Newsom pledges increased spending on busting retail crime rings

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomThe Hill's Morning Report: Biden takes it on the chin Newsom denies parole for RFK assassin Why California needs a Latino state supreme court justice MORE (D) on Wednesday said that he would increase spending in his budget next month in an attempt to go after retail crime rings that have been at the center of robberies throughout the state recently.

Newsome said he thinks shoplifters should be prosecuted under existing California laws, calling the lack of prosecutions thus far in the latest mass thefts "unacceptable."

He said his budget, which he will send to California lawmakers next month, would “significantly increase our efforts to go after these retail rings,” according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

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“If people are breaking in, people stealing your property, they need to be arrested. Police need to arrest them. Prosecutors need to prosecute them. Judges need to hold people accountable for breaking the law,” the governor said, per the Union-Tribune. “These are not victimless crimes, and I have no empathy for these criminal elements.”

“I want to see local efforts. I want to see them stepped up,” Newsom added.

Attorney General Rob Bonta (D), a Newsom appointee, voiced a similar sentiment about the crimes on Wednesday. 

“Those are felonies. There are more than enough tools in the California criminal justice toolbox to charge them as such and hold the folks accountable,” Bonta said at a Sacramento Press Club forum, the Union-Tribune reported.

Newsom has touted his criminal justice reform efforts under his leadership, and Bonta has also been a supporter of progressive reforms. Both leaders defended Proposition 47, a 2014 measure that made certain drug offenses misdemeanors instead of felonies, the newspaper added.

California has seen several large-scale robberies at various retailers and high-end stores in recent weeks. 

Last month, 20 people stormed a Los Angeles Nordstrom in a smash-and-grab robbery. Before that, thieves went to a Louis Vuitton and a Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.

Meanwhile, the district attorney for San Francisco charged nine people with felonies for their part in recent organized robberies in the city.