A homeless man in Brooklyn arrested three times in 36 hours boasted to police he would avoid being held on bail because he “didn’t have a record,” the New York Post reported Sunday.
The man was eventually proved to be correct, the outlet said.
“Agustin Garcia, 63, was charged with robbing two Manhattan straphangers — wielding a knife against one of them — and stealing a beer from a Bronx bodega in rapid succession,” prosecutors and law enforcement sources explained to the Post.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 28, 2021
Prosecutors asked two times that Garcia be held on bail during the alleged crime spree, but were denied by judges.
It was not until the suspect was caught a third time that he was taken to Bellevue Hospital to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, but still with no bail to detain him.
“We can arrest people, we can cut them loose, incarcerate them, but it’s not addressing the underlying problems,” a law-enforcement source noted, adding the number one problem seen in cases was mental health.
Garcia’s brother, Jose, acknowledged the source was correct regarding the case.
“My brother is a sick person,” Jose Garcia said during an interview with the Post, adding Agustin has schizophrenia. “He’s been sick for the past 35 years.”
The suspect’s alleged crime spree began November 21 when officers said he took a dozen cans of beer from a bodega in the Bronx. He was later charged with petty larceny, the Post report continued:
Cops released him on a desk-appearance ticket pending a court hearing. Then just a few hours later, Garcia was back in handcuffs. Police said he was busted again around 3 a.m. Nov. 22 at the Canal Street subway station in Manhattan after allegedly stealing a straphanger’s backpack and pulling a knife on her while warning her to “stay back” when she followed him.
“I know I’m getting out,” the suspect told officers following his arrest, the sources said. “I have no record.”
Garcia, who reportedly had no earlier convictions, was charged with felony robbery, and prosecutors requested he be held on $15,000 cash bail or a bond of $45,000.
However, the man was let go on supervised release with no bail thanks to Manhattan Criminal Court Judge James Clynes.
“Back on the street again, the suspect stole an iPhone from another straphanger at the West 145th Street/Lenox Avenue subway station around 7:15 a.m. Nov. 23 and fled with it into the subway tunnel,” authorities told the Post.
Officers nabbed him when he attempted to climb a subway platform back inside the station, according to sources. Garcia was eventually charged with grand larceny and also criminal trespassing.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office tried to put Garcia in jail and recommended he be kept there on $20,000 cash bail or a bond of $60,000.
“But Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Valentina Morales denied the request and instead ordered a 72-hour psych evaluation for Garcia at Bellevue,” the Post article read.
The hospital told the outlet the suspect remained there on Sunday.
Several laws took effect at the start of 2020 in New York, including one that would release potentially dangerous suspects from jail, CBS New York reported in December 2019:
New York’s bail reform law eliminates pretrial detention and cash bail for the vast majority of misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases. Hundreds of offenses such as stalking, grand larceny, assault as a hate crime, and second degree manslaughter will no longer be eligible for bail or pretrial detention.
According to the Post, a spokesman with the state court system explained judges who did not set bail for Garcia used their own discretion because they are authorized to do so under the law.