When a perp that even let-’em-loose District Attorney Alvin Bragg thinks should be locked up pre-trial is set free, no bail needed, you know something’s horribly amiss with New York’s criminal-justice system.
It’s easy to see why even the usually soft-on-crime Manhattan DA wanted Lorenzo McLucas behind bars, ASAP. The serial shoplifter has chalked up a mind-boggling 122 arrests (50 this year alone); letting him walk and thinking he wouldn’t rob again is the very definition of insanity.
Bragg’s office told The Post it would’ve asked for pre-trial detention here, but thanks to New York’s screwed-up bail laws, the repeat offender couldn’t be detained.
“It’s f–king ridiculous,” a veteran detective fumed to The Post. “They just keep letting him out, and he does the same thing again. I feel so bad for the people who own retail stores.”
McLucas is far from the sole example of this pathology, yet much of the blame lies with Bragg himself. This week, he cut a break for two women accused of attacking cops. Earlier this month, Nolan Gonzalez, a sticky-fingered fellow with a long rap sheet, was let go after Bragg’s office downgraded his charges.
There’s also Laron Mack — “I steal for a living” is his actual motto — who has notched up 50-plus busts. James Connelly was busted in December last year for involvement in 28 separate incidents over three months. The list goes on and on . . .
Bragg may be slowly starting to shift, at least on some cases. “We cannot accept a system where individuals who shoplift again and again cycle in and out of jail, just to shoplift again,” he said recently.
His office is reportedly working with business groups on a number of efforts to fight back against retail theft, including asking for pretrial detention when shoplifters have felony convictions and aggregating misdemeanor retail crimes into felonies.
But he’s yet to acknowledge that this situation in large part his fault. His policies — starting with those in his Day 1 memo, which outlines the sentences he won’t seek and the charges he’ll downgrade, and which is still largely in force — played a big role in getting us here, by making it easier for even repeat crooks to get back on the streets quickly and by signaling to cops and law-abiding citizens that massive amounts of public unsafety would be tolerated.
Consider the words of Isaac “Man of Steal” Rodriguez, who was finally locked up in January after dozens of arrests for stealing to support his drug habit. Rodriguez actually credits his prison stint with saving his life.
DA Bragg should listen to crooks like Rodriguez, if not to the citizens whose lives and property depend on him.