A career criminal with eyes in a series of burglaries in Brooklyn and Manhattan has been free to loot city businesses at will thanks to what he called the state’s “big” bail reform laws, The Post has learned.
“I’m grateful for [bail reform] because I’m too old to go to jail, I’m too old, I can not do that, ”Charles Wold, 58, said in a telephone interview Friday.
Wold, a longtime drug addict, is accused of breaking into seven different businesses in Brooklyn alone, plus a further three in Manhattan in just three months. But every time the police pulled him in, he was released because of the state’s controversial reform laws, court records show.
He told The Post from his mother’s house that freedom “feels good.”
“Rikers Island is not the key, you know what I’m saying? I have been in prison all my life, I can do it upside down, it does not teach me anything, I can get more drugs in there than I can out here, ”he said. “Hopefully DA will see that I did not commit all these crimes that they accuse me of and they will be fired.”
Wold, who has 32 previous arrests, mostly for burglary and theft, dating back to 1983, including 11 from 2021 alone, was arrested on Nov. 24 after police said he broke into two Manhattan businesses and stole cash registers , according to police sources and court records.
During his trial a day later, a judge cut Wold loose because the charges of burglary were not eligible for cash bail, and only three days later he was reportedly back to his old tricks.
Prosecutors say he was caught on surveillance footage on Nov. 28 when he broke into the Hipster Deli grocery store in Park Slope and stole a cash register, and over the next nine days, he hit four more companies, court records show.
“It’s a headache, so customers come in the next day, we have no money, we have no machine,” said Hazim Annisafee, the deli’s owner.
Annisafee said he lost between $ 400 and $ 600 from the first burglary, and the cost of repairing the door and cash register cost him an additional $ 1,400.
On December 1, Wold is accused of stealing five electric scooters, a bicycle and two Macbook Airs from Fridge No More in Gowanus, and on December 5, he allegedly broke into the Artisan Barber Shop in Park Slope and stole their cash register, court documents say.
“The guy keeps going in and out, I think that’s wrong … They should give him time, leave him more in jail so he might understand more,” said Rron Dulatahu, a barber and store manager.
“We are frustrated because it can happen again and it keeps happening in this neighborhood. It’s not safe.”
Wold admitted to The Post that he has committed some burglaries – but not everything he is accused of having done.
“I could have done one or two of them, but that was in the beginning of summer,” the career villain claimed. “I did not do them all.”
“The one who does it has glasses and a bald head, and he looks like me.”
Wold pointed to his struggles with opioid abuse and his many problems with the law, saying he was trying to get into an inpatient rehabilitation program so he could clean up his life.
“People need to understand what addiction is, I do not want to commit crime, I do not want to hurt people, I do not want to steal from people,” Wold said.
“I’m feeling really, really bad about my situation and some of the people I’ve hurt … If I did, I’m sorry.”
Mark Caserta, executive director of the Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, told The Post police have suspected Wold of a series of recent, unsolved burglaries in former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Tonya neighborhood.
“We’ve seen many of our businesses suffer from the Omicron strain, and having someone break into storefronts and take money and destroy property is just an insult in a very difficult time,” Caserta said.
As of Sunday, burglary has nearly doubled this month compared to last in the 78th area, which covers Park Slope, and on Fifth Avenue, commercial burglary has doubled, police data shows.
Shareen Elkenani said her restaurant Sandwich Girl Cafe on 7th Street had only been open for two months when she was broken into a few days before Christmas.
“It has literally reached a point where you have to take them on fresh offense in order for them to be arrested. The burden is on us, says Elkenani to The Post.
“They will continue to release these people until they fix the criminal reform system,” she said. “The detective told me I should be careful because he’s coming back again.”
Additional reporting by Oumou Fofana