Recent videos circulating on social media show at least two instances in California where thieves enter luxury clothing and accessory stores to steal without fear of consequences. In one video from the city of Los Angeles, the thieves even walk out as people watch.
In one of the videos filmed in the city of Los Angeles, the thieves walk out of a TJ Maxx store with bags full of clothes, shirts still on their hangers, without haste, to the parking lot, get into a car and drive away.
Neither the security guard nor store employees say anything to them, much less the people around them.
According to criminal defense attorney Alexandra Kazarian: “The employees at TJ Maxx have been told that, in these specific circumstances, it’s not worth it for you to go and physically attack, physically stop people that are walking out with this inventory.”
Earlier this month, a video surfaced on social media showing thieves brazenly making off with stolen items after ransacking a Neiman Marcus store in San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood.
The video shows at least ten criminals, each carrying large quantities of stolen luxury handbags, running in different directions.
The value of what they stole is estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
The criminals are winning, thanks to the judicial system
Is there a reason why this is happening in California?
In 2014 the state passed Proposition 47, with which all non-violent burglaries where the items stolen are less than $1,000 in value are no longer considered a felony but a misdemeanor.
Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz of the Los Angeles Police Department said, “If they’re caught, they’re probably given the equivalent of a traffic ticket. So it’s not taken seriously.”
But Sandoz disagrees with the policies of the judicial system because, in practice, this can lead to dire consequences.
“If you let these criminals think that they can go in and steal merchandise and steal things, what happens when someone tries to stop them?” the sergeant asked.
In fact, according to Sandoz, there was recently an incident where an employee of a Rite Aid in Glassell Park was shot and killed after he tried to stop two men from stealing a case of beer.
A spokesperson for Los Angeles County District Attorney General George Gascon’s office told the Daily Mail, “Once officers make an arrest or cite someone for a crime, they will present the case to our office.”
“We make charging decisions accordingly. We do so based on the facts, the totality of the circumstances, and the law,” he added.
However, Los Angeles residents disagree with the way justice works.
This Monday, July 19, the La Verne City Council became the 24th to pass a vote of no confidence against Attorney General Gascon.
Also, in May, Los Angeles residents launched a campaign to replace the prosecutor, citing his lack of commitment to enforcing the law.
On his Twitter profile, Gascon makes no secret that his approach to law enforcement does not involve arresting criminals.
In his post, he posted an image of a New York Times story in which he explains that his approach of not punishing or locking up offenders has ‘undone harm’ to the black and Latino community.
Nevertheless, according to Compstat statistics, violent crime in his district is up 5% every year, with homicides up nearly 30% more in 2021 and 10% more aggravated assaults.
San Francisco’s attorney general, Chesa Boudin, also faces outrage from her residents over very similar issues.
A campaign to replace the DA was launched in March of this year because unprosecuted shoplifting has become a significant problem in the city.
In a video showing thieves stealing luxury purses from the Neiman Marcus store, one user vented his anger:
“Everyone in the city is tired of this so please sign the recall petition to oust Chesa Boudin now! Crime is legal basically and allowed and tolerated due to policies put in place and supported by all our supervisors and mayor and DA.”
Chesa Boudin, for her part, accused the media of exaggerating the situation and dismissed the criticism even though the statistics showing an increase in crime play against her.