Nancy Pelosi calls out ‘lawlessness’ after smash
By Geoff Earle, Deputy U.S. Political Editor For Dailymail.com and Alex Hammer For Dailymail.Com
Published: 20:22 GMT, 15 December 2021 | Updated: 23:02 GMT, 15 December 2021
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday finally denounced her hometown San Francisco’s rampant smash and grab looting as ‘absolutely outrageous’.
But she stopped short of endorsing Mayor Breed’s plan to increase policing and review zero bail policies
Pelosi called out what she termed an ‘attitude of lawlessness’ in the country as mobs of robbers have targeted luxury boutiques and major retailers San Francisco and cities across the US.
Pelosi commented on the ‘outrageous’ robberies, some of which were planned through online messaging apps according to law enforcement – and pointed to legislation being developed in the House to improve tracking of online sales, where stolen goods get pedaled.
She was asked to comment after San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a crackdown in the city.
Breed demanded people to be ‘less tolerant of all the bull***t that has destroyed our city.’
Pelosi said: ‘It’s absolutely outrageous. Obviously, it cannot continue.
‘But the fact is that there is an attitude of lawlessness in our country that springs from I don’t know where.’
‘It’s absolutely outrageous.’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced smash-and-grab robberies, and said there was ‘lawlessness’ in the country
‘And we cannot have that lawlessness become the norm. And these people have – they coordinate with each other. And they plan traffic patterns and the rest, so that they can reach their goal and depart very quickly,’ she added.
‘And some of it is, again, high-level stores as the retailers have told us and some of it is your local Walgreens. But none of it is acceptable. And again, it has to be stopped,’ she vowed.
She touted a bipartisan bill at the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act.
It directs online platforms to collect information on large third-party sellers, including their government ID, bank account, and tax ID information, while providing information for consumers to verify.
‘Because what people do is they steal things and sell them online,’ said Pelosi. ‘They have to establish their legitimacy if they’re going to be sold online.’
She also pointed to a Judiciary Committee bill to ‘incentivize’ online platforms to weed out sellers of counterfeit products.
Pelosi sought to contrast the organized robberies with other types of theft.
‘And again, showing that people are not able to profit from that. It isn’t like punish somebody stealing something to go home because they don’t have the money to buy. This is about stealing for profit. They have to prove where it came from. It’s outrageous. And it must, I agree with the mayor, it must be stopped,’ she said.
‘It’s not just San Francisco. It’s an it’s an our entire country. And that’s evidenced by the appeals that we are receiving from across the country for the legislation,’ Pelosi said.
‘It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,’ she fumed. Jordan Why Not Zer0.1 Chaos Black/University Red Mens Size ‘And it comes to an end when we take the steps to more aggressive with law enforcement. More aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerate of all the bulls*** that has destroyed our city.’
‘In recent months we’ve not only seen a number of high-profile incidents of brazen robberies and car break-ins but also street behavior and criminal activity especially in the Tenderloin that has become far too normal and cannot continue to be tolerated,’ she said, San Francisco’s CBS affiliate reported.
‘All of our residents, our workers and everyone who visits our city should feel safe no matter what part of town they are in. I know San Francisco is a compassionate city. But we’re not a city where anything goes. Our compassion should not be mistaken for weakness or indifference.’
‘This isn’t ‘The Godfather’ by any stretch,’ said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe Monday, of the string of ‘smash and grab’ robberies plaguing the Southern California community in recent months, amid increased crime spurred by the pandemic and lax burglary laws implemented by the state.
‘It’s the modern version of ‘Hey, there’s a party tonight’ and suddenly you have 100 kids showing up.’
Amid the rash of looting, some are pointing to the city’s DA Chesa Boudin and a 2014 state law making theft of less than $950 a misdemeanor crime. Protesters have gone after Boudin as the city’s crime rate spiked over the previous year. He, too, has vowed to crack down on the looters.
Wagstaffe is one of several San Francisco prosecutors tasked with tackling the daunting task of quelling organized retail theft, as part of a newly formed coalition of prosecutors investigating the incidents.
The task force, comprised of several Bay Area attorneys, further revealed that robbers used Snapchat and other social-media apps and messaging services to coordinate their heists.
The tactics used by the perpetrators, which police concede is something that they have never seen before, make catching or identifying the suspects increasingly difficult.
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 November 19. Five arrests have since been made
Footage from the aftermath shows the glass door was shattered in the incident, and the shelves were completely empty
What’s more, police reveal, when suspects are apprehended in regards to the attacks – which in some cases see 90 suspects convene on one location – they often do not have names or information about others who were present.
A spokesperson for Snap Inc., the company that oversees multimedia messaging app Snapchat, said in a statement Monday to The Wall Street Journal that her team has looked into the issue raised by San Francisco police regarding the robberies, and asserted that they have yet to find any evidence suggesting such activity on the app.
Officers have already made a string of arrests in relation to the late-November attacks, which police previously posited were related.
Three arrests have been made in connection with the coordinated attack on a Nordstrom Inc. store in the wealthy Bay Area suburb of Walnut Creek, California, on November 20.
An estimated 90 people overran the posh boutique and made off with more than $100,000 of merchandise before escaping in 25 separate cars that had their license plates removed or covered, prosecutors said.
An estimated 90 people overran a Nordstrom Inc. store in the wealthy Bay Area suburb of Walnut Creek, California, on November 20 and made off with more than $100,000 of merchandise, escaping in cars that had their license plates removed or covered
According to officers and witnesses on the scene, several of the suspects donned ski masks and crowbars during the store attack in the San Francisco suburb.
Suspects also assaulted employees while fleeing the scene, with one hit with pepper spray during what police called a ‘clearly a planned event.’ Walnut Creek police said they arrested two suspects and recovered a gun.
Five others have also been arrested in relation to a similar strike on a San Francisco store the day prior, which saw somewhere between 20 and 40 people storm a Louis Vuitton in the the city’s Union Square and make off with thousands of dollars of products.
Meanwhile, police across the county in Minneapolis, where a roving group of thieves targeted three separate Best Buy stores on November 26, have revealed that they have identified several suspects in the startling strikes, but have yet to make any arrests.
Law-enforcement officials told the Journal Monday that all the suspects arrested used social media to help coordinate the attacks, with many favoring the popular app Snapchat, which automatically deletes users’ messages once they are sent, delivered, Jordan Why Not Zer0.1 Low Bred Black/Gym Red-Black On Sale and opened – which police say may entice prospective offenders.
The sources further divulged to the outlet that the groups, commonly known as ‘flash mobs’ in reference to the size of such groups and the duration of their attacks, come together to commit the thefts after one organizer posts a target and a time on the app.
A map shows the locations of some of the major smash-and-grab robberies that have recently taken place in Southern California
The officials declined to provide the specificities as to how suspects come to find such posts online, which may be hidden in private groups on various social media apps, including Snapchat.
Investigators believe that the recent spate of burglaries in the Bay Area were timed around the verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teen who was acquitted on November 19 of killing two people during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year.
Police say that suspects planned the thefts at that time because they likely discerned that law-enforcement officials would be distracted by prospective backlash over the verdict.
With that said, after Rittenhouse’s verdict, the Bay Area saw a relentless string of audacious ‘smash-and-grab’ robberies, including an incident involving a gaggle of hammer-wielding masked bandits who ransacked jewelry, sunglasses and clothing stores at the Southland Mall in the San Jose suburb of Hayward on November 21.
That same evening, packs of thieves ransacked a sunglasses store and a Lululemon store in San Jose, stealing nearly $50,000 in merchandise.
That week, there was also a string of attacks on San Francisco stores in the city’s downtown area and in Union Square, including the Louis Vuitton, as well as a Burberry and Bloomingdale’s.
Another incident, on November 19, saw roving bands of thieves brandishing hammers and crowbars hit a string of high-end retailers, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Bloomingdales, as well as a Walgreens pharmacy and several marijuana dispensaries, in the vicinity of Union Square in San Francisco, a high-end area popular with tourist that was crowded with holiday shoppers.
Many blame the influx of incidents on the voter-approved measure Proposition 47 – passed by California voters on November 5, 2014 – which reclassified felony thefts cases under $950 to misdemeanors.
However, the bill does spell out more severe consequences for groups of two or more people who conspire the commit such crimes – which would spell trouble for suspects currently being apprehended in relation to the large-scale, coordinated strikes.
The policy states that 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 a year in county prison, a fine of $10,000, or a combination of the two.
The three suspects arrested in connection with the Walnut Creek Nordstrom robbery have been charged with several crimes, including second-degree robbery, a felony that warrants a sentence of up to five years, and organized retail theft, which can be viewed as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.
The suspects have yet to entered pleas, police say, and a spokesman for the Contra Costa County public defender’s office further revealed that none of the alleged miscreants have been assigned legal representation.
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The five suspects in San Francisco’s Union Square Louis Vuitton heist, meanwhile, have been charged with multiple felonies, including looting during a state of emergency and grand theft.
Richard Shikman, an attorney for one of the suspects in the Louis Vuitton case, 28-year-old Kimberly Cherry, declined to comment on the charges leveled against his client when asked by the the Journal, asserting that he does not believe the 20 to 40 suspects were part of a tightknit group.
‘This isn’t like an organized thing where everyone knows each other,’ Shikman told the paper Monday.
The attorney added that he was not aware about the reported use of social media to help plan the robberies.
All five have entered not-guilty pleas in relation to the November 19 attack.
The development in the investigations into the recent spate of smash and grab incidents comes as reports of larceny theft – shoplifting from a person or business – are up nearly 17 percent to more than 28,000 from the same time last year.
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