Teen Brutalized For Shoplifting, And Security Guard Gets An Arrest And Suspsension For Brutalizing Teen In Century21 Store.

Crime didn’t pay for a Prada-loving shoplifter — or the belligerent security guard who busted him.

Both men were arrested after shoe-stealing suspect Victor Roberson was brutalized by guard Wilson Acosta on the sidewalk outside the flagship Century 21 store in lower Manhattan, police said.


Roberson, 19, later admitted to swiping two pairs of Prada slippers for Mother’s Day gifts — one for his mom, the other for the mother of his nearly 2-year-old daughter.

Roberson And His Girlfriend 

“I felt as though I never should’ve been beaten so bad for what I stole,” a repentant Roberson said after his arraignment Saturday.

A video shot by a passerby captured Roberson announcing “I can’t breathe” as Acosta and two other security officers pinned the teen to the sidewalk and pummeled him.

One of the guards was caught on video punching Roberson, who was left bleeding from the mouth and with a cut to his head.

“They ended up tackling him, throwing him on the ground,” said witness Brian Fraser, 37, who was getting a bite to eat nearby. “I saw one of the security guards put his hands around his neck and choke him.”

The arrested Acosta was quickly pulled off the job, according to a Century 21 statement issued Saturday.

The 24-year-old from the Bronx was charged with assault. His LinkedIn profile indicated Acosta started working at Century 21 in 2011, and joined the downtown store (pictured) two years ago.

Police said Acosta had no previous arrests.


“We take this situation very seriously,” Larry Mentzer, executive director of stores for Century 21, said in a statement announcing Acosta’s suspension.

The incident began around 9 p.m. Friday as Roberson, who has a rap sheet of 11 prior arrests, set off the security alarms while exiting the store opposite 1 World Trade Center.

Roberson had swiped two pairs of designer shoes, worth $860, according to cops.

But the arrest careened from a slam-dunk to a slamdown, with the suspect flung onto the concrete. The video showed a helpless Roberson, restrained by three men, taking blows to the face.

“What are you doing?” Roberson shouts at one point. “I can’t breathe.”

A crowd soon gathered as the immobilized Roberson took the beating, prompting calls to the NYPD. Cops arrived, dispersed the crowd, and arrested both suspect and security guard.


Roberson was released without bail after being arraigned on charges of petty larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

“The situation was pushed farther than what it should’ve been pushed,” Roberson said outside Manhattan Criminal Court. “My life could’ve been on the line just for a piece of clothes.”


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