A Brooklyn homeless man stole a straphanger’sjust hours after he dodged bail for robbing another Manhattan subway rider at knifepoint as rates continue to rise in lawless .
Agustin Garcia, 63, was arrested three times within 36 hours in a crime spree that began in the Bronx, where he allegedly stole a twelve-pack of Coors Light from a bodega on East 165th Street around 7.30 pm on November 21.
He was charged with petty larceny and turned back onto the street – a few hours later, he was back in handcuffs, according to the New York Police Department.
Garcia robbed a subway rider at knifepoint at the Canal Street subway station around 3 am on November 22, telling her to ‘stay back’ when she pursued him, police said.
He was arrested, charged with felony robbery, and released again.
Garcia boasted to NYPD cops that he would be released because he ‘didn’t have a record,’ a source told the.
Manhattan prosecutors asked that Agustin Garcia (pictured) be jailed after both of his subway robberies. He was sent to Bellevue Hospital for a 72-hour mental evaluation after his November 23 arrest, but without bail
Manhattan prosecutors requested that Garcia be held on $15,000 cash bail or a $45,000 bail bond, only to be denied by Judge James Clynes, according to . He was released again just after midnight on November 23, the outlet reported.
Just seven hours later, police arrested Garcia as he tried to climb up onto a platform from the tracks back at the West 145th Street/Lenox Avenue station. He fled into the tunnel after stealing another commuter’s iPhone.
After this third arrest he was charged with grand larceny and criminal trespass, and was sent to Bellevue Hospital for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation.
Once again, prosecutors asked that Garcia be jailed on $20,000 cash bail or a $60,000 bail bond. Again, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Valentina Morales denied the request.
Garcia’s string of arrests come as New York City continues to see an increase in crime, particularly violent incidents.
As of November 28, overall crime in NYC was up 2.61 percent, according to NYPD data. Robbery was up 3.7 percent and felony assault rose by 9 percent when compared to October of last year.
‘We can arrest people, we can cut them loose, incarcerate them, but it’s not addressing the underlying problems,’ said an anonymous, exasperated law enforcement source said to the Post.
‘There are so many underlying issues when it comes to revolving-door criminal justice problems. But by far, the No. 1 issue we see in cases… is mental health.’
Garcia’s brother, Jose, told the Post that Agustin suffers from schizophrenia, and ‘once they release him, the problem comes back again.’
‘He’s been sick for 35 years… When he goes to the hospital and is committed there, sometimes for a month or two, he sometimes doesn’t get the treatment completely, and they release him.’
Garcia has been hospitalized at Jacobi, New York-Presbyterian and Gracie Square hospitals, his brother said.
Once, his brother said, he was ‘sharp as a weasel,’ and worked as a supervisor for a welding company. But after he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1987, his life began to unravel.
Recently he had been living in Harlem, but moved into the Brooklyn homeless shelter after he was evicted. He stops taking his medications, Jose said, because he thinks ‘God will come down and cure him.’
‘I tell him, “You’ve got to understand that God gave humans the power to make those medications so you can survive. Use it!”‘ he told the Post. ‘When he stops using it, we lose him. Forget it.’
Lucian Chalfen, a spokesperson for the Office of Court Administration, told the Post that the judges who set Garcia free were exercising their discretion, as they are authorized to do:
As of November 28, overall crime in NYC was up 2.61 percent, according to NYPD data. Murders, however, had decreased by 1.2 percent when compared to October 2020
‘Nearly 300 defendants are arraigned every day in New York City Criminal Court,’ he said. ‘“The one thing they all have in common is … a criminal court judge who, with purposely enacted, extremely limited discretion, must foretell the future.’
‘[Judges] are the individuals holding up a metal rod as the thunder and lightning of our criminal justice system that no one wants to address passes over.’
Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio has blamed the courts for New York City’s skyrocketing crime numbers as he touted a small decrease in the murder rate while ignoring an 11 percent jump in overall crime over October 2020.
‘In this city, real change is happening. We’ve got more to do for sure but real change is happening,’ de Blasio said during a recent press conference. ‘It’s about precision policing, it’s about neighborhood policing, these approaches work.’
Another frustrated law enforcement source also bemoaned what they called the badly broken legal system:
‘When we see the same [defendant] over and over … we see the same red flags,’ the source told the Post. ‘People are entering the system with serious mental, emotional illness and are coming out the same, if not worse.’
‘Bail reform is all well and good, but you have an obligation to do better than just send people who need a high level of care on their way so as not only to keep from reoffending but keep themselves safe. Ultimately that’s what keeps the community safe.’
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