Gov. Gavin Newsom called on mayors in his state to “step up” and hold the mobs of shoplifters targeting retail establishments, including making a six-figure heist, to “account.”
“I’m not the mayor of California, but I was a mayor, and I know when things like this happen, mayors have to step up,” Newsom said Monday at a vaccine clinic in the Mission District of San Francisco. “That’s not an indictment. That’s not a cheap shot.”
“These people need to be held to account,” Newsom added. “We need to investigate these crimes. We need to break up these crime rings. We need to make an example out of these folks.”
California Highway Patrol presence will also be increased around highly-trafficked shopping destinations this holiday season. Patrol will most notably be increased on Interstate 680 and state Highway 4 in the Bay Area.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin echoed Newsom and said, “if you come to San Francisco and you commit crimes, there will be consequences.”
Boudin is facing a recall election next year following repeated criticisms of soft on crime policies.
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“This has nothing to do with my policies and everything to do with the challenges we as a country are facing,” Boudin said.
The San Francisco area saw back-to-back mob lootings over the weekend, which targeted a Nordstrom, a Louis Vuitton, pharmacies, marijuana dispensaries and other retail locations.
In Walnut Creek, which is located about 25 miles from SF, roughly 80 looters stormed a Nordstrom and took somewhere between $100,000 to $200,000 in merchandise, according to police. Three people have been arrested in connection to the robbery.
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The crimes have also extended to San Jose, about 50 miles from San Francisco, where at least four people stole $40,000 from a Lululemon in an incident described by police as “organized robbery.”
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Los Angeles also saw a smash-and-grab robbery at a Nordstrom on Monday night. Police arrested three people in connection to that crime.
Some police and retailers pointed to California’s Proposition 47 for the increase in crimes, which reduced shoplifting charges regarding the theft of $950 or less from felonies to misdemeanors.
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In 2018, state legislators passed a temporary law in response to complaints surrounding the law, which established a new crime of organized retail theft. A California Highway Patrol task force was also created to help assist areas with high instances of such crimes. The law expired at the start of this year, however, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.