A day after swearing in a new sheriff, the county of Los Angeles announced it had arrested almost twenty juveniles and young adults in what media outlets are reporting as a “massive organized retail theft ring.”
Police allege the eighteen suspects, ranging in ages of 15 to 20, stole merchandise worth $23,000 in over the course of two days last week from various clothing and shoe retail stores. What’s more, those same suspects are believed to have been involved in over ten other crimes totaling almost $100,000 in losses for the stores in the past few weeks..
Police are reporting that in the wake of the massive arrests, eight cars had been impounded and, amazingly, all of the stolen merchandise has been recovered. The group of eighteen suspects now face a misdemeanor charge of organized retail theft and a felony charge of grant theft.
Coincidentally, a huge change in law enforcement leadership preceded the news of the sweeping arrests. Although outgoing sheriff Alex Villanueva took a hardline stance against issues ranging from covid mandates for his officers and spoke out against the toxic “defund” movement emanating from the Black Lives Matter movement, his one-term oversight nevertheless resulted in a frightening spike in overall crime.
Incoming sheriff Robert Luna announced changes had to take place to combat the seriousness of rising crime rates within the county’s largest county by population. Fox News covered the story by noting that part of Luna’s inaugural comments included a call to improve policing by both holding themselves accountable but by also addressing L.A.s unsustainable crime wave.
The announcement came a day after Robert Luna took an oath of office during a Saturday ceremony as the new leader of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department. He officially begins his term as the 34th Los Angeles County sheriff next week after winning the election last month against incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
In his speech, Luna promised a new direction, saying he would focus on accountability for deputies and cooperation with elected officials. He will be tasked with bringing down rates of violent and property crime that have spiked in the county, the nation’s most populous with about 10 million people
“We need to defend good policing,” he said, adding, “It is our responsibility to call out bad policing, and we will do so — that’s an element of keeping the public trust.”
It remains to be seen what effect Luna’s tenure will have. Despite an overt call to tackle rising crime, his position within the ranks will still be met with likely hostility from far-left Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, who recently survived a bipartisan recall effort for his radical pro-criminal behavior, and inbound mayor Karen Bass, a former Democrat congresswoman who previously introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in 2020. That act passed the Democrat-led House.
Los Angeles was one of several cities plagues by the so-called Ferguson effect in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020, since dubbed the Minneapolis effect. Along with other cesspool cities like Chicago, Seattle, New York, and Baltimore, it witnessed a spike in crime over the last two years, including a continuation of that pattern leading into 2022. Earlier this year, Fox News noted that increasing rates were still affecting the area.
Los Angeles has also seen crimes rise in all three categories as of May 7. Violent crimes shot up by 6.7% so far this year, with 10,484 reports recorded. Instances of homicides increased by 1.6%, with 130 homicides recorded, and shoots fired increased by 1.5%, at 1,172 instances.
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