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Shoplifting Suspect Escapes From Police Custody In East Harlem While Handcuffed

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A man escaped from police custody in East Harlem on Saturday afternoon.

Police said the man was suspected of shoplifting at a Duane Reade on East 102nd Street between Park and Madison avenues shortly before 12:30 p.m.

When officers arrived, the man resisted arrest, police said. He was handcuffed behind his back, about to get into a cruiser when he took off running, CBS2's Jessica Borg reported.

"I'm not sure how he was able to do that, but I don't know the situation the cops were in either," East Harlem resident Jeevan Sunny said.

"That's pretty scary that someone is out loose," another woman said.

Police could be seen going into nearby residential buildings throughout the day in search of the man, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.

"Mistakes happen. I think he was shoplifting, which I don't know why you would run from the cops if you were just shoplifting... you're not going to go to jail for like 20 years for that," East Harlem resident Joseph Rodriguez said. "But running away from the cops is probably."

"It's crazy. I don't know how he did that, but it is what it is, a lot of people doing crazy things out here now these days," another woman said.

Three surveillance videos, one obtained exclusively by CBS2, show the man as he approaches the store and as he leaves.

The suspect, described as a black man in his 20s about 5 feet 11 inches tall wearing all green, fled east on 102nd Street, then north on Park Avenue.

Last year, there were at least three cases of suspects escaping police custody. The year before, there were at least six.

People in the neighborhood say they want the man caught, and soon.

"They should have taken whatever action they needed to incarcerate them. You do the crime, you pay the time," Alesha Rodriguez said.

Store employees had no comment on the case.

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