Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is calling into question claims made by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) about a series of robberies in L.A. and across the nation.
According to Fox News, Villanueva addressed the progressive congresswoman’s remarks in a statement Wednesday. Days earlier, Ocasio-Cortez had said in an interview that “a lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are actually not panning out,” citing a “Walgreens in California that cited the issue but didn’t have the ‘data to back it up.'”
Robberies a top challenge
But Villanueva wasn’t buying it.
“In the words of John Adams, ‘Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence,’” he said Wednesday, according to Fox. “No matter how badly certain politicians want to perform the Jedi mind trick to further their political narrative, the facts and evidence cannot be altered.”
According to Fox, Walgreens recently closed two dozen locations in San Francisco because of the robbery and looting problems there that helped the area earn the nickname “shoplifter’s paradise.” A fall 2020 raid by police recovered $8 million in stolen goods there, Fox said.
The drugstore chain, for its part, said that organized retail theft was one of its “top challenges,” according to Fox, and claimed the problem had spread from just theft to selling the stolen goods online.
“She should just say that”
Along with Villanueva, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) also issued a response following AOC’s interview.
“Respectfully, the Congresswoman has no idea what she is talking about. Both the data and stack of video evidence makes fairly clear that this is a growing problem in need of solutions,” RILA spokesperson Jason Brewer said, according to Fox. “If she is not concerned with organized theft and increasingly violent attacks on retail employees, she should just say that.”
Sadly, even when police do catch smash-and-grab thieves, they are being released in some areas as soon as they are processed due to changes in bail laws.
Fourteen people were arrested last week in Los Angeles for robberies in November, but they were all released on minimal bail or because they “met no-bail criteria,” CBS News reported. One was a juvenile.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) is now calling for an end to some of the bail policies, which he says were temporary to free up jail space during COVID-19, as CBS notes.
The problem is, it’s hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube. When people see others getting away with these crimes, they want to get their piece of the free stuff. The longer this is allowed to go on without being stopped in its tracks, the more often it will happen.