Actress Cynthia Nixon has been described as out-of-touch by the owner of her local CVS in Manhattan, after she criticized the store for putting some of its products under lock and key.
The Sex and The City star on Thursday tweeted that it saddened her to see the products behind glass, and said prosecuting poor people was not the solution.
Yet Vincent, the manager of the SoHo CVS close to Nixon’s $3.2 million apartment, said she was not living in the real world.
‘Miss Cynthia Nixon, I don’t think you understand what is going on,’ he told DailyMail.com
‘If you feel that way, maybe one day you should come here and see what we go through.
‘Because people are in danger too – they come in here, and start with customers.’
Vincent, who manages Cynthia Nixon’s local CVS in SoHo, said that the Sex and the City actress was unrealistic to ask for the locks on products in his store to be removed. He said the shelves were regularly raided, with people carting away backpacks full of items, which were then sold on to local bodegas
CVS has for years put many of its small, pricey and easy-to-steal items behind clear plastic cages. To buy, customers must call a shop attendant, who arrives with a key to unlock the desired shelf
Nixon in a recent Zoom appearance. She lives in $3.2million apartment in SoHo, one of Manhattan’s most expensive neighborhoods, and on Thursday complained about her local CVS pharmacy
Vincent said he had no choice but to lock away some of the most valuable and easily-stolen products, such as pricey skincare creams, toothpastes, detergent and cosmetics, because they were regularly stolen and resold to bodegas.
He said the scale of the theft was shocking.
‘The main reason why we are doing lockdown is because it’s not a petty crime any more,’ he said.
‘They are going above and beyond, and taking shelves. They are putting it in knapsacks and taking everything.’
He told Nixon that he has sympathy for those New Yorkers suffering financially, but said he did not believe those stealing were doing it out of hunger.
‘The empathy for the people I have – If they take one item, I’m not going to stop them,’ he said.
‘But they clear shelves.
‘It’s not about them surviving to eat. It’s about getting money to buy drugs.’
Vincent managed this SoHo branch of CVS, which is closest to Cynthia Nixon’s home which she shares with her wife and their three children
The SoHo store is in one of the most affluent areas of Manhattan, and attracted thieves with backpacks waiting to empty the shelves
Small, expensive, creams for the face and hands were among the most prized objects for thieves, Vincent said, because they can easily be stolen and sold on
Toothpaste, which is always behind lock and key, is another item which Vincent said is sought-after by thieves in his store
The products are stolen and sold at local bodegas, he said
Vincent said that locking away some of the products was for the good of all customers, who did not want to be confronted by empty shelves, pillaged by looters.
‘I just want the people out there to know that we try to keep a safe environment, so when people come out to shop there are items on the shelves. Not stolen. And that’s what it’s all about,’ he said.
‘We try to keep it safe and be courteous to everyone. Including the people who come in to steal.
‘I hope this gets out there.
‘This CVS is not about locking down, and not giving to the customers.
‘It’s about making sure the items are still on the shelves for them to buy.’
The actress and failed New York gubernatorial candidate tweeted on Thursday that she had noticed her local CVS in SoHo had ‘started’ locking up ‘basic items like clothing detergent.’
‘As so many families can’t make ends meet right now, I can’t imagine thinking that the way to solve the problem of people stealing basic necessities out of desperation is to prosecute them,’ Nixon tweeted.
She was condemned by people who said the solution was not to invite theft. CVS, Walgreens and Duane Reade have been locking up items for years to deter thieves amid a widespread decriminalization of shoplifting.
Nixon was responding to a tweet which pointed out that several Manhattan DA and Mayoral candidates say they would not prosecute shoplifting because it ‘criminalizes poverty’.
Critics said her tweet pointed to how irregularly she visited the stores, which have been locking things up since long before the pandemic began.
Vincent said that he has sympathy for those in need, but he did not believe those stealing from his store were taking food for themselves or their families. He said it was to resell the goods and buy drugs
The CVS manager said he would not stop someone from stealing food that they desperately needed, but he had to prevent his shelves from being ransacked
Vincent said taking items out of their locked cases would encourage a free-for-all and mean there was nothing left on the shelves for his genuine customers
CVS is not the only store to employ such tactics. Walgreens, Duane Reade and Rite Aid all keep some of their products locked behind plastic cases
Her comment about CVS on Thursday came as Governor Andrew Cuomo warned of the escalating crime rate in New York City, which has become so high he said New Yorkers no longer feel safe.
Crime in New York City soared by 30 per cent this week compared to the same week last year and robberies were 70 per cent higher.
Cuomo warned that if it doesn’t settle soon, it’ll hamper New York’s economic recovery from COVID.
Over the past four weeks murders in the city are up 67 per cent from 27 in the same period last year to 45.
Rapes are up 25 per cent, robberies 54 per cent. Shootings have risen by a staggering 130 per cent.
Shoppers told DailyMail.com that the restrictions certainly made their lives a little more complicated, but they fully understood why stores needed to keep products inside locked cases
Expensive facial creams such as these, which retail for almost $40 for a small pot, were particularly attractive to thieves
Electrical goods such as shavers were enticing to thieves, and would be appealing to resell on the black market
Some of the most valuable products were kept in even stronger cases, to deter more determined thieves
Shampoos, conditioners and shower gels were all considered fair game by the thieves
Small tubs of body creams and facial moisturizers were attractive targets for thieves
Vincent said he locked the products up out of necessity
Last spring, in a bid to slow the transmission of the virus, the city started housing thousands of homeless people in hotel rooms left empty as tourists fled.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to end that program at the end of June. Then those people will be back on the streets.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. is so concerned he is calling for a commission ‘that reaches beyond law enforcement and the justice system to gather the information necessary to issue evidence-based recommendations on all local problems that implicate safety and justice-involvement for New Yorkers, from housing to mental health to bail,’ he wrote in an op-ed in the New York Daily News.
So far this year, shooting incidents in the city are up 82 percent from last year, and murders are 22 percent from last year and 45 percent from 2019 levels.
In total in 2021, there have been 32,695 major crimes reported. There have been nearly 400 more major crimes reported this week in New York than there were in the same week last year – a surge in 30 per cent.
Another shopper at CVS told DailyMail.com she found the locking up of products irritating, but understandable given the crime.
‘It annoys me, if I come to CVS and anything I want to grab and go is locked up,’ she said.
‘But I get it. Otherwise it’s grab and go.
‘It hurts me that so many people struggle to get by.
‘I want my CVS open, of course. I want them to stay in business.’
The woman, who lived in SoHo and owned a business, said crime in the city she has called home for the past 20 years was almost as bad as the 1980s.
‘It’s terrible,’ she said.
‘I’ve seen things… It’s been 20 years I’ve lived here. It’s like the 80s.
‘I have a business in the neighborhood. We cannot leave the door of our business open. We lock the door and buzz people up.
‘I don’t wear my nice watch to work. In the subway I’m nervous. I don’t ride with a fancy handbag. I have a fabric tote.
‘I don’t really recall of being aware of not making myself noticed until recently. It’s not even during the pandemic – it’s lately.’