Bragging on social media led to the arrest of a Brooklyn man who allegedly took part in a highly publicized robbery rampage that netted crooks nearly $190,000 in merchandise at a high-end Soho boutique earlier in February, officials said Monday.
Eric Spencer, 29, was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday by members of joint FBI-NYPD task force on charges he was part of gang of four men who committed a brazen Feb. 2 daylight armed robbery at the SoHo Chanel store, according to law enforcement officials.
The gang, whose three other members were still at large late Monday, were seen on surveillance videos rampaging through the store, scooping items like handbags as local security guards and store personnel stood by helplessly, officials said.
Spencer, of Brooklyn, carried a firearm during the robbery and when confronted by a security guard said, "What are you going to do? Shoot me?," according to an eight-page complaint unsealed Monday in Manhattan federal district court.
The security guard saw the butt of the handgun protruding from Spencer’s waistband as the suspect then continued to yell, "Nobody touch me! Get everything! Grab everything!" to his cohorts, investigators said.
The store raid, captured on surveillance video, was widely publicized by police who said that the tactic of the robbery crew was something they were seeing in a number of locations around Manhattan, all committed by the same group of suspects.
The robbery pattern began in September and the gang used cars with phony license plates to make a getaway, officials said.
Police also collected other videos from around Brooklyn and subways to focus in on Spencer, who officials said had a record of more than 30 other arrests.
A big break for investigators came when a man officials identified as Spencer in court papers was seen on a social media post the day after the SoHo robbery saying he had merchandise to sell, using the name "Double C," referring to the targeted store, according to the federal complaint.
"So much double C RN I could open a small boutique FRFR," the post said, the federal complaint stated. The initials "RN" stood for "right now" and "FRFR" for the phrase "for real, for real," according to court papers.
Spencer is slated to go through federal removal proceedings back to Manhattan federal court, officials said. He was slated for a preliminary appearance in Miami’s federal court Monday, officials said.
The NYPD and the FBI said investigators are actively seeking to find three other suspects who allegedly participated in the robbery.
"Eric Spencer put the public and store personnel in grave danger when he committed a brazen daylight armed robbery of a SoHo boutique earlier this month," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Audrey Strauss said..." Now the FBI and NYPD have grabbed Spencer, who is in federal custody and awaiting his day in court."