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East Harlem store among the 9 locations Target is closing due to thefts and organized retail crime

Target closing 9 stores nationwide due to theft and organized retail crime
Target closing 9 stores nationwide due to theft and organized retail crime 02:11

NEW YORK -- Target announced Tuesday it's closing nine stores across the country, including the one in East Harlem.

It comes after reports of thefts and organized retail crime threatening the safety of employees and customers.

For many, the store on East 117th Street is an indispensable part of the community.

"It's close by and convenient for when I need things," shopper Nicole Martin said.

READ MORETarget says it's closing 9 stores because of surging retail thefts

But soon, Martin will have to find a new place to shop after the company announced on Tuesday that on Oct. 21 it's shutting down the location, along with eight others in the country due to crime.

"Now, I'm going to have to travel to 86th Street or something," Martin said.

Customers are disappointed, but company officials say they had no choice. The theft has been threatening the safety of employees and customers.

"We have taken officers and we put them either in the garage at different times of the day, different hours with the lights on to increase the visibility here," said Deputy Inspector Raul Maisonet, the commanding officer of the NYPD's 25th Precinct.

Maisonet said the company has been working with the NYPD, paying and adding officers for security. But still, there crime persists.

"Every other time I was here there was someone stealing something," shopper Rebecca Coons said.

"The other day I was here, in the bathroom and they pulled the fire alarm, so there are a lot of issues here. Guess if I owned it I would close it, too," shopper Charles Baker said.

Police said the reports of thefts at the Target this year are consistent with the number from last year, and they say small and big items tickets are being taken and thieves are finding ways to make money off of them.

"We see it online. We see things being sold on the street sometimes," Maisonet said.

The company said it has implemented theft-deterrent tools, but added, "Despite our efforts, unfortunately, we continue to face fundamental challenges to operating these stores safely and successfully."

Another retail location is going for good, leaving customers looking for other options.

"This is going to be a ghost town. Half the stores in here are already empty," Coons said.

NYPD data shows that overall larceny in the 25th Precinct is down from last year.

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