PHILADELPHIA, PA – Approximately 20 convenience stores in the city of Philadelphia have closed down with no intention of reopening. The owners say that an increase in shoplifting is responsible.
This brazen shoplifting is on par with the types that Law Enforcement Today has covered in places like San Francisco, where people carry out garbage bags of merchandise in broad daylight.
Surveillance video of one such recent incident in Philadelphia shows 5 mine wearing hoodies and ski masks entering a 7-Eleven, moving the cashier to the side and essentially ransacking the store, while one stood at the door as a lookout.
While the cashier opened the register for one of the suspects to empty out, others went straight for the cigarette cabinets and began filling a trash bag with an undetermined number of cartons. One of the men can be seen dumping out a trash can so he can use the bag to hold more merchandise.
When the man at the door warned that someone was coming, the men began to scramble and leave. Footage shows one of them push the clerk into a back office, go through his wallet and throw it on the table before walking away.
“They walk in, boom, boom, boom, like that. They said, ‘Give us money.’ Now all of a sudden, all this time it was money, now they are coming for merchandise, looking for cigarettes,” said store owner Vincent Emmanuel. “It’s a scary situation. Sooner or later, somebody is gonna get really hurt out there.”
Merchants and owners first started seeing the issue in Philadelphia itself. Now they say that it is spreading into the suburbs.
“Right now, we have a lot of problems with the city of Philadelphia stores. We are closing left and right,” Manzoor Chughtai, the president of the Franchise Owners Association, told ABC 6. “Robbers are coming in, they’re just robbing the place left and right.”
Chughtai discussed the store closures.
“We have now lost about 15, 20 stores in the city of Philadelphia. Nobody wants to take over the store. Nobody wants to run the business in the city of Philadelphia. Very dangerous.”
The ABC 6 report also stated that at least two of the men involved were captured on store surveillance footage at another convenience store earlier in the day, doing essentially the same thing as a clerk watched helplessly.
The store closures also run parallel with what has been happening in San Francisco, where Walgreens closed 5 stores and reduced the operating hours of others.
“Due to ongoing organized retail crime, we have made the difficult decision to close five stores across San Francisco,” a Walgreens spokesperson told FOX Business late last year. “Each store will transfer prescriptions to a nearby Walgreens location within a mile radius and we expect to place the stores’ team members in other nearby locations.”
These issues are not just happening in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Please take a minute to see what has been happening in placing like Seattle and New York City by:
NYPD, defunded by $1 billion, reports shoplifting levels highest they’ve seen in 30 years
NEW YORK, NY – The New York Police Department is reporting that organized crime rings have ramped up the number of shoplifting cases to numbers they have not seen in three decades.
NYPD Reports Shoplifting Levels Not Seen In Nearly 30 Years As Organized Retail Crime Ramps Up Nationwide – CBS New York https://t.co/NOoLBdXz76
— Frank Rogers (@Frogers31450) January 27, 2022
The New York Police Department recently reported the agency received over 26,000 reports of shoplifting throughout the city during 2021.
In 2020, the city received over 20,000 reports which has been leading many retailers locking up their merchandise to prevent theft.
One resident, Lattina Brown, spoke to Fox News about this:
“I went into my local pharmacy to purchase some vitamins and when I walked into the pharmacy, I noticed that the shelves were like completely empty and I asked the workers there, like what happened to the merchandise with your vitamins?
“Where’s your toilet paper and other essential items? I was told that people were coming in there and stealing them, looting things out of the store and that they cannot touch them.”
Brown is upset and concerned that retailers in the city are seemingly forced to lock up their goods as they claim there is no other way to deter theft. Brown, who is also running for New York City Council in District 17, fears that these thefts will shut retailers down and force them to move out of the city. She said:
“This is a major pharmacy, Rite Aid that caters to a lot of families who have underlying heath issues. If we lose this pharmacy, we’re going to be left out in the open to dry like we have people suffering with asthma, diabetes, heart conditions.
“Walgreens shut down not too long ago because they had the same issue. So, we don’t want this to continue to happen. There needs to be some, some type of change.”
NYPD Reports Shoplifting Levels Not Seen In Nearly 30 Years. bill de Blasio destroyed NYC and now Mayor Adams is trying to clean it up. Can Adams do it? https://t.co/VpGwA2QxrY
— NYCPHOTOG (@nycphotog) January 26, 2022
There are many opinions on why there has been a significant increase in the retail thefts in New York and other major cities in the country. One of them being the criminal justice and defund the police movements which seemingly have led to fewer arrests and convictions.
Another opinion is that mental illness coupled with people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic have caused the increase. One of the people with this opinion, Darrin Porcher, a retired NYPD Lieutenant, spoke to Fox News:
“It’s [the cause] is multifaceted, one of the things is the unemployment rate is going up in the wake of the pandemic. Secondly, we have a lost of cases of mental illness that are not being treated.
“So, when you have the collaboration of the unemployment at a peak coupled with mental illness that’s not being treated, you now have a combustible situation.”
Porcher also talked about steps that retailers can do to minimize the amount of theft inside of their stores He said:
“I think that the security in a lot of these retail establishments should be ramped up and many retail establishments are unwilling to provide or afford themselves that additional protection.
When you have uniformed security in a lot of these stores that are experiencing the greatest peak of shoplifting offenses, it creates or presents a level of omnipresence.”
The increase in shoplifting and theft cases are not centralized to New York, rather, almost every large metropolitan city is suffering. One of the areas that has been hit the most is San Francisco where they have seen several large retailers close because they can no longer afford to stay open.
This is what happens when Democrats run Cities there is no judicial system in these cities. @NYPDnews Reports Shoplifting Levels Not Seen In Nearly 30 Years As Organized Retail Crime Ramps Up Nationwide – CBS New York https://t.co/MsFqL47WkT
— RAAS (@Robinsm86398738) January 27, 2022
Some believe that the spike in crime in these large cities is driven by large criminal organizations that utilize the stolen merchandise and then sell the items online for a large profit.
Ben Dugan, the President of the National Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, noted:
“Professional thieves working as part of a criminal organization to try to obtain as much product directly from retailers as they can for resale and for profit.”
Dugan also noted the theft is not only affecting retailers, but also the consumer because prices are raised to offset the costs. Dugan said:
“The average American family will pay $500 more in higher prices to offset some of the costs of organized retail crime.”
Police: Rampant retail thefts are so bad in Seattle that even Target is struggling to keep the doors open
Jason Rantz, from the Jason Rantz Show, reports that he looked into the number of thefts that have been occurring at the local store over the last year.
Rantz alleged that he asked one of the employees if the theft was that bad and he was told that something is stolen about every ten minutes.
Rantz stood by to check out the situation for himself and noted that he observed Target employees confront two separate criminals within 12 minutes after they had allegedly stolen items. He Tweeted:
“Within 12 minutes of stepping foot into the Downtown Seattle Target, I saw security confront two shoplifters.
“One staff member told me this happens about every ten minutes in the store. The shelves are empty because of the shoplifting.
“Seattle is thriving!”
To combat some of the thefts that have been occurring, Target has stationed security guards at each of the entrances and exits of the building. The hope is that the presence of security will deter those that are considering stealing items.
Rantz stayed inside the store for a few hours and reported on some instances where he believed retail thefts had occurred. The first one he noted was around 11:45 am when he saw a man get off of an elevator with household cleaners in his hands.
Rantz claimed that the items in the man’s hands were stolen as the only way to check out would have been on a different floor. The man walked in the direction of an off-duty Seattle Police Officer who was working security and stopped.
The man dropped one item which prompted the off-duty officer to order him to turn over anything else that was stolen. Despite collecting a majority of the items, Rantz alleges that the criminal was still able to escape with at least one stolen item.
The next instance occurred just before noon when Rantz saw a staff member confront a woman who was accused of stealing. He said that the security guard ordered the woman to remove several items of stolen clothing out of her bag while they watched.
After security was satisfied that they had removed all of the stolen merchandise, she was escorted out of the store. Rantz said, despite her being allowed to leave, that the woman hurled insults at the staff during the entire event.
To help combat some of the thefts that are occurring in the store, Target has resorted to only selling high-end items online. Items such as PlayStations or Xbox’s are not available unless the product is paid in full online.
A sign that announces this is placed in the area where stores in other states have them on display:
“For the safety of our guests, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles are only available for purchase on Target.com and Target App via Order pickup and Drive Up.”
Rantz said although it is clear the stores throughout Seattle are victims of organized crimes as seen in other large cities, he also believes that the homeless population in the area are as much to blame. He said:
“But Target and other stores in the downtown core of Seattle are dying via death by a thousand homeless-induced cuts.”
Rantz noted that the current Seattle City Attorney, Ann Davison, ran on a political platform of prosecuting these types of crimes, but is having difficulty following through. Rantz does not seem to blame her, but rather said that her position is difficult with the large number of thefts occurring and too few police to make arrests.
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