A Brooklyn man is under arrest in Florida in connection with a string of high-profile Manhattan robberies, including a daring broad-daylight raid on a Chanel store earlier this month.
Eric Spencer of Brooklyn was arrested in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday in connection with the robbery of the Chanel store, and several other high-profile robberies within the pattern, two senior NYPD officials with direct knowledge of the investigation tell News 4.
The case was investigated by the FBI-NYPD Joint Major Theft Task Force and the NYPD’s Manhattan North Grand Larceny Division. Spencer, charged with one count of robbery, appeared Monday in federal court in Florida, the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office confirmed.
He waived an identity hearing and was ordered detained. No date has been set for his court appearance in Manhattan federal court.
The sources said Spencer is indirectly connected to another crime as well -- an incident last November when a 70-year-old was struck by a bullet on a bus in Bed-Stuy. Spencer was on that bus and was the intended target, according to sources.
"As alleged, Eric Spencer put the public and store personnel in grave danger when he committed a brazen daylight armed robbery of a SoHo boutique earlier this month," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said Monday. "Now the FBI and NYPD have grabbed Spencer, who is in federal custody and awaiting his day in court."
Federal prosecutors claim Spencer is one of four men wanted for the robbery of the Chanel store. The men busted into the store at mid-afternoon; video recorded by a woman inside shows them moving about, grabbing designer bags and goods by the armful while two others hold the doors open.
At one point, a security guard inside told Spencer that she was armed. Prosecutors allege he responded, "What are you going to do? Shoot me?" and showed her the butt of his own gun.
In charging documents, authorities say the man took to social media one day after the robbery, claiming he had so many stolen items he could "open a small boutique."
It was not immediately clear if Spencer had legal representation.
Police confirmed at the time that the suspects were believed responsible for a pattern of robberies — 20 in total, including a COS store next door — taking place from SoHo to midtown over the past couple of months. NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said the robbery spree began during the widespread looting that took place over the summer.