Pharmacy giant Walgreens has fired back at Rep Bartender AOC for her remark that organized theft is a myth. Right. Pulling multiple vehicles in front of major stores and emptying them out that you see on video never happened. Mostly they are doing it at high-end stores, but companies like Walgreens get ransacked for drugs. The street value of those drugs can be astronomical and restocking the store can take a lot of time.
During an interview with The Washington Times AOC said:
“[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.”
A recent story in the New York Times directly contracts what Rep Bartender said:
Theft is an ever-present issue for retailers. As much as $68.9 billion of products were stolen from retailers in 2019, according to one industry group. But it has become more visible, brazen and violent in recent months, forcing an industry already buffeted by pandemic lockdowns and fights over mask requirements to deal with a new problem.
“This level of violence has taken it to a whole new level,” said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association. “No one has seen this before.”
The NYT said that the increase in thefts is due to the ability to sell stolen goods online without much fear of being caught and prosecuted.
Walgreens responded to Rep Bartender. Contrary to what AOC told the Washington Times, “organized retail crime is one of the top challenges facing” the retail giant. Walgreens gave an example that in San Francisco, they pay 46 times more for security than they spend on average in their other stores. Some stores in that city have cut their hours of operation due to theft.
Meanwhile, Jason Brewer, senior executive vice president of communications of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said Ocasio-Cortez “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,” Brewer told the Washington Times. “If she is not concerned with organized theft and increasingly violent attacks on retail employees, she should just say that.”
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) similarly called Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks “tone-deaf and offensive” to the family of an Oakland security guard who was murdered while protecting a TV news crew during a robbery.