(The Center Square) – Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday denounced the looting that took place in several Bay Area stores over the weekend, calling the acts "unacceptable" and urging accountability for those who committed theft.
The governor, speaking from a vaccine clinic in the Bay Area, told reporters Monday that he has "no sympathy" for those who participated in looting several high-end stores in Northern California over the weekend.
"I have no sympathy, no empathy whatsoever," Newsom said Monday. "People smashing and grabbing, stealing people's items, creating havoc and terror in our streets. None. Period. Full stop. We want real accountability. We want people prosecuted and we want people to feel safe this holiday season."
On Saturday, about 80 looters ransacked a Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, stealing merchandise and assaulting employees, according to the Walnut Creek Police Department. Police said the looting "was clearly a planned event" and arrested three suspects as of Sunday.
This came after several other looters vandalized and stole from a Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and several other retailers in San Francisco's Union Square on Friday night, which resulted in the arrest of eight suspects, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The Chronicle also reported that additional looting took place Sunday at a jewelry store in Hayward's Southland Mall and at a Lululemon in San Jose.
Newsom said Monday that his own business has been looted three times this year, adding that people who commit these acts "must be held to account." As a result of the looting, the governor said increased California Highway Patrol (CHP) presence would be deployed in and around highly trafficked areas going into Black Friday and the holidays.
Newsom also indicated that there will be an "exponential increase" in next year's budget to support cities and counties in addressing looting and "other quality of life issues."
"These people need to be held to account," Newsom said. "We need to investigate these crimes, we need to break up these crime rings. And we need to make an example out of these folks."