“Why Are You Picking On Me”: Florida Shoplifter Objects To Arrest Given Store’s Rampant Thefts

prolanciamugProlancia Aquila Turner, 26, seems to have come up with a novel claim of discrimination or police abuse. After being arrested for stealing from a jeweler in a Florida mall, Turner angrily objected to the police that “Everyone steals from this store. Why are you picking on me?” In the meantime in California, the reduction of shoplifting penalties are being blamed for an increase in the crime as criminals treat short sentences as a minor cost-of-doing business (or in this case, not doing business).

Turner is accused of hiding earrings valued at $12.50 in the waistband of her pants. She is now charged with retail theft for pilfering the merchandise from a Claire’s outlet in a Vero Beach mall. Her novel defense is not likely to garner such support from the court. She has reportedly two prior arrests for theft in 2015.

In California, critics are arguing that there is a direct correlation between the reduction of penalties for shoplifting and an increase in the crime, though some have questioned the causal relationship. Under the new law, anything below $950 keeps the crime a misdemeanor. Since many police departments do not seriously pursue misdemeanors, that means that shoplifting up to a grand is unlikely to be enforced and, even if caught red-handed, would receive a citation or relatively light punishment. Some stores have reported that known shoplifters have reportedly been seen using calculators to keep below the $950 threshold created by Proposition 47.

33 thoughts on ““Why Are You Picking On Me”: Florida Shoplifter Objects To Arrest Given Store’s Rampant Thefts”

  1. First, making shoplifting a misdemeanor eased the penalty. No jail time, except overnight, a fine from a judge. If they could pay the fine, why not buy cheap earrings. How about a 365-day community service penalty also. Scheduled through your parole Officer. Miss one, add another two. Miss again, welfare benefits decreased 10%. Picking trash up on freeways is a 7-day a week job, so there’s always work to be done, clean public restrooms, under supervision, clean refuse from parks. Or give them a choice of jail time for 30 days. The time can be served at any jail with room. Probably no visits from anyone due to geographical location. Here’s the surprise; shoplift again, penalties increase. It’s called punishment, people!

    As to Reagan, he was forced by the courts to release people from mental health institutions by the bleeding hearts. You could only keep them for three days. I had a homeless person throw a shopping cart at my car. The car in front had it’s top down and a little girl in the backseat. The cart could have hurt her if thrown seconds earlier. Police came, explained the three-day situation, but I insisted he be charged. His family lived in the area and knew his problems, but they refused to go to court to have him hospitalized, at CA State expense. I tried to find out who they were and tell them about the little girl saved by seconds. But privileged information I was not allowed to see!

    So put the blame where it belongs which was definitely not Reagan. I lived in CA at that time, did you?

  2. Karen writes, “And all of our counties in CA are facing similar staggering expenditures for the homeless, because our climate is relatively mild.”

    There you go. It can’t all be rainbows and butterflies, and it wasn’t a liberal who dumped voluntary in-patients into the streets. That was your icon: Ronald Reagan.

    You’re not seeing the forest for the trees. Our economic theory begets poverty for a large class of society and mental disorders in every class as a result of the pressure to produce or go without.

    What are the crime statistics in Denmark and Scandinavia compared to the US? Thank your Ayn Rand friends for any distinctions.

  3. I’ve only been practicing law for 18 years, but this was an attitude I ran into early on when I was first admitted to the bar. Nothing new.

  4. California’s changing the felony threshold to $950 wasn’t very popular with us in the Loss Prevention community, but in fairness, we actually had a low threshold compared to many states. While the police love to use changes like this to explain their poor performance, I’ve got news for you: I’ve worked with every law enforcement agency from Gilroy to Vallejo, and almost none of them took property crimes seriously.

    Back in 2005 San Francisco had a one man fencing unit, said detective also worked as the lost and found unit. Despite multiple open-air black markets operating in the city at the time, my attempt to build a case with SFPD was rejected after a 2 minute meeting; despite me providing thousands of pages of detailed documentation, hours of surveillance video, and hundreds of photos. This situation has little changed.

    Officers called to take custody of shoplifters are generally slow to respond (sometimes on the order of hours), discourteous to the loss prevention agents, and will go out of their way to discourage the pressing of charges. I’ve had an Oakland PD Sgt complain that I need to stop calling over shoplifters, and when told that I’d be breaking policy and risking termination, was told, “Then stop paying attention [to the theft].” He was hardly the first officer with whom I’d had such a conversation.

    We regularly discovered that officers were throwing evidence away, “losing” it so as to have an excuse to avoid booking subjects we’d turned over to them in good faith following citizen’s arrest. Some officers would discourage our work by running *our* backgrounds in front of the people we’d arrested. Objections were met with calls for backup, and complaints to supervisors were ignored. Once I had a pair of officers threaten to arrest me for kidnapping; simply because they didn’t want to process the subject I’d arrested – and they expected I didn’t know the law well enough to stand my ground and demand their Sgt join us. I could go on for hundreds of pages on this subject.

    Property crime has always been a disaster in the Bay Area’s larger cities. The departments and the various districts attorney *never* took these crimes. The only significant change these laws have truly brought, is an excuse for their terrible performance protecting private property, and further shakedowns by California’s police unions. Do not take their word on this subject.

  5. California Decriminalizes Shoplifting, Shoplifting Doubles

    May 18, 2016

    Daniel Greenfield

    Left-wing, conservative and libertarian pro-crime policies lead to a rise in crime. The left’s insane propositions in California included Proposition 47 or the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act”. That Orwellian name made as much sense as calling a bill to legalize arson the “Fire Prevention and Non-Torched Homes Act”. Proposition 47 effectively decriminalized a bunch of crimes, including shoplifting.

    And you’ll never guess what happened next. Shoplifting. Lots and lots of shoplifting.

    Perry Lutz says his struggle to survive as a small businessman became a lot harder after California voters reduced theft penalties 1½ years ago.

    About a half-dozen times this year, shoplifters have stolen expensive drones or another of the remote-controlled toys he sells in HobbyTown USA, a small shop in Rocklin, northeast of Sacramento. “It’s just pretty much open season,” Lutz said. “They’ll pick the $800 unit and just grab it and run out the door.”

    Anything below $950 keeps the crime a misdemeanor — and likely means the thieves face no pursuit and no punishment, say retailers and law enforcement officials. Large retailers including Safeway, Target, Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies say shoplifting increased at least 15 percent, and in some cases, doubled since voters approved Proposition 47 and ended the possibility of charging shoplifting as a felony with the potential for a prison sentence.

    Shoplifting reports to the Los Angeles Police Department jumped by a quarter in the first year, according to statistics the department compiled for The Associated Press. The ballot measure also lowered penalties for forgery, fraud, petty theft and drug possession.

    Here’s how this works.

    Caught in possession of drugs? That usually means a misdemeanor citation under Prop 47, or essentially a ticket. Caught stealing something worth less than $950? That means a ticket, too. Caught using some of that $950 to buy more drugs? Another citation.

    “It’s a slap on the wrist the first time and the third time and the 30th time, so it’s a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card,” said Shelley Zimmerman, who became San Diego’s police chief in March 2014. “We’re catching and releasing the same people over and over.”

    Thanks Proposition 47. This is how awesome sentencing reform is.

    There was the thief in San Bernardino County who had been caught shoplifting with his calculator, which he said he used to make sure he never stole the equivalent of $950 or more. There was the “Hoover Heister” in Riverside, who was arrested for stealing vacuum cleaners and other appliances 13 different times over the course of three months, each misdemeanor charge followed by his quick release.

    It wasn’t just the left though, some prominent “conservatives” made this happen too.

    U.S. Sen. and 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul (R) praised Proposition 47 in June 2015. He said, “California’s actually done some good things. Proposition 47 about a year ago or six months ago took some of the minor drug felonies and made them misdemeanors and, from my understanding, you have more room in your prisons now for violent criminals. They’re not getting out early.

    Even criminals have more common sense than Rand Paul.

    There was also the known gang member near Palm Springs who had been caught with a stolen gun valued at $625 and then reacted incredulously when the arresting officer explained that he would not be taken to jail but instead written a citation. “But I had a gun. What is wrong with this country?” the offender said, according to the police report.

    What’s This?
    Proposition 47 was backed by George Soros money. Gingrich wrote an editorial in support of it.

    It is time to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on locking up low-level offenders. Proposition 47 on the November ballot will do this by changing six nonviolent, petty offenses from felony punishments (which now can carry prison time) to misdemeanor punishments and local accountability.

    Local accountability is a punchline. Like restorative justice. You’re supposed to laugh.

    Here’s how Gingrich’s utopia works in real life.

    “The ideal example of a Prop 47 case,” a public defender had written in a motion to delay sentencing, because Rabenberg had no history of violence and had never been convicted of selling drugs.

    Rabenberg, who just weeks after being released because of Prop 47 was caught breaking the law again.

    He was arrested for possession of meth on Jan. 2 and released from jail Jan. 3.

    He was arrested for having drug paraphernalia on Feb. 6 and issued a citation.

    He was arrested again for having drugs on Feb. 19. And then again on March 1. And then again on March 8. And then again on April 1.

    By April 26, he had been arrested for six misdemeanors in less than four months and been released all six times, so he was free to occupy a table outside Starbucks when a man named Kevin Zempko arrived to have coffee with his wife. Zempko sat at a table next to Rabenberg, who was picking apart the seams of his coat and dumping the contents of his pockets onto the table: some nickels, two $1 bills, a few scraps of paper, a dingy plastic cup and a lighter. Zempko watched for a few seconds and concluded that Rabenberg was probably a vagrant and an addict. “I just felt bad for him,” he said.

    Rabenberg noticed Zempko looking his way and began to stare back, mumbling, gesturing, standing up and now pulling something new from the pocket of his coat. It was a small wooden steak knife. Rabenberg slammed it down on the table. He picked it up again, jabbed at the air and started moving with the knife toward Zempko, who stood up and placed a chair between them.

    But the police never called. The arrest had been for possession of drugs and brandishing a deadly weapon — both misdemeanors. Rabenberg was booked into jail and released three days later.

    Next time any “conservative” activist tries to sell you on sentencing reform and nonsense about non-violent offenders, remind him what that looks like in real life.

    Anyway Proposition 47 has ushered in a glorious new age where it’s okay to steal from small businesses as long as you take less than 950 bucks.

    A man released from prison because a prior felony conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47 was arrested last week for allegedly stealing a cash box from a Yuba City restaurant.

    Local prosecutors critical of the initiative passed by voters in 2014 said the defendant is an example of a reoffending criminal who shouldn’t be out of custody.

    Adding to the frustrations of local officials, Austin Willis Jr., 53, was charged with misdemeanor shoplifting for the new crime, which Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper said would have been charged as a felony prior to Proposition 47. He was also charged with a misdemeanor for possession of a drug pipe.

    “This just goes to show you what a disaster Proposition 47 is for our community,” Hopper said Tuesday.

    “Prop 47 has really tied our hands and put violent criminals back on the street. Mr. Willis is just one example of these violent criminals returning to our community and re-offending.”

    On March 2, Willis was allegedly seen running out the back door of The Corner American Bistro on Plumas Street after a cash box was stolen. Video surveillance captured by a neighboring business also provided evidence pointing to Willis, court documents indicate. Yuba City police arrested Willis the next day and allegedly found him in possession of a glass methamphetamine smoking pipe.

    His prior convictions were logged in Los Angeles and Kern counties. Willis had 14 felony convictions for robbery, burglary, and drug-related crimes when he was last incarcerated, beginning in 1997.

    This is what “sentencing reform” actually looks like. Next time some “conservative” activist tries to sell you on it, ask him if he’d object to having 800 bucks stolen out of his pocket.

    “Aren’t we lulling him into a sense of security?” Goldsmith said. “How does it end? There’s no more incremental punishment. We let the behavior continue. We let the problems get worse. And all we can do is wait until he does something terrible, until he stabs somebody or kills somebody, and then we can finally take him off the street.”

    Pro-crime policies. They really work. For criminals.

  6. I think that all of us must focus on the most vital and pressing issue of our times, instead of these trivial news stories. I speak, of course, of transgender bathrooms. So let’s us cease avoiding this issue and seeking distractions from it. Let us devote all of our free time to it. I’m confident that if we all do this, we will finally develop bathrooms that can be used by all, regardless of a person’s gender or genders, or various combinations and permutations thereof, whether or not involving body transformations, adjustments, or modifications of any kind, thereof.

  7. I was in SF last week, the sanctuary city, angry/aggressive homeless, theft haven. One of the local stations did a report on the epidemic theft from cars. It is way out of hand. The report showed how cars on the SF side of a busy street were getting hit regularly, while the other side of the street[San Mateo County] had virtually no break ins. A sh!tbird broke into a car in San Mateo and told cops he made a big mistake, he thought he was on the SF side. You see, SF coddles and San Mateo is tough. Criminals have a strong grapevine.

  8. America needs a Homeless Colony. But where could it be formed? Maybe LA is appropriate. They are already on the way to San Jose. If Trump gets into office perhaps something can be done.

  9. Where in the world have the fiscal conservative Democrats gone? The ones with relatively conservative values? A socialist who thinks that a 95% tax rate is not too high is giving Hillary a run for her money. Can you imagine how a conservative, fiscally reasonable Democrat would have fared?

  10. And all of our counties in CA are facing similar staggering expenditures for the homeless, because our climate is relatively mild.

    Another Liberal policy? Declaring Homeless Bill of Rights, where the police cannot make the homeless move on. So they create medieval health hazards, with human feces, vomit, and used condoms on the street in front of businesses, with the predictable spread in diseases like antibiotic resistant TB.

  11. steveg:

    Los Angeles county recently released a statement that it spends almost a billion dollars annually on the homeless just in Los Angeles County alone. 40% of that budget goes to treating mental health and drug addiction. Since they have passed laws enabling homelessness, a Liberal policy, it now attracts more and more homeless, and we are going broke paying for it. Plus, there are used needles left out and people staggering around who belong in a care facility.

    So, yes, quite a bit of our ills come from drug addition, although I have no idea if that was the case here. $12.50 earrings do not sound like something a desperate addict would steal to fence.

    What are risk factors for drug addiction:
    -single mothers with absentee dads

    What do ultra Left policies do?
    -Encourage being a single mother (writing “unknown” for the father makes it easier for the mother to get benefits without having to go through family court or ask for any contribution from the father, besides the one already made.)
    -Spread poverty by enacting policies that increase crime, such as emptying the jails, reducing the penalties for theft, which drives employers out of neighborhoods, dries up jobs, and increases blight. Increase the minimum wage to $15, even though most people get a raise out of minimum wage within a year, which will cause businesses to move, close, or layoff people. Require businesses to carry health insurance, which will cause layoffs, or cut hours so that people now have to cobble together full time hours from part time work.
    -Glorify recreational drug use

    One can see how the ultra Left enact policies which cause the very poverty they claim to fight.

  12. “and those jobs will be gone

    And the merchandise gone with it, so she won’t have any cheap costume jewelry to buy, much less steal.

  13. This is why conservative values appeal to me on many issues, and why ultra Liberal policies have burned the populace.

    Today’s Examples of Liberal policies:
    -Lower the punishment for shoplifting items under $950 (Effect – less deterrent means more shoplifting, more losses to businesses, more layoffs, less jobs, more economic decline, more blight, and many firearms cost under $950)
    -Entitlement – it’s not my responsibility for stealing. Everyone’s doing it. You must be picking on me because I’m a woman/African American/etc. It’s not fair to hold me accountable (Effect – Exhibits A-ZZZ of the entitlement generation’s helplessness and lack of contribution to society)

    Compare with conservative values:
    -Do not steal
    -If you steal, you are responsible
    -Penalties for stealing are deterrents and provide a little justice for the victims
    -Stealing means that business owners will not feel comfortable opening a store in that location. They will pass by locations with high theft rates. You are harming your own neighborhood when you steal. So don’t complain about a lack of jobs if people are stealing from businesses that do operate.
    -It is not OK to steal from a business as opposed to an individual. That business is owned by an individual, who employs other individuals. There is always a face behind every company.
    -A nuclear family and marriage are important to raise healthy kids with good values. Single motherhood is a significant contributing risk factor for kids that are poor, drop out of school, do drugs, join gangs, go to jail, or die before their time. (I do not know the background of this young woman. But I bring this up every time teenagers get into trouble. The way our kids behave reflects on us as parents, even though there are also other influences we battle every day in the fight for our kids’ character.)

    One set of policies creates a banana republic, and one sets a higher standard for society.

    Bam Bam is entirely correct that Claire’s is a low end costume jewelry store targeted towards preteens and teens. They sell low cost items, so they cannot afford to hire security guards. Stealing from them at this rate will just put them out of business, and those jobs will be gone.

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