Beverly Hills boutique owner bans masks over crime problem, calls out celebs making problem worse

A Beverley Hills clothing store has taken what it deems to be a necessary step to ban customers from wearing facemasks due to a growing problem with theft.

This coming as Los Angeles County still requires facemasks on all public transportation, including airports and other transit hubs, and “strongly recommends” masks be worn in “indoor public settings and businesses such as retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, cardrooms, meetings, state and local government offices that serve the public.” There is also a statewide mask mandate in health care and long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, and homeless and emergency shelters.

Kitson Los Angeles, a fashion and lifestyle boutique, responded to what employees say is a growing number of criminals coming to the store looking to shoplift while wearing face masks, KTLA reported. There have also been assaults and harassment from customers hiding behind masks, the employees said.

Sales associate Santos Hemenway told KTTV that other nearby stores have had to shut down due to all the theft in the area.

“We definitely have security guards at all of our stores and we’ve installed high-security cameras, but [the mask] covers their face, the most important part of their face that we need to use when showing the police,” he said.

“At Kitson, we prioritize the safety of our staff and customers. We noticed a disturbing trend of individuals wearing masks to avoid identification in various situations including, but not limited to, shoplifting, verbal harassment, and physical assault,” owner Fraser Ross said in a statement. “The mask mandate may have begun as a health precaution but we believe it is now being used by some people for nefarious purposes. To that end, we enacted our own mandate of sorts. We do not allow the wearing of masks in the store during regular business hours. Those people who wish to wear masks are free to set up an appointment for a personal shopping experience or visit our website.”

Ross appeared on Fox News and in speaking of the crime they’re up against, he said, “Good morning from Gotham City — I have to say, Los Angeles is really not the word to use today.”

“It’s been escalating daily in LA, just in our little area,” he said. “We’ve had people come in with weapons, scissors put into the employees’ face as they said hand over the cash. I’ve been strangled and I’ve been pepper sprayed in the store. Enough is enough.”

“When they come to the store with a mask on, they’ve got a bucket hat, a hoodie and a mask, and you can’t see their eyes. In a lineup, we’d never be able to identify them. The camera in the store can’t identify them, the security guards can’t identify them. Enough is enough.”

As for the LA Department of Public Health, Ross had this defiant message: “We are not going to listen to the Health Director Barbara Ferrer.”

The owner also called out A-list celebrities, whom he suggested played a huge part in what’s going on in society today.

“The real root of this comes from celebrities, Chrissy Teigen — ‘I’ll pay $100,000 to bail out rioters and looters,’ and Kim Kardashian endorsing [LA District Attorney] George Gascon. So we need the A-list people in this town to realize how bad it is and go to government officials and say, ‘We need to curtail this.'”

Tom Tillison


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