Tensions built for weeks between serial shoplifter Charles Brito and CVS pharmacy clerk Scotty Enoe, who was jailed Friday on charges of fatally knifing Brito in a final argument, Enoe’s lawyer said.
“I’m gonna kill you” was Brito’s regular threat to Enoe each time Brito showed up at a CVS store within sight of Times Square, on Broadway at W. 49th St. in Midtown, said Enoe’s lawyer, Adam Freedman.
Enoe on four or five occasions tried to thwart Brito’s shoplifting — usually of Monster energy drinks — with words Freedman said were recommended by store bosses: “Don’t steal. Please don’t steal.”
But this time, around 12:25 a.m. Thursday, Enoe didn’t even have time to get out the words before Brito started fighting him, Freedman said. “There was no verbal interaction,” the lawyer said.
Freedman explained to a Manhattan Criminal Court judge: “My client was merely stocking the shelves in the freezer area, and this person came in. He swung at my client and pushed my client, and a fistfight occurred.”
Said Manhattan Assistant DA Julie Noble: “The defendant [Enoe] brought a knife to what was otherwise a fistfight. He took the knife from his pocket and stabbed the deceased, Mr. Brito, eight times in the chest.”
Freedman noted outside court that Enoe used a knife in his job to open boxes.
“One of those wounds was deep enough to penetrate his heart and the other his liver,” Noble said.
Medics rushed Brito to Bellevue Hospital but he could not be saved. Brito, 50, bled to death, Noble said.
Enoe, who has no criminal record, gave a statement admitting his guilt, the prosecutor said at the arraignment hearing.
“This is a strong case,” Noble told Judge Soma Syed, who granted the DA’s request to impose $100,000 bail on charges of murder and weapon possession.
Brito’s history of petty theft includes two other incidents at the same store, according to police and court records.
Since Aug. 23, 2017, when he was charged with petty larceny in Midtown, Brito has amassed a record of 16 arrests, police said — a record like those of many other people whose lawbreaking has plagued the city since the pandemic year of 2020.
Brito’s first arrest of 2023 was his most serious, for robbery. On the afternoon of Jan. 5, he allegedly stole a handbag from a woman on Sixth Ave. in Midtown, pulling on it so hard the bag broke and a change purse fell to the ground, according to court papers.
Brito was arrested more than a week later and was let go under terms of supervised release.
He was charged in an April 3 incident in the Bronx in which he allegedly stole from a Target $182.83 worth of merchandise — 22 grocery items and six health and beauty products.
That theft, for which he was accused of burglary, petty larceny and possession of stolen property, happened 10 days after he signed a “no trespass order” barring him from the store, according to court documents.
After his Bronx arrest he was issued a summons on May 18, then arrested again on June 13 for an incident in which he walked into a CVS store in Manhattan’s Hamilton Heights neighborhood and stole several cans of energy drinks, according to court papers.
He was ordered held on $5,000 bail, half the amount sought by prosecutors.
But on June 21, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office dismissed the case. At the same hearing, Brito pleaded to petty larceny in the January Midtown robbery case and was told he would later be sentenced to three years probation.
The next day, June 22, Brito hit a CVS on Amsterdam Ave. on the Upper West Side, stealing 22 packages of Colgate, two packages of Crest, 13 Goodline razors, three Harry’s trimmers and three razor blades.
He pleaded guilty to petty larceny in that case, and was given a conditional discharge and released.
A police source told of two incidents at the CVS store where Brito was stabbed.
On June 29, Brito was busted for stealing hair care and beauty projects from the Broadway and W. 49th St. CVS, said the source. Three days later, he returned to the same CVS, stole merchandise and was arrested, the source said.
Brito’s father told the Daily News on Friday that his son, who he calls “Charlie,” was a well-behaved youngster. “I used to take him to church,” said Juan Brito, 75. “I helped him to be a good boy. He didn’t get into trouble that I know of.”
Charlie’s later life was marked by a series of relationships with women — including a long relationship with a woman in Jersey City, his father said. “He was in an apartment, and they had a dog,” said Juan Brito.
That relationship turned bad, and eventually Charlie became homeless and turned to drugs, his father said.
“I don’t know what kind of drugs he used,” Juan Brito said. But he said he was unable to help his son. “He was a man. He could decide. I tried to help him, but he didn’t want to change.”
Juan Brito, a Florida resident, said he believes his son had two children, a girl and a boy. He said he hadn’t spoken to his son in a long time, but that Charlie kept in touch with his mother. “His mother saw him not too long ago,” Juan Brito said. “I talked to her, and I thought something strange might happen. I had a feeling.”
Enoe is working on putting together a bail package, said Freedman — but he said the process could take time. Enoe will be subject to electronic monitoring if he his released, which could take up to two weeks to arrange, the lawyer said.
Asked about Enoe’s emotional state, Fredman said: “He’s very, very upset because he thought he was trying to do the right thing, and something really bad ended up happening out of this, which he did not want.”
Friday afternoon, as Enoe awaited arraignment, his mother lamented his plight and said the charges should be dropped.
”He did what he had to do,” she said. “My son is a very good person. My son never gets involved in this situation before. He’s a very dedicated worker. One of the people from one of the stores where he works just called me and tell me that he knows him for a while and that’s he’s very respectful.
“He’s a very dedicated worker, and they will see to it that everything goes well with him.”