Serial thief with 168 arrests given bail by Manhattan judge; NYPD jokes about ‘frequent flier miles’

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There are career criminals and then there is shoplifter Jamel Pringle, who has just been arrested for the 168th time — this time, in Queens — after attempting to walk out of a Rite Aid store on Second Avenue with $430 worth of stolen goods.

Pringle, 39, was once again charged with petit larceny which, under New York’s new criminal justice reform law, is considered a misdemeanor and not a bail-eligible offense, according to the New York Post.

Police sources told the Post that Pringle has become a bit of a joke among New York’s finest, stating that he “gets frequent flier miles” through what has become a revolving door for thieves who are arrested and then freed on supervised release.

Despite the disturbing trend, New York lawmakers are insisting the controversial bail reforms, which were passed in 2019, are working. In a Bail Reform FAQs section on the New York State Senate’s official government website, the NY Senate claims, “Bail reform is working. Current data show that the vast majority of people released were not re-arrested.”

It’s hardly a comforting claim for New Yorkers, who have seen a recent surge in shoplifting crimes. The issue was highlighted by liberal actor Michael Rapaport, who posted a video last month of another Rite Aid store getting hit.

In the case of Jamel Pringle, a Manhattan judge had finally had enough. At the request of prosecutors, she ordered Pringle be held on bail, stating she didn’t think he’d return to court if she didn’t.

“It would take me all day to go through this rap sheet,” said Judge Rachel Pauley at Pringle’s arraignment, before setting his bail at $5,000 cash or a $10,000 bond.

The office of District Attorney Alvin Bragg made the request, citing an amendment to the bail-reform law that “allows repeat offenders who commit a new felony or class A misdemeanor while out on a similar offense to have bail set if both crimes involved harm to a person or property,” stated the Post.

Pringle certainly qualifies.

According to Assistant DA Cory Robinson, his criminal history includes one felony conviction, 88 misdemeanors, and, perhaps most relevant to Judge Pauley, 39 failures to appear.

Earlier this month, Pringle was given a desk appearance ticket after police caught him exposing himself inside a CVS. This followed another charge of public lewdness just two weeks prior — this time in a NY pizza place — for which Pringle took a plea deal.

According to police sources, in the month of January alone, he was arrested for petit larceny on the 9th, 10th, 12, and 26th in Staten Island, Queens and in Manhattan.

As Robinson pointed out, another open misdemeanor case from July 2021 alleges that Pringle chased after a parent and their son with a stick, stating: “I’m going to kill you.”

Even creepier, Pringle has been accused of lurking outside a barbershop window, mouthing the words, “I’m going to get you,” to a child inside.

According to Robinson, Pringle only shows up for his court hearings when he’s arraigned for another crime, adding that he “has been given every opportunity” to comply with court orders, yet never seems to do so.

But, according to Pringle’s lawyer, Legal Aid’s Richell Lisboa, he hasn’t failed to comply out of defiance, but because he’s been in and out of psych wards.

“He doesn’t need punishment,” she stated in court. “He needs treatment.”

While Judge Pauley agreed, she maintained her lack of confidence that he would make his appointments.

“He’s not going to show up,” the judge stated, prompting the defense attorney to say, “It’s not up to you to say that he’s not going to show up.”

Pauley corrected Lisboa’s assertation, “It actually is up to me. Your client has shown over 39 times that he’s not going to show up.”

Pringle was heard saying, “I am in the hospital,” as he was dragged out of the courtroom.

He is due back in front of the judge on Friday.


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