Viral video posted earlier this week shows two men carrying armfuls of jeans, jackets and other apparel as they casually saunter out of a TJ Maxx in the Granada Hills section of the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.
‘That looks great,’ one man is heard saying in the video as the two men head toward the door with the stolen loot, making no haste as they leave.
One of the men appeared to be carrying an oversized duffle bag on his back.
The men walk across a parking lot as the man continues filming and says, ‘I want to see how far you guys get.’
The men eventually fill a black sedan with the stolen merchandise before nonchalantly driving away from the scene.
‘They didn’t even run out, they walked out,’ Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz told CBS Los Angeles.
‘And so, that’s sending a message that…the criminals, are winning.’
Shoplifting cases have been on the rise in cities across California in recent years. Many say the spike began in 2014 after the passage of Proposition 47, which downgraded charges of property theft of less than $950 in value from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Two men casually walked out of a Los Angeles area TJ Maxx with their arms full of what appears to be stolen goods as brazen shoplifters continue to rampage through California retail stores
Viral video shows two men strolling out of a TJ Maxx in the Granada Hills section of the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles
‘That looks great,’ one man is heard saying in the video as he and the other thief heads toward the door with the stolen loot
According to police, the shoplifters are taking advantage of a new law that downgrades property theft of less than $950 to a misdemeanor
The two men were seen driving away in the car circled in the image above
Sandoz, who is also vice president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, added: ‘If they’re caught, they’re probably given the equivalent of a traffic ticket.
‘So it’s not taken seriously.’
Sandoz cited an incident in which an employee of a Rite Aid in Glassell Park was shot and killed last Thursday morning after he tried to stop two men from stealing a case of beer.
The dead employee was identified as 36-year-old Miguel Penaloza.
Last week, Miguel Penaloza, 36, 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
The Los Angeles Police Department released surveillance footage showing the thieves in action last Thursday morning
According to criminal defense attorney Alexandra Kazarian, Penaloza’s death shows that store employees are fearful of confronting shoplifters who might use violence if someone tries to stop them. One of the suspects is seen in the above surveillance image released by the LAPD
According to criminal defense attorney Alexandra Kazarian, Penaloza’s death shows that store employees are fearful of confronting shoplifters who might use violence if someone tries to stop them.
‘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,’ Kazarian told CBS Los Angeles.
‘Because these businesses have insurance.’
Kazarian also disputed the notion that shoplifters who walk out with piles of goods are not getting punished.
‘People who are stealing giant, giant tote bags, giant backpacks worth of inventory are not getting the same benefit of the people that are stealing food and clothing for their children,’ she said.
No arrests have been made in the Rite Aid shooting. The LAPD released surveillance footage showing the alleged suspects.
‘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?’ Sandoz said.
The LAPD said it is investigating the TJ Maxx incident as well.
A spokesperson for Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said: ‘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.’
Gascon is one of the left-leaning leaders in California who many claim are only allowing the crime to worsen because of new policies they say are soft on crime.
On Monday, the La Verne City Council became the 24th to pass a ‘no confidence’ vote against Gascon for that very reason. A spokesperson for the La Verne City Council told Fox 11 in a statement that Gascon’s policies are a ‘risk to public safety.’
A petition to recall Gascon also launched in May, which specifically cites his refusal to seek the death penalty in any cases and his decision to drop sentence enhancements like gang affiliation.
A spokesman for Gascón told ABC 7 that the no-confidence votes are nothing more than a political ploy, but did not comment further.
Gascon defends his ideologies publicly on Twitter and his most recent tweet, on July 9, says, ‘My approach to public safety is shaped by a 40+ yr career in law enforcement, a lifetime of experiences that showed me first-hand that the “punishment first” & “lock ‘ em up” approach fails to create long term community safety.’
Violent crime is up 5% year-on-year in Los Angeles, according to Compstat crime statistics. There have been 15,6221 violent crimes recorded by the LAPD since the start of the year – up from 14,880 for the same period last year.
This has been driven by a surge in homicides and aggravated assaults.
Homicides are up 28.9% in the year to date – from 159 in 2020 to 205 this year.
Aggravated assaults are up 10.3% from 9490 in 2020, to 10646 in 2021.
Robberies are broadly flat, with 4,241 in the year to date compared to 4,403 reported in the same period last year.
Overall, the total number of arrests in LA is down 4.1% year-on-year, from 39,630 in 2020 to 38,010 this year.
Meanwhile, San Francisco is facing similar problems with shoplifting.
Earlier this month, video emerged on social media showing shoplifters brazenly making off with stolen goods after ransacking a local Neiman Marcus store in the Union Square section of San Francisco.
At least 10 people are seen in the video with armfuls of designer goods and then fleeing the luxury department store Neiman Marcus – without anyone trying to stop them.
The footage reveals the shoplifters leaving the Union Square store, each carrying bags of stolen items with the security tags still dangling off of them.
The perpetrators then ran in different directions, with a few speeding away from the scene in a white sedan.
One person watching says, ‘They can’t do anything,’ perhaps referring to security at Neiman Marcus.
Authorities said that an estimated tens of thousands of dollars worth of items were stolen.
The person who posted the video wrote a message demanding San Francisco crackdown on shoplifters and called for District Attorney of San Francisco Chesa Boudin to be removed from office.
‘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,’ Instagram user sfstreets415, whose bio reads, ‘Asian photographer and crime reporter,’ wrote.
A video posted to Instagram earlier this month captured the moment at least 10 people stole loads of designer bags from Neiman Marcus in San Francisco and fled undeterred
Police are still investigating the incident and the suspects already were gone by the time they arrived
Witnesses told KTVU that the store was about to close when the suspects came in and smashed display cases before nabbing the goods and leaving
Shoplifting cases are all too common in San Francisco, where charges of property theft less than $950 in value was downgraded from a felony to a misdemeanor in 2014
The petition was first launched in March to recall Boudin, who has come under fire in recent years, along with the city’s leadership, for allegedly not doing enough to combat San Francisco’s shoplifting problem.
Boudin hasn’t made any recent public mentions of the shoplifting incidents in his city, but on his Twitter page he has shared a number of editorials from the San Francisco arguing that the city’s crime wave is being blown out of proportion.
Most recently, on July 20, he retweeted an editorial titled, ‘San Francisco’s shoplifting panic desperately needs some context,’ which argues that the mass amount of media coverage on the rising number of shoplifting incidents is just an attempt to ’fearmonger.’
The city’s surge in such incidents arose almost immediately after the passage of Proposition 47, a ballot referendum known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act that downgraded the theft of property less than $950 in value from a felony charge to a misdemeanor – meaning that store staff and security do not pursue or stop thieves who have taken anything worth less than $1,000.
Larceny is the most common crime committed in the Bay Area, according to the San Francisco Police Department’s Crime Dashboard.
There were 14,556 instances in 2021 between January 1 and July 18, 2021 – the department’s most recent data. This is a drop by around 3.5percent from the same time period in 2020, when there were 15,077 instances. The next highest crime is burglary and there were 4,026 instances in 2021, a rough two percent increase from the 3,945 acts committed in 2020 between the same time period.
Defined by the department as including ‘thefts of bicycles, motor vehicle parts and accessories, shoplifting, pocket picking, or the stealing of any property or article that is not taken by force and violence or by fraud.’ Burglary is different from larceny because it involves unlawful trespassing to commit a crime.
The Neiman Marcus video comes less than a month after another shameless shoplifting case was caught on camera and went viral online.
The footage posted on Twitter by ABC7 Reporter Lyanne Melendez was filmed on June 14 and reveals the moment a brazen robber filled a garbage bag with products at a San Francisco Walgreens and bicycled out of the store after no one tried to stop him.
The Neiman Marcus video surfaced less than a month after another shameless shoplifting case was caught on camera. Footage showed a brazen robber, on his bicycle, as he filled a garbage bag with products at a San Francisco Walgreens and bicycled out of the store – as a bystander and security guard watch. The shoplifter has been identified as Jean Lugo-Romero
The man rode his bike to the store, filled a garbage bag with stolen goods and rode away
According to KTVU, San Francisco’s District Attorney’s Office has since filed formal charges against the perpetrator, Jean Lugo Romero, for the incident as well as other acts of commercial shoplifting and robbery at various Walgreens and CVS stores throughout the city.
The Walgreens scene followed the closing of 17 San Francisco Walgreens locations due to shoplifting cases, where theft in the pharmaceutical chain’s 53 remaining stores is four times the average for stores elsewhere in the country, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
One Walgreens reportedly loses $1,000 a day to shoplifters, the news outlet adds.
Across the city, 18 Walgreens stores saw 94 shoplifting incidents between September 1 and December 31, 2020, according to data compiled by the San Francisco Police Department and obtained by news outlet Mission Local.
Walgreens also spends 35 times more on security guards in the city than elsewhere, Jason Cunningham, regional vice president for pharmacy and retail operations in California and Hawaii, said at a hearing on retail crimes held in May by Boudin and Ahsha Safaí, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and retailers, police and probation departments.