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Bill in the works to better protect store workers from violent shoplifters

Outside Star 1 Deli, the East Flatbush bodega where Bryan Antoine was killed in February 2013.
Elias Williams for NPR

A couple New York state lawmakers are introducing legislation soon that would better protect store workers from assaults.

Senator Jessica Scarcella Spanton of Staten Island is hoping her legislation will combat a surge in violent shoplifters which have been targeting bodega and other store workers. Her bill makes it a felony for even a minor assault against them.

"if you are a store worker especially if you are operating non traditional hours, I think you are going to feel safer having this legislation and hopefully it deters people who are willing to assault a worker as well."

Her bill would make those minor assaults bail eligible and put store workers on the same protection level as officers and firefighters. Assemblyman Manny De Los Santos of Inwood is cosponsoring the bill.