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‘Man of Steal’ speaks: thief with 46 arrests exploited metropolis’s fears — and jail would possibly save his life


The serial thief who led town in shoplifting busts final 12 months with a staggering 46 arrests says he exploited his Queens neighborhood’s fears, lax retailer safety and soft-on crime prosecutors, throughout an unique jailhouse interview with The Post.

Isaac Rodriguez, who made the paper’s Oct. 3, 2021 entrance web page because the “Man of Steal,” pilfered a Jackson Heights Walgreens at will — at the very least 37 instances final 12 months — loading up on something he might simply flip for money, which he then shortly transformed to heroin-cocaine speedballs.

Eyewitnesses? Never a priority.

“Where I come from, people mind their business, and if they don’t, bad things happen to them,” Sir Isaac Lootin’ mentioned within the candid 50-minute video sitdown from Rikers Island. “I’m from the hood.

“Some employees would try to talk to me, but they would never touch me.”

The 23-year-old serial criminal would stroll in with a bag and fill it up with protein drinks, physique lotion, toothpaste, cleaning soap and tampons. He then offered the loot on the road or to pawn retailers for drug money.

“Stealing was the only way I knew to get money fast to tend to my habit,” mentioned Rodriguez, whose solely “real job” was promoting merch on the U.S. Open in Queens.

Rodriguez would promote the objects he shoplifted and use the cash to purchase medication.
Steven Hirsch

Nearly 4 dozen arrests and journeys via Gotham’s revolving-door justice system did nothing to gradual his stealing.

It solely fed his ego.

“I may have got caught 46 times — I can’t tell you the number, but I got away a lot more than that,” he boasted.

Rodriguez was lastly sentenced in January to serve till at the very least Dec. 19 in Rikers after shoplifting from a Walgreens in Corona the place there was an order of safety in opposition to him.

Ironically, Rodriguez believes lastly getting despatched to jail would possibly save his life.

Rodriguez was dubbed the "Man of Steal" on the cover of The Post last year.

Rodriguez was dubbed the “Man of Steal” on the duvet of The Post final 12 months.

With just below 200 days remaining on his sentence, Rodriguez says he’s clear and swears he’s a modified man. He mentioned he intends to get his GED diploma and finish his lifetime of crime.

“This is a blessing in disguise. I know that I wasn’t going to be sober if I was still out there,” he mentioned. “I would’ve died sooner or later.”  

The metropolis’s military of brazen shoplifters is a reasonably new phenomenon — the product of reforms which have eradicated pretrial detention and money bail for many misdemeanor and non-violent felonies, together with grand larceny. Perps may be apprehended time and again solely to be hit with nothing greater than a courtroom summons.

So far in 2021, petty and grand larcenies are up 42% and 51%, respectively, citywide in comparison with the identical time final 12 months.

Rodriguez was sentenced in January to serve nearly a year at Rikers Island for shoplifting from a Walgreens in Corona, Queens.
Rodriguez was sentenced in January to serve almost a 12 months at Rikers Island for shoplifting from a Walgreens in Corona, Queens.
J.C.Rice

In the a hundred and fifteenth Precinct, the place Rodriguez did nearly all of his shoplifting, grand larcenies are up 99% from 206 final 12 months to 410 now.

“It’s zero deterrence, and shoplifters take full advantage of it,” former NYPD sergeant and John Jay College professor Joseph Giacalone mentioned. “You have politicians saying people are stealing food because they need to survive, but here’s a guy admitting that he’s doing it for drugs. Most of it is drug related.”

Socialists like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have bashed the NYPD for catching shoplifters stealing child formulation and Pampers diapers, implying they have to’ve been destitute and making an attempt to care for his or her youngsters.

Former NYPD officer Eugene O’Donnell mentioned that’s a fable that wants a dose of actuality.

“The truth is most people who are poor don’t steal,” he mentioned. “Allowing widespread looting and theft from stores is not the answer to social inequalities.”



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