Posted on August 5, 2022

Meet the NYC Shoplifter with 101 Arrests — And Let Go Almost Every Time

Tina Moore et al., New York Post, August 4, 2022

The career crook whom Mayor Adams dubbed “Recidivist No. 1” as a symbol of the city’s revolving door of criminal justice has been identified as Harold Gooding, a 53-year-old serial shoplifter — who has been arrested 101 times.

Harold Gooding

Harold Gooding


On Wednesday, sources identified Gooding as the unnamed person at the top of the NYPD’s list of the “Worst of the Worst” repeat offenders — let free again and again thanks to New York’s broken bail-reform law.

Gooding has served three prison terms, starting with a one- to three-year sentence for an attempted-burglary conviction in Brooklyn in 1994, according to state records.

Using the name Jamiel White, he was sent upstate again in 1996 for an attempted-robbery conviction in Brooklyn, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Gooding’s most serious conviction, for first-degree robbery in Brooklyn, got him a 10-year sentence in 2001, and he was paroled in 2008, records show.

In February, he pleaded guilty to petit larceny in another Manhattan case and received a conditional discharge that required him to stay out of trouble and return to court periodically, records show.

After failing to show up, he was arrested on a bench warrant in July, and his conditional discharge was extended for a year, records show.

In an alleged string of robberies this year, Gooding shoplifted from a Target store in Tribeca multiple times — all while wearing the same distinctive white hat, the Manhattan DA’s Office charged.


He also is being investigated in about 17 other thefts from the same Target, according to the DA.

Under the state’s bail-reform law, he was freed without bail on supervised release in the robberies, the DA’s Office said.