California legislation will make it easier for shoplifters to shoplift

by WorldTribune Staff, June 11, 2023

There are a large number of videos on YouTube and other platforms featuring thieves who walk in to a business, empty the shelves, and walk out without a thought of being stopped.

In downtown San Francisco, Target employees told the San Francisco Standard that they’re experiencing at least 10 thefts a day.

The bill would make it illegal for store employees to confront thieves. / Video Image

Critics say California has created a climate in which shoplifters thrive by passing a law which classifies stealing merchandise worth $950 or less a misdemeanor. That means law enforcement is not likely to investigate and if they do prosecutors will just drop the case.

At times, store employees do attempt to intercede.

“Whether to confront or not confront shoplifters has become a hot topic, especially after a security guard shot and killed a suspected shoplifter at a Walgreens store in downtown San Francisco,” The Epoch Times reported on June 9. “San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins decided not to charge the guard, Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, after reviewing the surveillance video and Anthony’s testimony.”

Now, critics say, California’s legislature is essentially telling stores to let the shoplifters shoplift as the state Senate passed a bill on May 31 that would make it illegal for store employees to confront thieves.

According to the California Realtors Association (CRA), the bill will apply to all industries — not just retail, if passed by the full California Assembly. CRA president and CEO Rachel Michelin told Fox2/KTVU that the bill “goes way too far. I think it will open the doors even wider for people to come in and steal from our stores.”

According to the CRA, most retailers already prohibit regular employees from approaching someone who is shoplifting. These situations are handled by employees specially trained in theft prevention instead. If employees trained in theft deterrence are not allowed to do their job per the bill, “What does that mean? We are opening up the door to allow people to walk into stores, steal, and walk out,” Michelin added.

Additionally, felons serving prison terms will be allowed to petition for re-sentencing under the new classifications. Those who have already served their terms can also have their past convictions reclassified as misdemeanors.

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