Ross, 58, self-admittedly uses political social media posts on controversial subjects to garner business, but claimed his store’s new mask ban is different. This move, he said, was prompted by employees who are upset about masked thieves targeting the store, along with several others in the neighborhood.
“The masks have nothing to do with politics; it’s to protect the assets,” Ross said. “I’m protecting my employees and our assets.”
Several recent thefts and robberies have occurred in his store and neighboring businesses, including one where an employee was threatened with scissors and two tourists had luggage stolen from their car.
Masks were finally banned after two women, whom Ross believed were barred from Kitson for shoplifting, entered the store. When security guards approached them, the women yelled to stay away because of COVID-19.
“I was sick of people coming into this store, and we can’t get them from a lineup,” he said. “They wear bucket hats, hoodies, and you can only see their eyes. You can’t say that’s the right person.”
“We’re living in Gotham City,” he said. Crime, he continued, “is at an all-time level.”
The shopkeeper’s ban of masks comes a few weeks after Los Angeles County considered implementing an indoor mask mandate due to rising COVID infections. The mandate was never put into action, as cities like Pasadena, Long Beach and Beverly Hills said they would not enforce it.
The crime rates of the city have only risen marginally, reporting similar statistics to the same time last year up to this point. Ross said that this is because many crimes go unreported.
“People don’t want to report it, because it scares people from coming into your store,” he said.
Other California crime is more in the open, as evidenced by a “flash mob” of looters who recently overwhelmed a Los Angeles convenience store.
Video shows ‘flash mob’ of looters ransack 7-Eleven in Los Angelespic.twitter.com/39moaiyfCb
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 19, 2022