officers found and arrested the man, 56-year-old Leonard Wilkins, after they found him in wrecked vehicle after a car crash. Police found two knives in the thief’s waistband and $246 worth of stolen CVS items in the car. 

Duane Reade robbery

A man stole beer from an Upper East Side Duane Reade on Sept. 24.  

At 8:50 p.m., 49-year-old Steven Davis entered the store at 1191 Second Ave., went to one of the store’s refrigerators and placed four cases of beer into a black plastic garbage bag. 

According to police, after placing the beer in the bag, he fled the store but was caught soon thereafter and arrested.

Phony bail bondsman

A woman was swindled out of a $6,800 by someone impersonating an attorney on Oct. 4. 

At 11:00 a.m., an 81-year-old Upper East Side woman received a phone call from someone identifying themselves as an attorney from Michigan representing her grandson. The caller told the woman her grandson had just been in an accident and that the woman needed to pay a bail bondsman. When the “bondsman” showed up to her apartment, woman gave him $6,800 and he fled in an unknown direction.

Cell phone grab

A teen stole a subway rider’s cellphone on Oct.1.

At 7:37 p.m., as the 6 train approached the Lexington Avenue and East 59th Street stop, a 17-year-old grabbed an iPhone 10 from a rider’s hands.

According to police, as soon as the subway car stopped and the car doors opened, the teen fled the car with the phone in hand. The victim chased the cellphone thief through the station but the teen put him in a headlock and punched him in the face.

A bystander witnessed the tussle and decided to chase the thief as well, while calling 911. The Good Samaritan was able to flag down officers in the station who arrested the teen and recovered the phone, which was worth $1,100, police said.

Best Buy tussle

A man stole a $2,722 camera from a Best Buy on Sept. 17. 

At 10:50 a.m., the suspect entered the electronics store located at 1880 Broadway, ripped a Sony a7R III ILCERM3 from a display and shoved it into his pants before fleeing the store. 

According to police, when the thief exited the store he got into a tussle with a 27-year-old employee who tried to stop him from taking the pricey camera. 

The thief made off with the camera after the tussle when he hopped in got a vehicle parked by a nearby TD Bank and fled.

Stolen textbooks

A man stole $1,206 worth of textbooks from the Fordham University bookstore on Sept.7.

At 1:44 p.m., a man entered the bookstore at 113 West 60th Street and proceeded to remove the sensors from five textbooks and place them his backpack.

Bike thief

A man tried to steal a high-end bicycle from an Upper West Side bike shop on Sept. 13.

At 3:40 p.m., the thief attempted to leave Toga Bike, which is located at 110 West End Avenue, with a Cervelo P2 bike worth $2,900.

According to police, a store employee tried to stop the thief from exiting the store but the suspect sprayed him in the face with pepper spray. Police said that the fled the location, breaking the shop’s $250 glass door on his way out.

Officers from the 20th precinct were able to arrest the 45-year-old man at the corner of Riverside Boulevard and 70th Street.

Note passing bank robber

A man robbed a HSBC Bank located at 2025 Broadway on Sept. 30.

At 11:15 a.m., the robber walked into the bank and passed a teller a note reading,”Robbery! Give me all the money in the draw, no games! Now!”

According to police, the teller complied and proceeded to collect money to give to the bandit, but the perp then fled the location after the teller took too long to hand over the cash.

According to officers from the 20th precinct, this is not the first time the note-passing thief has robbed upper Manhattan banks.  Officers said the48-year-old man has hit the 6th, 9th, 13th, 18th, 19th, and 20th precincts over the last few months.

After each robbery, the man flees the scene via a nearby cab or subway station.

— Alejandra O’connell-Domenech