A recent crime tale unfolding in Manhattan and Brooklyn bars is straight out of “Oliver Twist,” with a host of tiny thieves looking no older than 10.
The NYPD appears helpless in catching the pit-sized perps; let’s hope it has detectives working to nab the “Fagin” who’s recruited them.
A manager at Amsterdam Ale House on the Upper West Side says the kiddie crime wave began at least eight months back when a pair of children swiped items from unattended bags — with one young’un flashing a knife when confronted.
One bunch of brats made off with $600 from an open safe; another swiped $700 from a different bar safe at Lexington Publick.
One prepubescent pilferer reportedly boasted, “The police can’t arrest me, I’m just a kid.”
The kid’s half right. Cops can arrest him, but his case would be adjudicated in Family Court, where the drill is essential, “sit them down with juice and cookies, then send them home.”
Elsewhere, the NYPD reports that crews of migrants have been using their children as decoys to pickpocket unsuspecting tourists in Times Square: Pickpocket complaints there have soared 222% year-over-year, a rise that NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell calls “earth-shattering.”
One mother nabbed by cops was observed pickpocketing while pushing her baby in a stroller.
Are “asylum seekers” behind it all? Hard to say, since “sanctuary city” policies prevent cops from demanding to know the immigration status of anyone they manage to arrest, though police say the kids usually claim to be from Central or South America.
In the London of Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist,” it’s one villain, Fagin, teaching orphan boys to pick pockets.
In today’s New York, it’s more likely to be a gang of Fagins, training kids to be far more hard-core: We don’t think the Artful Dodger ever threatened to knife anyone.
And the NYPD needs to get on top of it, or the city will inevitably see more of it.
“It seems impossible to keep them away, and it’s frustrating that nothing is being done about it,” Jacob Rabinowitz, owner of the Amsterdam Ale House, told The Post.
Again, we hope the issue is on Police Commissioner Edwin Caban’s radar, with the Detective Bureau already at work.
And the Legislature, when it deigns to get back to work, has a duty to re-think juvenile justice generally, since the Raise the Age law already has criminal gangs recruiting young teens to do dirty work.
At a minimum, it has to be easier to address hard-core juvenile crime via Criminal Court, not Family Court.
New laws ensuring that Fagins get sent away for a serious hard time won’t hurt, either.