A suspected shoplifter walloped an NYPD cop in the face — sending her flying to the ground — at a Manhattan drug store Friday morning when she asked him to leave, video shows.
The manager of the Duane Reade on East 34th Street in Murray Hill told cops he had recognized the man from a prior theft and asked the female officer assigned to the door to step in, according to police sources.
But after a brief conversation around 11:30 a.m between the man and the sergeant, who was working a paid security gig at the store between Lexington and Third avenues, the encounter turned violent.
A short clip capturing part of the episode, obtained by The Post, shows the man pushing the officer out of the way and trying to run off.
The thief then cocks back and hits the cop in the side of the face, knocking her to the ground, after she tried to grab him, the video shows.
The officer was treated for minor injuries at Bellevue Hospital, police said.
Nothing was believed to have been stolen from the store, sources said.
The violent shoplifting incident comes as reports of retail thefts tick up. There were 29,497 reports of larcenies from bodegas or chain stores through the end of September, the latest data available, just over 1,600 more cases than during the same time in 2019.
One man, Isaac Rodriguez, has been busted 46 times for thefts just this year, The Post reported in October.