Cop suspended after shoplifting suspect escapes custody

Police nabbed a shoplifting suspect who escaped their custody and suspended one of the cops who let him get away, authorities said.Xavier Rivers, 21, was picked up near his home at the Taft Houses on Fifth Avenue and East 112th Street in East Harlem on Monday...

Cop suspended after shoplifting suspect escapes custody

Police nabbed a shoplifting suspect who escaped their custody and suspended one of the cops who let him get away, authorities said.

Xavier Rivers, 21, was picked up near his home at the Taft Houses on Fifth Avenue and East 112th Street in East Harlem on Monday afternoon. Charges against him are pending.

Rivers was initially picked up on Saturday when an employee at a Duane Reade on East 102nd Street near Madison Avenue recognized him as a regular shoplifter and called police.

The cops quickly located Rivers and cuffed him before placing him in the back of a police car.

But he managed to open the car door and ran off, officials said. The cops tried to chase him down but eventually lost sight of him.

One of the officers, identified as Henry Vidal, has been suspended, sources said.

Rivers is the first prisoner to escape from police custody so far this year.

The last prisoner to slip away from police was Daniel Ortiz, who was arrested for shoplifting on Dec. 29, but slipped out of his shackles while being treated at hospital in Greenwich Village.

Albert Belcher, the cop who was supposed to be guarding Ortiz, left the room to chat on his cell phone when the prisoner escaped, sources said. That officer was also suspended.

Ortiz was finally recaptured after more than a week on the lam.

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