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Union Claims NYPD Has Abandoned Bodegas; Meeting Planned With Commissioner Shea

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Bodega owners across the city are begging police for a stronger response to escalating violent crimes inside their stores.

They are demanding to meet with the city's top cop and CBS2's Dave Carlin took their message directly to him on Sunday.

Surveillance video shows a woman rampaging with a butcher's knife in the aisles of a Bronx bodega. Clerks who work there said she reacted this way because she was told to wear a mask or leave.

She stayed and made a big mess, ruining merchandise by going shelf to shelf stabbing and slashing it.

MOREBodega Owners Say NYPD's Response To Increase In Robberies Is Lacking

The incident happened the morning of July 31 in Lisbeth Supermarket on Watson Avenue, owned by Wascar Soto.

"We added it. In all, it was $7,000 something," Soto said, adding he had no issue with how the police did their jobs, but he said it did take them a while to respond.

Also on the store's surveillance video, officers are seen standing in an aisle, sizing up the chaotic situation.

The woman was arrested, and Carlin has learned she was given a desk appearance ticket and released. Soto reiterated police followed proper procedure.

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Members of the United Bodegas of America say New York City, specifically its police department, has abandoned deli owners and workers. They point to numerous incidents of violence, shoplifting and harassment.

"We are scheduled to meet with Commissioner Shea. We are waiting for a date and a time because we want to know from him what options do we have?" United Bodegas of America spokesman Fernando Mateo said..

Carlin went to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, who was at a youth basketball event. He said his officers are out on the street working hard, and he welcomes the chance to tell the bodega owners that personally.

"So, you'll tell them you will in fact meet with them in person?" Carlin asked.

"The calls have been made and will meet with anyone," Shea responded.

Bodega owners plan to tell him enforcing mask regulations puts them in danger, and if cops don't properly protect them they'll do it, themselves.

Commissioner Shea concedes keeping those caught terrorizing bodegas off the streets recently became tougher than it was. He blames legislative and policy changes that interfere with officer discretion.

"When someone goes into a bodega today in New York City and steals they're going to be issued a desk appearance ticket. They could do it the next five times and that's exactly what's going to happen then," Shea said. "That's a little crazy. We need commonsense standards. We need the police to be able to police."

Bodega owners and Commissioner Shea are in agreement that what's plaguing these small businesses can't be fixed with a hands-off approach or slaps on the wrists by the courts.

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