Social media ripped woke supposed criminal experts for saying that the public should not refer to the string of thefts across California as ‘looting.’
Those interviewed, including a professor of criminal justice and ex-cop, think the steals should be referred to as ‘organized smash and grabs.’
The distinction originates from the California penal code, which defines looting as ‘theft or burglary…during a ‘state of emergency’, ‘local emergency’, or ‘evacuation order’ resulting from an earthquake, fire, flood, riot or other natural or manmade disaster.’
The distinction is important to experts like Lorenzo Boyd, PhD, Professor of Criminal Justice & Community Policing at the University of New Haven, and a retired veteran police officer.
‘Looting is a term that we typically use when people of color or urban dwellers are doing something. We tend not to use that term for other people when they do the exact same thing,’ said Boyd.
There has been no claim made regarding the identities or races of the thieves involved in the current crime wave.
No local or national emergency has been declared in recent times in the Bay Area, where much of the crime has taken place.
The experts claim that these crimes are not looting because looting tends to be done out of desperation.
‘This seems like it’s an organized smash and grab robbery,’ said Martin Reynolds, Co-executive director of the Robert C. Maynard Institute of Journalism Education. ‘This doesn’t seem like looting. We’re thinking of scenarios where first responders are completely overwhelmed. And folks, often may be on their own.’
On social media, critics from both the worlds of politics and media seethed at what they so as an attempt by woke media to obfuscate the recent crime wave.
Julio Rosas, a Marine and Town Hall contributor, quipped: ‘Future CNN chyron: Mostly peaceful shopping in the Bay Area.’
Conservative activist and filmmaker – and former convicted felon – Dinesh D’Souza: ‘Experts refuse to call a spade a spade, unless, of course, it’s a spade wielded by a white male.’
Ex-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker compared it to the language used in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin: ‘It’s looting. Just like there were riots in Kenosha, not just protests.’
Conservative media personality Jesse Kelly simply asked: ‘What’s the color of the sky again?’
This comes after there were three straight days of widespread looting in the San Francisco Bay Area, with California Gov. Gavin Newsom vowing on Monday to get tough with organized gangs of thieves, despite a 2014 law that barred prosecutors from charging people suspected of shoplifting with felonies.
After Proposition 47 was approved by voters, anyone caught shoplifting items not exceeding $950 would be charged with misdemeanors.
But critics said the measure encouraged the rampant organized retail theft, with gangs of thieves filmed smashing glass cases at a jewelry store and snatching garments from upmarket yoga clothing brand Lululemon on Sunday – one day after others were filmed swarming a drug store and stealing prescriptions.
Dramatic footage released on Monday shows a group of about 40 to 50 robbers wielding hammers to smash display cases at a Sam’s Jewelers at the Southland Mall in Hayward around 5:30pm PST Sunday. Shop workers are seen screaming with fear as the disturbing scene unfolded.
Also on Sunday, another gang of looters snatched garments from a Lululemon store in San Jose, KPIX reported.
And on Saturday, a video posted to Twitter showed a swarm of robbers on a security camera stealing prescriptions from Wellspring Pharmacy in Oakland at around 7.30pm.
Pharmacy employees sped up the footage to show dozens of people running through the store to grab boxes of drugs off the shelves before quickly moving out. It is unclear which drugs were stolen, but staff say customers’ whose meds were stolen will be able to collect replacement meds.
Store employees told KGO-TV reporter Dion Lim they were ‘overwhelmed and devastated’ by the brazen theft, as it is a small drug store and does not have the same resources as chains like CVS or Walgreens.
Just about an hour later, in San Jose, a group of suspects entered a Lululemon in the outdoor mall at Santana Row and took an unknown amount of merchandise before fleeing. No other information about the incident has been reported.
Police officers stand outside a Sam’s Jewelers after the store was part of the recent California crime wave
HAYWARD: The group of about 40 to 50 teenage shoplifters made off with an unknown amount of jewelry and other items
Hayward police said they responded to the Southland Mall at around 5.30pm on Sunday, after receiving multiple calls from shoppers and employees about the shoplifting
HAYWARD: It is not known how much jewelry and other merchandise the thieves got away with
OAKLAND: Video posted to Twitter shows a swarm of robbers entering Wellspring Pharmacy in Oakland on Saturday and grabbing boxes of prescription drugs off the shelves
OAKLAND: Store employees told KGO-TV reporter Dion Lim they were ‘overwhelmed and devastated’ by the brazen theft, as it is a small drug store and does not have the same resources as chains like CVS or Walgreens
These thefts occurred as police in nearby Walnut Creek, about 25 miles from San Francisco, warned that there could be a repeat of the stealing spree that community saw the night before.
‘The Walnut Creek PD is actively monitoring intelligence that indicates the group of thieves who stole from the Broadway Plaza Nordstrom last night are considering similar activity later today,’ the Walnut Creek Police Department tweeted Sunday night.
‘This has not been confirmed, but out of an abundance of caution, we’re alerting businesses and residents to be prepared … some stores may consider closing early or taking other precautions.
‘There is no specific time or target known right now,’ the police department noted.
Eighty looters ransacked a Nordstrom store in the area Saturday night, injuring at least three employees in a raid that lasted less than a minute.
The large group, wearing ski masks and carrying crowbars, rushed the Walnut Creek store, stole an undetermined amount of merchandise and fled in their vehicles.
During the theft, two Nordstrom workers were punched and kicked, while another was sprayed with pepper spray. All three individuals were treated for their injuries on scene.
Walnut Creek police have arrested three people in connection to the incident and they are facing various charges including robbery, conspiracy, burglary, possession of stolen property and a weapons charge.
Officials have declared the robbery an ‘organized retail theft.’
WALNUT CREEK: On Saturday, a group of about eighty looters ransacked a Nordstrom store
WALNUT CREEK: The incident took less than a minute before the suspects got back in their car and fled the scene
WALNUT CREEK: Police were able to arrest three people in the Nordstrom theft on Saturday night
On Friday, the Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco’s Union Square also was targeted and ransacked by a group of more than a dozen thieves.
Police responded to the store shortly after 8pm Friday where they ‘observed several suspects involved in criminal acts.’
California’s Proposition 47 – lighter sentences for thieves
Proposition 47 was passed by California voters on November 5, 2014.
It made some ‘non-violent’ property crimes, where the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $950, into misdemeanors.
It also made some ‘simple’ drug possession offenses into misdemeanors, and allows past convictions for these charges to be reduced to a misdemeanor by a court.
Under California law, though, if two or more person’s conspire to ‘cheat and defraud any person or any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal’ they can face no more than one year in county prison, a fine of $10,000 or a combination of the two.
Witnesses recorded video of masked thieves running through the streets with their hands full of clothing items and bags.
Law enforcement officers are seen chasing after a thief to their parked getaway car and bashing in the windows with batons, dragging the culprit out of the car and restraining them on the sidewalk.
Footage also showed the decimated storefront with shattered glass all over the sidewalk and totally empty shelves.
Police confirmed they had arrested multiple suspects and that the Louis Vuitton store may have not been the only one targeted.
They were able to recover thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise, the police chief said in a news conference the next day.
Police are now working to determine whether the three thefts over the weekend are connected, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Sunday’s incident in Hayward happened in Alameda County, while the Walnut Creek ransacking took place in Contra Costa County, and San Jose’s Lululemon incident happened within Santa Clara County.
It is unclear whether the brazen robbers involved in these thefts will face charges, as California’s Proposition 47, passed by voters in 2014 made some ‘non-violent’ property crimes, where the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $950, into misdemeanors.
The suspects involved in these robberies, however, seemed to have conspired to commit them, and under California law, ‘If two or more person’s conspire to cheat and defraud any person or any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal’ they can face no more than one year in county prison, a fine of $10,000 or a combination of the two.
Oakland Councilman Loren Taylor said the brazen thefts over the past few days qualify as ‘organized crime,’ telling KPIX on Sunday: ‘This is criminal activity.’
And San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said on Monday that he plans to file felony charges against the eight people arrested for the crime, and will use his investigative resources to crack down on the operations that fuel the organized thefts.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the District Attorney’s Offices in Alameda County, Santa Clara County and San Francisco County for comment.
A spokesperson for the Almeda County District Attorney’s Office replied that they cannot speculate on charges.
SAN FRANCISCO: A suspect was seen running away with an armful of merchandise after stealing from a Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco’s Union Square on Friday night
Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, said he had ‘no sympathy or empathy’ for those involved in the brazen thefts, which were caught on camera.
The video clips went viral on social media, causing embarrassment for local officials in the Bay Area who have struggled to get a grip on the problem.
The governor on Monday pledged to provide ‘exponential level of support’ in the next state budget to help cities combat retail theft rings.
‘We want people prosecuted and we want people to feel safe,’ Newsom said during an appearance at a Bay Area vaccine clinic, where he was promoting booster shots.
‘They must be held to account.’
Newsom said his office met with retailers over the weekend who asked for more police patrols.
‘You will see substantially more starting today, in and around areas that are highly trafficked and coming into the holiday season Black Friday in shopping malls,’ he told reporters.
California Governor Gavin Newsom vowed on Monday to get tough with organized gangs of thieves who have ransacked and looted luxury retail stores in the San Francisco Bay Area
But the widespread looting is not isolated to California – recently, officials outside of Chicago, Illinois have also reported an uptick in brazen thefts.
Last Wednesday, police say, at least 14 people forced their way into a Louis Vuitton Store in Oak Brook – about 20 miles outside of Chicago – and made off with at least $120,000 in merchandise.
Oak Brook officials told WLS they responded to a report from mall security at around 3.31pm of several people partaking in a ‘grab and run’ of merchandise.
They said the individuals rushed into the store at the Oak Brook Center Mall, took out garbage bags and began filling them with items before fleeing in three separate vehicles.
Surveillance footage from inside the store shows masked shoplifters pour into the store, grabbing handbags and other merchandise while shoppers ran away.
Police were later able to recover one of the vehicles, a Dodge Charger, that was reported stolen in October out of Chicago.
Investigators told WLS they have information on the three vehicles the thieves drove away in, with Police Chief James Kruger saying his crew is working with investigators in the northern Chicago suburb of Northbrook, where eight people took off with $66,000 worth of merchandise from another Louis Vuitton store.
In that case, in October, police said 13 drivers targeted a store at the Northbrook Court Mall.
OAK BROOK, ILLINOIS: Surveillance footage from inside a Louis Vuitton store showed masked shoplifters, top right, pour into the store and grab handfuls of merchandise as customers ran away
OAK BROOK, ILLINOIS: Police say the shoplifters took out garbage bags and began filling them with items before fleeing in three separate vehicles
Police in Oak Brook are now reportedly turning to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul for help.
‘The attorney general is looking into this investigation as well as whether or not to tie it to a larger-scale investigation,’ Police Chief James Kruger told WLS.
Raoul had previously set up a public-private partnership to combat the rise in organized retail crime.
The Organized Retail Crime Task Force comprises career investigators and attorneys from the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement Division, working in concert with the United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, the Illinois State Police, the Barrington Police Department, the West Chicago Police Department, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Association of State’s Attorneys.
They will consult with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Magnificent Mile Association, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, the Internet Association, as well as national retailers like CVS, Home Deport, Lowes, Target, Walgreens and Walmart to combat organized thefts.
‘These brazen, violent crimes are committed by sophisticated criminal organizations that are involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking and other serious crimes,’ Raoul announced in September.
‘Even during the looting we saw last year, we came to understand that some of these criminal acts were not merely opportunistic, but organized in advance,’ he said.
‘The Organized Retail Crime Task Force will allow investigators and prosecutors in my office to better collaborate with our law enforcement partners and ensure cooperation between law enforcement, as well as retailers and online marketplaces, to protect communities, consumers and combat the rise in retail crime.’