Yesterday evening at approximately 8:30, a woman we spoke with was at Ukiah’s Ross Dress for Less shopping for stocking stuffers. She paid for her items, and on her way out the door, the security alarms went off. It turned out that one of her items still had the security tag.
While the store’s loss prevention officer was working with her to sort out the situation, a man in his late 20s or early 30s walked up to the line with an expensive rolling suitcase filled with items and an armload of merchandise.
The woman we spoke with watched this man stand in line momentarily, looked left, looked right, and then confidently walked out the door with what she estimated was $600.00 worth of goods.
The woman, still engaging in her interaction with the loss prevention officer, pointed out the shoplifter and was told simply, “I cannot do anything.”
In a brief conversation with a Ross manager last evening, we learned this sort of incident happens often at the Ukiah location, and management is instructed to report it to their higher-ups. When asked if these incidents ever result in charges being filed, the manager could not say because it is “out of our hands” once reported up the company’s chain.
Keep in mind, California’s Proposition 47 passed by voters in 2014 actually recategorized a number of non-violent offenses as misdemeanors, rather than felonies, including shoplifting where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950 dollars.
Proposition 47 has returned to public conversation in the wake of the Bay Area’s well-publicized smash and grab robberies. Some connect the boldness of the crimes with the reassurance that many perpetrators would be merely met with a citation if caught.