Advertisement

Video shows brazen thieves robbing bubble tea joint in Fulton Center — as retail manager threatens to leave over rising crime

Newly surfaced videos show brazen thieves stealing cash from a Fulton Transit Center bubble tea shop – as the retail giant that runs the hub threatens to leave over rising crime.

In one video obtained by The Post, a man is seen in the Fulton Gong Cha in November 2022 poking his head around the plastic barriers surrounding the register. The thief then reaches over, opens the register and leans over the counter to seize a handful of cash, the video shows.

He slips his hand out just as an employee runs up, then takes off — leaving bewildered workers in his wake.

The retail giant that runs the Fulton Transit Center in Lower Manhattan wants out of its management lease — and it’s citing crime and a dispute over construction fees as the reasons why. Robert Miller
The retail giant that runs the Fulton Transit Center in Lower Manhattan wants out of its management lease — and it’s citing crime and a dispute over construction fees as the reasons why. Robert Miller
A man was caught on camera in November 2022 reaching over the counter, opening the cash register and grabbing a handful of money before fleeing.
A man was caught on camera in November 2022 reaching over the counter, opening the cash register and grabbing a handful of money before fleeing.

Another video, recorded in December 2023, shows a man waltz up the same counter and calmly snatch the tip jar when the barista turns to make a drink. The thief is then seen casually strolling away.

The store manager said he reported both incidents to the NYPD, but doesn’t bother anymore because there’s simply too many.

“We have security issues regularly, like once every two weeks,” the manager told The Post. “We only have one security [officer] in the entire building. We prefer to have four … with one by each door.”

The videos paint a real-time portrait of the complaints listed by Westfield Fulton Center, the massive retail manager that says it wants out of the transit hub 10 years earlier than its lease requires because crime is forcing out tenants.

The company claimed in federal court papers that homeless people and street hustlers have overrun the complex, which is also rife with vandalism because the MTA as landlord hasn’t provided adequate security.

The manager of Gong Cha said the store has security issues every few weeks — and he said the building needs more security officers.
The manager of Gong Cha said the store has security issues every few weeks — and he said the building needs more security officers.
Other tenants echoed this, saying the center needs more security guards. Robert Miller
Other tenants echoed this, saying the center needs more security guards. Robert Miller

Assaults and employee intimidation have also become more common inside the glass-and-steel building on the corner of Fulton Street and Broadway, which the MTA initially pitched as comparable in stature to Rockefeller Center or Grand Central Station, the company claimed.

The now-shuttered Haagen Dazs was robbed every several weeks, neighboring businesses said. Robert Miller
The now-shuttered Haagen Dazs was robbed every several weeks, neighboring businesses said. Robert Miller
Westfield accused the MTA of selling the center as a Rockefeller Center-type attraction, but never following through on the security. Robert Miller
Westfield accused the MTA of selling the center as a Rockefeller Center-type attraction, but never following through on the security. Robert Miller
Cops wait at Gong Cha, a bubble tea place in the center. Robert Miller
Cops wait at Gong Cha, a bubble tea place in the center. Robert Miller

There are very specific reasons the retail manager — which is a subsidiary of mammoth international commercial real estate company Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield — can break the lease but retail crime isn’t one of them, the MTA said in court filings.

The center — which connects five underground stations and a web of nine subway lines — sees up to 300,000 straphangers pass through each day, according to the MTA.

The agency asked the court to force Westfield to stay — and declare it in breach of the agreement if it does break the deal.