AOC slammed for saying smash-and-grab incidents aren't true

Indiana Republican Rep Jim Banks slammed New York Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s comments as 'tone-deaf and offensive'

                            AOC slammed for saying smash-and-grab incidents aren't true
The comments sparked outrage among retail leaders and Republican lawmakers, including from Walgreens (aoc/Instagram)

Republicans and business leaders have slammed New York Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after an interview where she expressed her doubts on whether frequent smash-and-grabs are really occurring. The comments sparked outrage among retail leaders and Republican lawmakers, including Walgreens. 

"A lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out," Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with The Washington Times last week. "I believe it’s a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn’t back it up."


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At the same time, Walgreens told The Washington Times, "Organized retail crime is one of the top challenges facing". It added that the crime "has evolved beyond shoplifting and petty theft to the sale of stolen and counterfeit goods online."

"I don’t know what data she is talking about," said Rep Rodney Davis, an Illinois Republican. "But you don’t really need much data from someplace in San Francisco or California. All you need to do is walk down the street to the CVS in Eastern Market," he added, referring to an area of Washington, DC, near the Capitol. "I’ve seen on multiple occasions when I’ve been in there buying things, someone will come in and raid a shelf and walk out."

Indiana Republican Rep Jim Banks slammed Ocasio-Cortez’s comments as "tone-deaf and offensive" to Oakland security guard Kevin Nishita's family. Kevin, a former San Jose police officer, had been shot and murdered in November while trying to defend a news crew reporting on a smash-and-grab crime. 

Ocasio-Cortez's comments also disturbed the Retail Industry Leaders Association. "Respectfully, the Congresswoman has no idea what she is talking about. Both the data and stack of video evidence makes fairly clear that this is a growing problem in need of solutions," Jason Brewer, RILA senior executive vice president of communications said in an email. "If she is not concerned with organized theft and increasingly violent attacks on retail employees, she should just say that."

Since November, California has faced several smash-and-grab incidents. Most of these crimes took place in and around San Francisco and Los Angeles. Smash-and-grab looters in Walnut Creek stole about $125,000 in merchandise from a Nordstrom recently, which prompted the city council to approve $2 million in funds so that its police department and security could be beefed up. Slamming the repeated crimes, police union leadership in the state blamed California’s Proposition 47 and the ACLU for supporting the ballot measure. Shoplifting charges regarding the theft of $950 or less were lowered from felonies to misdemeanors under Proposition 47, which was passed in 2014.

"When society removes accountability for bad behavior, criminals get emboldened to commit more crimes, drug addicts thumb their noses at mandatory treatment and vandalism and petty theft turn into riotous looting and murder," the president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, Craig Lally, told Fox News recently. "One does not need to be clairvoyant to have predicted that in California the ACLU’s Proposition 47 would turn a family trip to the mall or a Home Depot into a dangerous gamble for our residents."