Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is being slammed by Republican colleagues and business owners over comments she made last week seemingly dismissing "smash-and-grab" theft claims during an interview with The Washington Times.
"A lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out," the Democratic Socialists of America member said. “I believe it’s a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn’t back it up.”
A viral video from June shows a man loading a garbage bag with loot from a Walgreens in San Francisco.
Five Walgreens in San Francisco were closed last month due to "ongoing organized retail theft," Walgreens told ABC 7.
"Organized retail theft continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to that. Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average," Walgreens stated.
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) told the Washington Times, "I don’t know what data she is talking about."
"You don’t really need much data from someplace in San Francisco or California. All you need to do is walk down the street to the CVS in Eastern Market,” he said. Eastern Market is about one mile from the U.S. Capitol.
“I’ve seen on multiple occasions when I’ve been in there buying things, someone will come in and raid a shelf and walk out," the Illinois Republican said.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) said Ocasio-Cortez's remarks were "tone-deaf and offensive" to the family of the TV news security guard who was shot and killed in San Francisco last week while protecting a news crew covering a smash-and-grab theft.
Retail Industry Leaders Association official Jason Brewer told the Times, "Respectfully, the congresswoman 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."
Ocasio-Cortez's office did not respond to the Washington Times' request for further comment.