Congressional Republicans and business leaders slammed far-left “Squad” member and New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over comments she made about the recent rash of “smash-and-grab” thefts taking place all over the country.
In an interview with the Washington Times last week, Ocasio-Cortez said that “a lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out.”
“I believe it’s a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn’t back it up,” she said.
Walgreens announced in October that it was closing five stores in the city of San Francisco following a rash of thefts at its stores in the area, The Daily Wire reported.
“Due to ongoing organized retail crime, we have made the difficult decision to close five stores across San Francisco,” Walgreens announced at the time.
“Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to that,” said Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso. “Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average. During this time to help combat this issue, we increased our investments in security measures in stores across the city to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide a safe environment.”
Retail theft has since spread across the state of California, and has spread to other major cities across the country like Minneapolis and Philadelphia.
“I don’t know what data she is talking about, but you don’t really need much data from [some place] in San Francisco or California,” Illinois Republican Congressman Rodney Davis said about Ocasio-Cortez. “All you need to do is walk down the street to the CVS in Eastern Market,” he continued, referring to a public market in the area of the Capitol building. “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.”
“It’s important that people use appropriate words when something is clearly happening,” California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa added. “Law enforcement may have to say ‘alleged’ because no one has been convicted, but I think people who know better should use more appropriate words. But she’s not known for appropriate words,” he continued, adding that Ocasio-Cortez’s “credibility continues to fall.”
Indiana Republican Congressman Jim Banks told the Washington Times that Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks are “tone deaf and offensive,” citing the example of a security guard who was murdered while trying to protect a news team covering a smash-and-grab robbery in San Francisco.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association also blasted the New York Democrat.
“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, the RILA’s senior executive vice president of communications wrote in an email to the Washington Times. “If she is not concerned with organized theft and increasingly violent attacks on retail employees, she should just say that.”
The National Retail Federation told the Times that “organized retail crime” has cost businesses an average of $719,548 per $1 billion in sales in 2021. That cost of lost merchandise has been above $700,000 for the past five years, the NLRF said.