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Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears believes the lawlessness we are seeing across America starts at the very top of our nation.
“I think it is coming from the highest levels,” Sears told Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo on Sunday. “I am talking about from the presidency on down, where there is no leadership. There’s a vacuum.”
Sears discussed the skyrocketing surge in retail thefts in liberal states such as California and New York, and blamed a lack of leadership for allowing it to continue, noting that those who should be leading “seem to be following what’s happening on the streets.”
“That is not going to work for anyone, because the leader has to lead,” Sears stated. “That is why they are called leaders and they have to show the right way, the righteous way.”
“There is right and wrong,” she continued. “You cannot look at what’s happening in the streets and smash-and-grabs and say, ‘Well, it is just social justice.’ No, it’s theft, and it is destroying our economy.”
According to a report last month in the New York Post, “The National Retail Federation reported that store losses mounted from $453,940 per $1 billion in sales in 2015 to $719,458 in 2020,” adding that the largest increase took place in 2019, prior to the pandemic, “when total losses from shoplifting surged to $61 billion, up from $50 billion the previous year.”
“Nearly two-thirds of the retailers surveyed by the National Retail Federation said that violence associated with store thefts has risen, led by organized gangs that resell the goods they steal,” the article continues. “Like retailers, top law-enforcement officials place some of the blame for the crime surge on a widespread lessening of penalties for shoplifting”
Take, for example, California’s Prop 47, which effectively made it possible for shoplifters to walk out of a store with up to $950 in stolen goods, without fear of prosecution. Soon after the reduced penalties went into effect, shoplifting predictably spiked.
Thanks to Prop 47 thefts under $950 will not be prosecuted, so cops will not bother showing up. Just a reminder that you get what you voted for, California! pic.twitter.com/jWUPdJzy0A
— Adam Carolla (@adamcarolla) July 20, 2021
Frustrated police officers, such as California Police Chiefs Association President Ronald Lawrence, have been left helpless to deal with organized criminals, who simply go from store to store, staying under the $950 threshold.
“They will go in packs or groups,” Lawrence told the Epoch Times. “They’ll storm a store, take stuff quickly, and leave.”
“They will go up and down Interstate 80, for example,” Lawrence continued. “These are not just your local crooks. They are organized crooks taking advantage of a weakened criminal justice system and weaker laws in California.”
Indeed, the “out of control shoplifting” caused the closure of 17 Walgreens in San Francisco in 2021.
Brazen thieves literally ride into drug stores and grocery stores, clear entire shelves of their goods, and calmly exit without resistance.
Grocery store in California claims ‘out of control’ shoplifting as Walgreens closes more than a dozen stores over theft
It's the latest example of businesses closing or limiting hours due to rampant petty crime "off the charts" in San Francisco / California. pic.twitter.com/U41Qoz8W2c
— Ben Schaack (@BuyingStrength) November 1, 2021
In New York, luxury retail store Louis Vuitton became the second high-end store to be hit at the Westchester Mall, following a similar strike at Burberry.
“We have got to have people who are stopping, you know, ‘where is the wind blowing and that’s what we are about,'” Sears said. “They follow the polls, and they don’t have a righteous bone in their body.”
“Come on!” the lieutenant governor urged officials. “Let’s lead!”
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