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NYC biz owner victimized by violent thieves dares ‘out of touch’ Assembly Speaker Heastie to talk to him



An outraged Manhattan clothing-store owner whose shop was ransacked twice by a violent mob says state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s refusal to toughen retail-theft laws is simply “ridiculous.

“I’d be glad to talk to him so he can learn what it’s like firsthand dealing with these problems and getting the same people who come back over and over and over again to rob us,” seethed Kenneth Giddon, co-owner of Rothman’s New York in Union Square, to The Post on Monday.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Gidden fumed after the powerful Albany pol last week scoffed at enacting harsher penalties for violent shoplifters, declaring, “I just don’t believe raising penalties is ever a deterrent on crime.”

“He’s completely out of touch,” the businssman said.

Giddon said the store he co-owns with his twin brother, Jim, was targeted by a shoplifting flash mob twice in the span of just three weeks in December 2021, as retail thefts continue to plague merchants in the five boroughs.

Kenneth Giddon (right) and his twin brother Jim said their Manhattan clothing store, Rothman’s New York in Union Square, has been ransacked by mobs of shoplifters. Stephen Yang
The Empire State continues to see its retail crime jump thanks in large part to the state’s 2019 criminal justice reforms. Stephen Yang

“We’ve had employees punched during shoplifting instances,” he said. “Retail jobs are important for the economy, but why should people work in a dangerous situation and not be protected?”

Gov. Kathy Hochul had called for tougher penalties against thugs who assault retail employees during her State of the State address in January.

But then Heastie balked at the plan, telling reporters last week that he won’t back it in the heavily Democrat Assembly.

“I don’t want to make it sound like we’re not concerned about stemming what’s happened to retail workers. We care very deeply about that,” he claimed. “We just have other ideas of how to get there.”

The Empire State continues to see its retail crime jump thanks in large part to the state’s 2019 criminal justice reforms that prohibit bail for most crimes, including non-violent offenses such as shoplifting and theft.

“Common sense says that stiffer penalties deter crime,” Giddon insisted. “People believe now that they can shoplift and not be punished for it, and that is really, really bad for our society. So what’s the next crime that you’re not going to be punished for?

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie refuses to back Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to stiffen penalties for assaults on retail workers. AP
A report earlier this month found that shoplifting costs New York State merchants about $4.4 billion a year in losses. William Farrington

“The bail law was a good idea in concept for fairness sake,” he said. “But we’ve been hit firsthand and had employees assaulted.”

A report released earlier this month estimated that New York State retailers lose $4.4 billion a year from shoplifting — with the thefts spiking 64% in the Big Apple between June 2019 and June 2023.

So far this year, city retail thefts are up more than 6.5% — or to 14,910 — compared to the same time frame in 2023, according to the latest NYPD figures.

“It’s the broken-windows theory,” Giddon said of cracking down on retail violence. “The broken-window theory is when you let little crimes go by and society breaks down.”

Heastie did not immediately respond to a Post request for comment Monday.

-Additional reporting by Carl Campanile

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