Connect with us

Shopping

NY Home Depot hires guards, dogs to keep parking lot safe from thieves, aggressive migrants

Published

on

A New York Home Depot has deployed a guard dog — and other stores may be close behind — to protect shoppers from aggressive migrants and thieves flooding their parking lots, The Post has learned.

Two men wearing MSA Security caps and bulletproof vests with a German shepherd in tow patrolled the Home Depot in New Rochelle on Tuesday.

“It’s more about omnipresence,” one guard said, explaining that the company was contracted a few weeks ago. “It’s not like we let them go bite anyone or anything.”

Persistent migrants flood the parking lot of the Home Depot in Throggs Neck, the Bronx. Aristide Economopoulos

The guard said the store hired them for a number of reasons. 

“It’s not just because of [migrants], but because of a myriad of other things too, like people breaking into cars, that kind of stuff,” he said. 

The guarded New Rochelle lot was quiet and no migrants loitered there when The Post visited this week, though seven miles away in Throggs Neck, the Bronx, at least 30 male migrants hovered at the doors of Home Depot.

Some were day laborers simply trying to “shape” for work with local contractors.

But many others aggressively confronted shoppers, trying to sell them phony Apple Airpods or soliciting tips for lifting items from shopping carts into cars — even when uninvited.

Two men wearing MSA Security caps and bulletproof vests with a German shepherd in tow guarded the Home Depot in New Rochelle on Tuesday.

“You come out and you’re a woman by yourself, they literally leech onto your wagon, and you’re like, ‘No, I don’t need any help,’” one worker said. “And when they’re following you to your car, it’s unnerving.”

She said a female supervisor saw one of the men washing his privates with a water bottle in the lot, and that several women have called customer service to complain that migrants robbed them of purses or phones.

She’s seen the number of grifters in the lot swell as the migrant population in New York City explodes.

The Post witnessed migrants aggressively confronting shoppers, many soliciting tips for lifting items from shopping carts into cars, at the Home Depot in Throggs Neck, the Bronx. Jeenah Moon

“I came to work one day and there had to be 100 guys out here,” she said. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, my God!’”

A regular customer at the store, who asked to be identified only as Cheryl, said she and her husband had a frightening encounter last month.

A man wearing an MSA Security caps and a bulletproof vest had a German shepherd in tow, guarding the Home Depot in New Rochelle on Tuesday.

A man “practically runs over and he goes to point like, ‘Can I take the stuff,’ and my husband said, ‘No, thank you,’” she recalled, noting that they only had a couple of boxes and a paint scraper.

“He’s still keeps following, like on top of us,” she said. “I said, ‘No, thank you.’” 

When her husband turned around to open the car door, the man “put his hand” on one of the boxes in their cart. “My husband said, ‘Don’t touch anything.’”

But the man didn’t stop.

“When they’re following you to your car, it’s unnerving,” said a Home Depot employee outside the store in Throggs Neck, the Bronx. Aristide Economopoulos

“So I held up my pepper spray and I yelled, ‘He said don’t touch,’” she recalled.

“And all of a sudden he goes, ‘Oh, you don’t have to yell at me’ … but he started looking like he was getting angry. So we just hurried up and jumped in the car.”

She called Home Depot’s Atlanta headquarters to complain but got “the brushoff,” she said. A regional manager then told her they were working on bringing security dogs to two Bronx stores.

One migrant at the Throggs Neck location, who said he was from Senegal, told The Post he makes about $300 a day. Jeenah Moon

Customers frequently complain about the crush of migrants, said LaurieAnn Masciocco, who works in the store’s customer service department.

“It’s come to the point where they’re invading personal space, touching people’s belongings, just harassing,” she said. “I get it, you’re trying to make a buck. But when it becomes aggressive and harassing, there’s a major issue.” 

Her husband went four miles away to the Pelham Gardens location in the Bronx earlier this month and he got mobbed there too, she said.

“I came to work one day and there had to be 100 guys out here,” an employee of the Throggs Neck Home Depot told The Post. Jeenah Moon

One 52-year-old Mexican national, Jimeno, who has lived in the Bronx since arriving in the United States 20 years ago, was at the Throggs Neck store seeking legitimate work from contractors.

“There are a lot of people who have been coming here for a lot of years … asking people for jobs in construction and if they need help with projects,” he told The Post in Spanish. “We come here to find work.” 

He said the recent arrivals who aggressively solicit for tips have made it harder for the day laborers to find work.

Home Depot corporate spokeswoman Margaret Smith said the company prohibits loitering and solicitation at its stores. Jeenah Moon

“This affects us a lot, because now people don’t want to communicate with us because they’re scared,” he said. “They confuse us with them.” 

One migrant at the Throggs Neck location, who said he was from Senegal, told The Post he makes about $300 a day, charging $10 every time he helps a customer push their cart or move their purchases into their vehicle.

Home Depot corporate spokeswoman Margaret Smith said the company prohibits loitering and solicitation at its stores and regularly works with law enforcement. She would not say if the Bronx stores will add security, including dogs.

“While we can’t go into specifics about our security measures,” she said, “it’s not unusual for us to use third-party security at various stores across the country.”

Continue Reading