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Attacked NYC retail workers lash out at Carl Heastie over soft-on-crime stance: Perp ‘almost killed me’

A pair of brutally attacked Big Apple retail workers have joined the chorus of critics lashing out at state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie over his soft stance on violent criminals, claiming Tuesday he is flat-out “wrong’’ and just doesn’t “care.”

“New York has become one of the worst places on the planet. Criminals do whatever they want to do. Why? Because there’s no penalty. There’s no deterrent,” Ramon Acevedo, a grandfather and former Manhattan grocery store manager, raged to The Post.

The 68-year-old victim — who was nearly bashed to death with a hammer at a Gristedes supermarket in Chelsea in July 2020 — ripped Heastie (D-Bronx) for refusing to support beefing up penalties for those who violently target retail workers, claiming, “I just don’t believe raising penalties is ever a deterrent to crime.”

Acevedo, who ended up retiring in the wake of his bloody assault after 47 years at the store, was left with a gaping gash in his forehead when his accused attacker, Oscar Apronti, came at him swinging with the hammer.

Ramon Acevedo, a former Manhattan grocery store manager, was nearly bashed to death with a hammer at a Gristedes supermarket in Chelsea in July 2020. @ramon.acevedo

“This guy almost killed me. Another half an inch to the right would have ended my life,” Acevedo said.

His alleged attacker, whom he had recognized from prior shoplifting attempts at his store, was also accused of assaulting a worker with a broken bottle at the nearby Chelsea Fine Food bodega just three months earlier.

“The politicians take care of themselves instead of the people,” Acevedo said of Heastie’s refusal to crack down on violent perps like the one who allegedly battered him.

“They’re not affected. They’re definitely out of touch. They don’t care. They should do their jobs and protect us. If criminals don’t do the time, what’s to deter them from striking again?”

Acevedo’s attacker was slapped with assault, stalking and criminal possession of a weapon charges when he was eventually nabbed over the violent assaults.

Meanwhile, cashier Lisbel Rodriguez Luna was left bruised and battered when she was set upon by a deranged woman and her daughters at the Food Universe in the Bronx in February last year.

Acevedo, who ended up retiring in the wake of his bloody assault after 47 years at the store, was left with a gaping gash in his forehead.

“[Heastie] is wrong. Someone that robs and attacks someone needs to be punished. Those people should be in jail,” Luna, 25, told The Post. “They came to my job to abuse me. Out of nowhere, attacked me because they felt like it.”

As with Acevedo, a scarred Luna quickly moved on from her supermarket a month after she was pummeled in the face in the brutal, caught-on-camera assault that stemmed from an argument over cashing in recyclable bottles.

“I’m just trying to move on from the situation,” Luna said, adding she’s unsure of what became of her alleged attackers or if they were ever arrested.

Her father-in-law, Jesus Hernandez, added of Heastie: “He is in favor of the delinquents.

“He’s in favor of the criminals. The authorities are being very soft. If someone commits an assault like that and nothing happens, what’s going to happen? I can’t vote for someone like that.’’

Both Luna and Acevedo piled on a day after several business owners ripped Heastie after he shut down Gov. Kathy Hochul’s push to harden punishments for criminals who attack retail workers.

In addition to calling for a crackdown on the explosion of retail thefts, Hochul, in her budget, said she wants to beef up the penalties for perps who go after store employees.

Acevedo had been opening the Chelsea store when his accused attacker, Oscar Apronti, came at him swinging with the hammer.

Heastie, whose position as head of the Assembly is especially powerful, doubled down on his remarks Tuesday, telling reporters in Albany, “I simply just said I do not believe that increasing penalties deters crime, and I’d love somebody to give me an example as to when that happened.

“I think we are going to come up with different ideas on how to deal with retail theft,” he continued. “The question should not be, ‘Are you going to raise penalties because you want to deter crime?’ The question should be, ‘Do you want to raise penalties because you want people in jail longer?’ “

Citywide retail thefts are up overall more than 6.5% — to 14,910 — so far this year, compared to the same time frame in 2023, when 13,987 incidents were recorded, the latest NYPD crime stats show.

John Catsimatidis, CEO of New York’s Gristedes supermarket chain, said shoplifting plus heightened security to combat it now account for 6% of costs at his 29 stores citywide — up from 1.5% before COVID.

“I’m shaking my head. It doesn’t make any sense. We don’t understand it,” Catsimatidis said of Heastie’s remarks.

“Why does the legislature want to protect the criminals instead of the hard-working, blue-collar retail workers?” he continued. “This is beyond the pale. They’re chasing people out of New York!”

Additional reporting by Vaughn Golden