A repeat offender in the nation’s most populated city thanked the Democratic Party for approving new rules that allowed his release from custody many times without ever needing to provide collateral.
New York City subway pickpocket Charles Barry said he would still be behind bars if Democrats never passed the 2019 New York Bail Reform, which prohibits judges from setting bail for adults convicted of theft, arson, stalking, drug offenses, assault without causing serious injury, and other misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies.
“It is the Democrats, the Democrats know me and the Republicans fear me,” the 56-year-old said outside the New York Police Department’s (NYPD’s) transit district one headquarters according to Fox News. “You cannot touch me, I cannot be stopped … bail reform it is lit.”
Barry has been arrested a total of 139 times, six of which occurred since the beginning of the year when the new rules came into force. He has served time in state prison and has a long record of arrests and prosecutions, including 87 misdemeanors, 21 missed court hearings, and six felonies.
He was more recently accused of stealing hundreds of dollars from subway commuters and released each time because his alleged crimes were nonviolent and no New York judge could set bail for his release.
“I am famous, I take $200, $300 a day of your money, [expletive], you cannot stop me,” he said according to the broadcaster. “It is a great thing, it is a beautiful thing, they punk’ed people out for bulls—crimes.”
NYPD could only hold Barry for 36 hours until he could face Manhattan Criminal Court, which ultimately allowed his release before trial without needing to post bail.
The decision came despite there being two current arrest warrants for missing multiple court appearances to answer alleged subway robberies, including one case where he was accused of stealing $50 from a woman who was trying to buy a Metro card from the automated ticket machine at Bryant Park Station.
Barry was also arrested for allegedly jumping over a subway turnstile without paying at Pennsylvania Station, and stealing from passengers he pretended to help buy tickets for while impersonating a Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee.
His experience brought harsh criticism from NYPD Transit Bureau Assistant Chief Gerald Dieckmann who said bail reform was preventing thieves from being brought to justice.
“At least before he would be remanded and be behind bars for a couple of days, he would not be able to victimize people,” Dieckmann said according to the New York Daily News. “When someone does not pay them or give them the money, it will turn into a robbery, a slashing assault.”