By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police arrested a 49-year-old man for shoplifting and injuring employees that tried to stop him at the Garden of Eden on East 14th Street near Union Square last week.
An employee at the store, located at 7 East 14th Street, told police that on Thursday, February 20 around 9 p.m., the suspect removed items from the shelves and attempted to leave without paying.
When multiple employees then confronted him, the suspect reportedly said, “I will cut you,” and reached into his jacket pocket. The victim suffered a minor cut to his left hand and a bruise on his left cheek while attempting to stop the suspect. The suspect was arrested in front of the store and had been charged with robbery.
Charges are still pending against the suspect in multiple additional cases related to incidents that took place last year. The man reportedly harassed customers inside a Sprint store in Union Square, exposing himself and groping other customers that were inside.
Police said that the man went inside the store at 39 West 14th Street at the end of July. He reportedly exposed himself to the customers inside, grabbed the buttocks of two women and also caressed the hair of a male customer who was inside. He then threatened to cut one of the women that he had groped and spat in the male customer’s face twice. The suspect refused to leave after an employee asked multiple times, and said that he was also drinking out of a can of Heineken.
Earlier last July, police said that the man also removed merchandise from the Gap at 122 Fifth Avenue and the Coach store at 79 Fifth Avenue. He reportedly attempted to remove the security alarm from clothing inside the Gap with small pliers.
The suspect was additionally charged in connection with a theft that took place in Chelsea last year.