This hero was ‘Rite’ on time

This hero was ‘Rite’ on time
Community Newspaper Group / Alex Rush

A former John Jay HS football player chased down a shoplifter at a Dyker Heights Rite Aid and pinned him to the sidewalk, holding him until cops from the 68th Precinct arrived, according to store employees who watched it all go down.

John Ricafort, 47, was picking up his prescription on Thursday at the drug store at the corner of 13th Avenue and 71st Street when he heard store clerk Kaitlyn Bille scream, “We’ve been robbed!” Ricafort didn’t think twice before hopping in his car with Bille to chase down the man who had slipped out of the store $400 in merchandise stuffed into his shirt and black plastic bags.

The pair followed the bandit, who sprinted up 13th Avenue to 70th Street. That’s where Ricafort pulled over and reverted to his tackling days.

“The city’s slogan is, ‘If you see something, say something,’ but I did something,” Ricafort said.

The 6-foot, 360-pound Ricafort leaped from the car and bear-hugged the lanky thief from behind, jabbing his knee into the perp’s back to bring him down. Ricafort used his considerable presence to keep the perp immobile while Bille called the police, who arrested the shoplifter.

“It’s a good thing to have a Good Samaritan around,” said one Rite Aid manager, who declined to give her name.

Bille said she recognized the shoplifter, whom she had kicked out of the store several weeks back for trying to steal stuff. This time around, he grabbed shampoo, batteries and condoms, among other personal items.

So how did Ricafort develop his heroic instinct?

“I watch a lot of ‘Cops’ on the weekends, so I just knew what I had to do,” he said.

Community Newspaper Group / Alex Rush