Store Owners Hit By Mobs Of Shoplifters After PD Says They Won't Arrest Thieves

Holly Matkin

PPD Commissioner Danielle Outlaw prohibited police from keeping most shoplifters in jail due to the pandemic.

Philadelphia, PA – The Philadelphia police commissioner’s announcement that officers will no longer arrest offenders for “non-violent” crimes has emboldened thieving mobs who have been pillaging stores without fear of prosecution, according to business owners.

"People are coming in the store, they're loading their bag and they're actually telling us the law – that they're not gonna get locked up," store owner Sukhvir Thinb told WPVI.

Thinb is one of approximately 20 Philadelphia business owners who said they have been plagued by repeated shoplifting incidents, which are sometimes carried out by brazen mobs who storm into stores and walk out with whatever they want.

Video footage from a 7-Eleven store located at Market Street and 22nd showed a group of eight to 10 juveniles as they waltzed inside the business and began helping themselves to various items, WPVI reported.

They bolted out the door with the stolen goods a moment later.

According to the store owner, this is at least the second or third time an incident like this has happened at that location since the coronavirus pandemic began, WPVI reported.

Other businesses said that people have been walking in and loading their backpacks with stolen goods.

Under a policy change that went into effect on March 17, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw ordered that offenders arrested for drug possession, theft, burglary, vandalism, vehicle theft, prostitution, economic crimes, and all bench warrants be immediately released once their identities had been confirmed by police.

The intent was to lower jail populations to help protect suspects from contracting COVID-19.

Social media soon erupted with posts from people concerned about the potential for violent lawlessness not unlike the movie, “The Purge,” KYW reported.

“To be clear, the Philadelphia Police Department is not turning a blind eye to crime,” Commissioner Outlaw tweeted in response to the outrage. “This is similar to the ‘summons process’ that is utilized in many other counties throughout the Commonwealth.”

“To reiterate, criminal offenders will be held accountable for the crimes they commit,” she added, noting that the protocol changes were nothing more than a “temporary response.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner supported the commissioner’s policy change, which he had been urging her to implement, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time.

“You can issue a warrant for an arrest and come back later. In many jurisdictions, you can issue a summons,” he told WHYY. “Creative people in the courts, police and our office could come together and allow us to not abandon cases.”

Without the threat of being arrested looming over their heads, criminals have been thriving.

“I think broadcasting no arrests for retail theft was the biggest mistake the city ever made," Thinb told WPVI.

Delaware Valley Franchise Owners Association (DVFOA) Treasurer Vincent Emmanuel said Philadelphia has become a “lawless city.”

“It’s the Wild West,” Emmanuel said. “That’s what’s happening here.”

Store owner Mohammed Karim said he has been dealing with shoplifting on a daily basis, but that his 911 calls to police sometimes go unanswered, WPVI reported.

“I have three people quit last week,” DVFOA President Manzoor Chughta said. “They don't want to work anymore because of safety issues.”

DVFOA Vice President Bilal Barqawi said Philadelphia store owners are in desperate need of help from the city.

“Enough is enough, and we don’t know what to do,” Barqawi told WPVI. “We seek the help of the mayor, the attorney general, the police department, the chief of police. Please – we need help.”

Commissioner Outlaw reversed the policy on Friday.

"At the time of the change [in March], the Department was clear in that the list of offenses was subject to review and revision as conditions continued to evolve," Commissioner Outlaw said in a press release. "Predictably, conditions have, in fact, evolved in dynamic fashion. Accordingly, we have reviewed our current protocols and have made several adjustments."

The city conceded that there has been “an increase in burglaries committed by recidivist offenders,” according to the release.

Under the commissioner’s reversal, which went into immediate effect, “the emergency COVID-19 arrest procedures will no longer be in effect” for retail theft, stolen automobiles, theft from person, theft from automobiles, and burglary, the department said.

Comments (41)
No. 1-26
flybynight
flybynight

No video but something tells me that the perps might be Amish. 🤔

JBoH
JBoH

“To reiterate, criminal offenders will be held accountable for the crimes they commit,”

Soooo...how's that workin'?

Laughriot
Laughriot

Female police commissioner and her last name is outlaw? Seems like a bad hiring decision.

richard233
richard233

This is what happens when politics trump common sense.
The city eventually realized that if people are not buying stuff, taxes are not
paid, and they will see lower revenue that they need to line their pockets.
That it took as long as it did for them to reverse course is criminal.

Trashman67
Trashman67

Play stupid games win stupid prizes.

iamgideon
iamgideon

Those businesses will not be able to continue to operate under those conditions. How can they afford it? When they close up for good the people will complain that there aren't any stores in the neighborhood. It is sad that they can't understand how that works.

reverett456117502
reverett456117502

How stupid to make an announcement so everyone can hear it and then wreak havoc throughout the City! Are you people at the top really that incompetent?

TXbirdMom
TXbirdMom

Fine, you don't want them in jail. Arrest them, get their info, turn them loose, and have a good old Warrant Round-up after all this craziness is over. But DON'T let them think they've got a Get Out Of Jail Free card! Idiots!!

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

When these thugs raid the office of Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and casually walk-out with what-ever they want - can we get that in a video? Will Police Commissioner Outlaw provided autographed copies?

xot98
xot98

Outlaw making outlaws

Viking24
Viking24

The Atlanta police chief did the same ignorant thing a few months ago. Made several media announcements that she disband the Narcotics Unit and Vice Unit, also announced a ZERO chase policy and would not allow Atlanta police to be involved in any federal task force inside the city limits. Her and the Biden loving mayor spend lots of time with Stacy Abrams.

Jack17
Jack17

Elections Matter!

Dennis4601
Dennis4601

That’s what happens when you have a scumbag Mayor , DA , and useless Chief.she should have stayed in Oakland!she can’t handle Philly😏

XIHP308
XIHP308

No surprise when politics govern law enforcement. Store owners need to start a fire Outlaw movement.

Ljubica48
Ljubica48

Thieves are not all that worried about a bench warrant that might (or might not) be issued down the road. Without the immediate prospect of being arrested and going to jail, there is nothing to stop them from committing crimes.

We can assume that the thieves are not paying any sales taxes on the merchandise that they steal from these stores. This will eventually impact the operating revenues upon which city services depend. And if businesses are bankrupted by thievery, that's another hit in lost taxes and licensing revenues. I don't think the Philly officials have thought this through.

Cromaxgal
Cromaxgal

The shop owners need to be armed and defend their own stores since the cops (probably the weak minded politicians) won't arrest criminals

sbuckner021
sbuckner021

this is absolute twilight zone stuff.

Shepfershort
Shepfershort

Yep, I can see it now. Dozens of White people rushing the stores and filling their bags and thumbing their collective noses at the law.🤣😂

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

I see the Commissioner is taking amazing leadership failure from Portland and demonstrating how her failed policies are making Philly an even bigger mess than it was before she arrived.

I'm pretty sure we all saw this coming

Homicidecop
Homicidecop

Another dumb ass making a stupid ass decision

ikaika
ikaika

Isn't there a Stand Your Ground law for store owners? I'd be in fear for my life if my store were stormed by a bunch of thugs who might be armed.

Danielle Outlaw left Portland for Philadelphia because she wanted a bigger challenge. That's not working out very well for her.

merlin9
merlin9

Hire private security. Use a shotgun with less than lethal ammo. Ever see what a bean-bag round will do at close range?

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

With a name like Outlaw, I'm not surprised.

bill fuse
bill fuse

No, it’s not the Amish. They would have had manners and said Thank You. And would not have taken everything. They still believe in that ancient Credo of Love your neighbor, and not their Stuff. /sarc

Marxest
Marxest

I should make a supply run to Philadelphia.

DR226
DR226

Outlaw doesn't stay long in the cities where she empowers lawlessness. Oakland, Portland, and now Philly allowing pantifa to cause unrest in those cities. She's a black eye to affirmative action!


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