Serial NYC shoplifter Laron Mack arrested, set free — 1 day after different release

A career shoplifter who allegedly smashed a news photographer’s camera moments after he was released on a robbery charge was quickly arrested again — and set free just as fast.

Laron Mack, a homeless man who has previously told The Post “I steal for a living,” was back in Manhattan Criminal Court Saturday on a criminal mischief charge for allegedly breaking lensman Steve Hirsch’s camera a day earlier outside the same building.

Mack is accused of damaging the equipment in an encounter outside the Centre Street building which unfolded just after he was granted supervised release in a robbery case.

On Saturday he held his head down, with his nose nearly touching the desk as he tried to keep a Post photographer from snapping his picture.  His lawyer also held up a sheet of paper blocking Mack’s face from the camera.

Mack has an extensive rap sheet, including: six felony arrests, 65 misdemeanors, 31 failures to appear and two parole violations, said Assistant District Attorney Chelsea Eret. Most of his arrests are for low-level offenses such as petty larceny, which is not eligible for bail under New York state law.

Though he’s already on supervised release in the robbery case, Eret asked again for the same conditional discharge for Mack in the criminal mischief case, to which Judge Eric Schumacher agreed.

Eret also requested $250 for the damaged camera. Mack’s defense attorney Rob Harold told the judge his client “would be unable to pay restitution.”

Video taken by Hirsch shows the moment Mack suddenly lunged at him and swatted his camera out of his hand.

Mack is accused of damaging photographer Steven Hirsch’s camera.
Steven Hirsch

“How are you doing, Mr. Mack?” the photographer asked Mack in the clip, as he followed him outside of the courthouse. 

Mack turns and begins walking away from Hirsch when he suddenly spins around and knocks the camera from his hands before the video cuts out.

“He punched me in the arm and ripped the flash off the camera and threw it against the wall and smashed it to pieces,” Hirsch told The Post.

The Post spoke with Mack back in March, after he was released on petty larceny and criminal possession of stolen property charges for stealing Bud Light, breakfast sausages and oatmeal from a Duane Reade on the Upper East Side.

Laron Mack
Mack hid from photographers as he left the courtroom Saturday.
Kevin C. Downs for The New York

“I’m broke, I’m homeless and I steal for a living,” the 50-year-old told The Post. 

When asked what he stole, he bluntly responded “Beer.”

Mack is due back in Manhattan court on July 7. He has an additional appearance in Bronx criminal court on June 22.