BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Retail theft is on the rise statewide as the eve of the holiday shopping spike approaches, shoppers are worried and confused.
Employees at the Olive Plaza shopping center in Northwest Bakersfield say the crimes happen so often that they already know these thieves by first name. They believe that a lackluster law enforcement response coupled with strict store policies could be the reason thieves continue to crack down.
It goes from Northern California to Southern California. In San Francisco, a large crowd stormed several retail stores and left with handfuls of merchandise.
In Los Angeles, cheeky burglars vandalized a store in The Grove, ultimately leading to an arrest by the LAPD hours later. But the fear and terror that these retail thieves bring with them is cause for concern for buyers.
“It’s a done deal,” said Laura McClure, an Olive Plaza customer. “I’ve been to stores where they go out the front exit while shopping, I’m going in the opposite direction when I see that happening.”
It’s a crime that targets anyone, even Gov. Gavin Newsom condemned the crime after thieves broke into his business, PlumpJack Wine & Spirits in San Francisco, three times this year.
“I have no sympathy,” Governor Newsom said. “No empathy whatsoever for people breaking and stealing people’s items.”
Buyers say the strict policies of many retailers that prevent bar workers from responding to theft could be one of the reasons these thieves keep coming back. One of those buyers is Cecelia Anderson, who works at a retailer with strict intervention policies.
“The merchandise is guaranteed, a life is not,” Anderson said. “They [retailers] it suffices to intensify their presence.
Thefts are common at the Olive Plaza near Oildale; it comes as no surprise to the security guard in charge of patrolling the mall.
“I’m patrolling this whole lot,” Cannton Moore said. “Sometimes people will wait for me to go patrolling in the back and that’s when they’ll hit Ross or Dollar Tree and that’s where the employees will run out and say, ‘You just did it. to lack.
That’s exactly what happened, minutes before our interview, a distressed dollar store manager fled after a passenger ran out of items. No police attended and no report was immediately filed. In this part of town, the Kern County Sheriff is the one who answers the calls.
“When they pull out a gun or a knife, that has happened and it happens a lot,” Moore said. “Some stores still won’t call the cops because they won’t come as quickly as possible.”
In a statement, KCSO said, “KCSO responds first to ongoing and life-threatening service calls.
(Reports filed online) are reviewed and followed up as soon as an assistant is available.
Under the California State Penal Code, arrest of a citizen is permitted, but any liability arising from this involvement becomes the sole responsibility of the citizen, which the KCSO does not recommend that people do.
“They’re letting someone escape,” Anderson said. “When it’s law enforcement, it should be a sudden response.”