CBS News, December 3, 2021
Authorities in Los Angeles on Thursday announced more than a dozen arrests in recentwhere nearly $340,000 worth of merchandise was stolen, part of a rash of organized retail crime in California. Fourteen people were arrested in connection with 11 brazen robberies between November 18 and 28, but all were released from custody, police Chief Michel Moore said. Most bailed out or met no-bail criteria, and one is a juvenile, he said.
At a joint news conference, both Moore and Mayor Eric Garcetti called for an end to a no-bail policy for some defendants aimed at reducing overcrowding at Los Angeles County jails during the coronavirus pandemic.
Garcetti said with the pandemic easing, it’s time to make room again in lockups for criminals who commit violent acts and put store employees in danger.
A statewide policy of imposing $0 bail for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies ended last year, but it was kept in place within the LA County Superior Court system.
Moore said at least $338,000 in goods were stolen over ten days from stores and malls across the city that incurred $40,000 in property damage. Investigators are searching for multiple outstanding suspects, he said.
The incidents were part of a recent run of large-scale thefts in California and across the nation in which groups of individuals shoplift en masse from stores or smash and grab from display cases. Single operators have also been a growing problems for retailers who say the thieves face little consequence.
The L.A. police chief said he was confident that officers investigating the retail robberies had the support of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, who ran on a reform agenda and supports ending bail across the board for misdemeanor, non-violent and non-serious felony offenses.