In a recent theft attempt in Bellevue, Washington, a man was caught on surveillance footage trying to run out of a Louis Vuitton store with stolen goods. As he exited the store, he ran into a glass window and knocked himself unconscious.
The 17-year-old would-be robber attempted to steal the luxury goods in broad daylight, gathering up handbags totaling about $18,000. As he tried to run out of the store with the merchandise, he ran straight into a plate glass window and knocked himself unconscious.
Prosecutors have reported that the 17-year-old, whose name has not been made public since he is a minor, is part of an infamous retail crime ring that operates in Bellevue, Washington.
Businesses in the city have been struggling with crime rates. Penny Pahl, the owner of a local business, commented on the most recent incident, saying, “It’s just not OK, it isn’t, something needs to be done.”
“We put out blood and sweat into our businesses. And then for somebody to just be so brazen to walk into our business and think that they can take what we literally like work our whole life for. You’re taking away our livelihood,” said Pahl. “If these guys are caught, they go to court, they go through the process, but what are the repercussions?”
“Brazen is the perfect word for it,” said Bellevue Police Captain Rob Spingler.
This year alone, Bellevue police have been dealing with repeat shoplifting offenders, ramping up their anti-crime initiative.
“The message is, if you come to the City of Bellevue, you commit these crimes, we’re going to put together solid cases,” Spingler said.
In the state of Washington, the number of police officers decreased in 2021, while overall violent crime increased by 12.3%.
Republican state Rep. Mark Schoesler (WA) commented on the organized retail crime going on in the state, insisting that the government needs to prioritize the safety of local businesses.
“Retailers have been forced to endure an increase in crimes occurring on their property, including theft and fraud,” said Schoesler. “Organized retail theft rings have become more brazen, violent, and sophisticated in targeting stores. They are putting the safety of customers and store employees in danger.”
“Retail crimes, especially theft, have become so much worse in recent years that the Washington Retail Association just released a retail-crimes resource guide for its members,” continued Schoesler. “To me, that says the state isn’t providing enough help for retailers. and local and state law enforcement agencies don’t have enough officers to effectively combat retail theft.”