NEW YORK (PIX11) — It is a pint-sized crime trend that is sweeping parts of New York City, according to business owners: Children as young as 7 years old are robbing them blind.
On a busy late-summer night at the Amsterdam Ale House, the staff was on guard.
“After speaking with people in the industry, I realized this is a big thing,” co-owner Stephanie Slone said.
The big thing is little boys turned into alleged burglars. In several instances reviewed by PIX11 News, they were caught on surveillance cameras at several locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Restaurant and bar owners said they allegedly stole cash from customers and workers, and in two instances $1,200 from basement safes.
“They can’t see over the bar; you can barely see them!” said Slone.
But now the police are looking for them and any adults who could have put them up to this crime caper.
“I said listen I’ll call the police, [the boy] said, ‘it doesn’t matter I’m a kid they can’t do anything,'” Jacob Rabinowitz recalled of his interaction with one of them on Saturday.
Robinowicz and Slone co-own two of the bars that were hit, The Upside and Lexington Publick House.
At first, they thought it was an inside job, until lamenting with neighboring businesses.
“They should be at school after school program and doing normal kid stuff,” Rabinowitz said.
The NYPD confirmed it is investigating several of these incidents.
However, they have not yet been able to link the burglaries to a bigger organized ring with children at the center of it.
Last week at a community conversation on the Upper West Side, Mayor Eric Adams told residents he is going after quality-of-life issues.
“I need your voices,” the mayor said. “People should live in this city safe, clean, and with dignity and our children should live in the same way. And I’m not going to move off of that.”