Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) received a fair share of criticism following comments in which she suggested smash-and-grab robberies, some of which have been captured on video, aren’t actually happening.
In an interview with the Washington Times, AOC claimed “a lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out.”
“I believe it’s a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn’t back it up,” she added.
Walgreens announced this past October they were closing five stores in San Francisco due to an uptick in “organized retail crime” in the Democrat-dominated city.
Out of touch or just plain denial… I say, both!https://t.co/2GH07evHD5
— David Theus (@DavidTheus) December 6, 2021
AOC: Smash-and-Grab Robberies Aren’t Happening
Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso made an announcement last month: “Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to that.”
He added, “Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average.”
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The spike in organized theft and subsequent closings come despite the fact that Walgreens, according to Caruso, “increased our investments in security measures in stores across the city to 46 times our chain average.”
“This is a sad day for San Francisco.” https://t.co/cstqzhTfpj
— ABC News (@ABC) October 13, 2021
A video surfaced over the summer showing retail theft at a San Francisco Walgreens in action.
“In June, a masked man was caught on video at a Walgreens, stuffing items into a trash bag before cruising out of the store on a bicycle,” the Associated Press reported.
Videos of more sophisticated robbery attempts have surfaced more recently.
Even CNN, just two days ago, reported that “Retail stores across the country are dealing with a wave of robberies conducted by large groups of people.”
The Washington Post noted that there has been a “spike” in “flash mob” robberies that have “shaken the retail industry” and is “traumatizing workers.”
Walnut Creek, a city in California, saw smash-and-grab looters stealing about $125,000 in merchandise from a Nordstrom, leading to the city council approving $2 million in funds to increase police department and security.
#BayArea | 3 days of Bay Area mass robberies.
50-80 people ransacked #Nordstrom.
— Luz Peña (@Luzpenatv) November 23, 2021
Lawmakers, Business Leaders Mock AOC Over Comments
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, according to the Washington Times report, revealed that during one 10-day stretch in November the city experienced 11 crimes that would constitute the smash-and-grab variety.
The thefts involved methods “where groups of suspects, working in tandem, worked to steal from high-end clothing stores, often using weapons and physical force to overwhelm and intimidate store employees and other patrons,” Moore stated.
In one instance, a security guard and former police officer was shot dead as he tried to protect a news crew that was reporting on the crimes. Perhaps AOC should speak to that officer’s family and find out if the smash-and-grab robberies are real.
SMASH & GRAB: Mass and organized robberies are increasing across the nation — with one turning deadly, as millions of Americans go about their holiday shopping. pic.twitter.com/pkgqVCxmAX
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) November 27, 2021
Republican lawmakers and business leaders mocked AOC for her comments.
“I don’t know what data she is talking about,” said Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL), something that could be classified as an evergreen comment when it comes to Ocasio-Cortez.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 3, 2021
Jason Brewer, RILA senior executive vice president of communications, was a little more detailed in his response via email.
“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,” Brewer said.
“If she is not concerned with organized theft and increasingly violent attacks on retail employees, she should just say that.”
CNN Analyst Has ‘No Idea’ What’s Behind Smash & Grab Robbery Wave—Then Supplies Answer! | Newsbuster https://t.co/5mX7HhAXjA
— MediaResearchCenter (@theMRC) November 28, 2021
Walgreens and Nordstrom aren’t the only retailers combating a rise in crime in Democrat-run cities.
Target announced over the summer that they were cutting store hours in San Francisco to address the rise in shoplifting.
“With the safety of our guests, team members, and communities as our top priority, we’ve temporarily reduced our operating hours in six San Francisco stores,” a spokesperson in July.
“For more than a month, we’ve been experiencing a significant and alarming rise in theft and security incidents at our San Francisco stores, similar to reports from other retailers in the area,” Target said in a statement.
None of this is “actually panning out” according to AOC.
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