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41 repeat offenders account for 147 Upper East Side robberies: NYPD

Police say a few dozen career criminals known to cops are responsible for the bulk of the robberies on the Upper East Side.

The 41 repeat offenders are responsible for an impressive 147 thefts in the upscale neighborhood, according to 19th District Commander Melissa Eger.

“It’s really driven by shoplifting and robbery,” she recently told the precinct’s community council.

Repeat offenders include Michelle Mckelley, 42, a shoplifter with 96 prior arrests who was recently caught robbing a Target on Third Avenue; and serial thief Jamel Pringle, 39, who had a jaw-dropping 167 arrests under his belt when he was caught stealing from a Rite Ade on Second Avenue, cops said.

“I’m broke, I’m homeless, and I steal for a living,” Pringle told The Post in February.

Major crime in 19th, which stretches from East 59th Street to East 96th, is up 37% from a year ago, according to NYPD data. In 2022, the commissioner recorded:

  • 402 armed robberies — up 42%
  • 950 petty thefts — up 52%
  • 57 flights – up 46%
  • 35 car thefts — up 52%

An employee of a CVS on East 86th Street told the Post that they deal with shoplifters every day and have been targeted by at least four repeat offenders they recognize.

Michelle McKelley was recently arrested despite having 96 previous arrests.
Steven Hirsch

“They steal a lot of cough and cold products and makeup,” the employee said. “The minute we see this happen, we tell them to leave, then call the cops, who take forever. Sometimes people get angry, throw things away and destroy products.

A shoplifter recently became aggressive at the pharmacy, throwing groceries and smashing open bottles of NyQuil and DayQuil, employees said.

A representative from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Alvin Bragg, has issued an apology for the troubling catch-and-release trend, telling residents at the precinct’s community council meeting that strict discovery laws allow criminals to easily avoid the consequences and steal again.

“There is very little time for us to pass on a lot of information to the defense attorney and his client, and if it’s not done in ‘X’ time, this case may be thrown out,” said said Kevin JeanBaptiste, Bragg’s supervisor. of community involvement.

But residents said repeat offenders are tearing the neighborhood apart.

“I was born and raised in Yorkville, and I’ve never been afraid to walk the streets, but now I’m starting to reconsider that,” Kathryn Jolowics, 82, who keeps her keys handy for to fight. be abusers, told the Post. “I’m nervous coming home late at night. Some of the blocks are just totally dark where people can just climb up and attack innocent bystanders or rob them.

Traders said state bail reform laws passed in 2019 lead to thefts and only inconvenience the victims.

41 repeat offenders account for 147 Upper East Side robberies: NYPD
Major crimes increased by 37% compared to last year in the 19th arrondissement.
Christopher Sadowski

“It’s daunting to go through trouble, show up at the police department, fill out paperwork, answer questions, cooperate as much as possible, only to hear from officers that there’s a very good chance, if ever the culprit is caught, they’ll be back on the streets in a very short time,” said Dave Goodside, owner of the Beach Cafe on 2nd Avenue.

He doesn’t even waste time calling the cops at the restaurant, he said.

Goodside said it has noticed regular shoplifting at stores like Target, Walgreens and CVS — brand monoliths that facilitate brands.

“Companies have done the math. It’s much cheaper to stay away and let the culprit go,” he said. “If a confrontation turns physical and an employee or customer is injured, the company faces a whole host of legal issues and medical bills.”

Community Board 8 chairman Russel Squire lamented: “If people see others committing these crimes and getting away with it, it gives a real sense of lawlessness to the community. We need to give judges more discretion.