A criminal court “frequent flier” ran out of get out of jail free cards earlier this week.
Jamel Pringle – notorious amongst law enforcement for his quick and numerous cycles through the system – is now behind bars after his 168th arrest earned him a place at Rikers Island. He was arrested on Monday morning and charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree (both misdemeanors) after stealing over $430 worth of merchandise from the Rite Aid on East 96th Street and Second Avenue. The New York Post was first to report about Pringle’s arrest.
Pringle hails from Queens and has racked up criminal court cases all over the city. Charges have ranged from other petit larcenies to public lewdness and criminal contempt. He has 14 open cases including one from July 2021 when he was charged with menacing, criminal contempt, harassment, and criminal possession of a weapon with intent to use, according to E-Courts, the electronic case database for the New York State Unified Court System.
Last month, Pringle was arrested four times in three different boroughs (Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island) which included an arrest on January 24 for allegedly grabbing a tip jar that contained $40 from a Cafe at East 102nd Street and Lexington Avenue. The career criminal has “one felony conviction, 88 misdemeanor convictions and 39 failures to appear,” according to the Post.
“On Feb. 3, Pringle was given a desk appearance ticket for petit larceny and public lewdness after cops found him exposing himself inside a CVS on Lexington Avenue near 96th Street,” writes the Post.
Though Pringle is currently a guest of the City through the Department of Corrections, his extensive criminal history has not often seen him spend time in correctional facilities. The Post attributes this to New York’s controversial bail reform laws under which misdemeanors are not bail-eligible.
However, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office argued that Pringle’s 39 failures to appear was a fair indication that he would not do so again and cited to “an amendment to the law that allows repeat offenders who commit a new felony or class A misdemeanor while out on a similar offense to have bail set if both crimes involved harm to a person or property.”
The Legal Aid Society represents Pringle in this matter and claimed his failures to appear were due to his stays in various psychiatric facilities. The judge agreed with the prosecutors and remanded the serial offender to Rikers until at least his next court date on February 18. Bail is set at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond.