Washington, D.C.’s crime spiral took a new turn this week when a flyer calling for shoplifters to “unite” and ransack a local grocery store was discovered outside a vacant building in Columbia Heights, a report shows.
“Shoplifters unite! Take everything that’s not nailed down. Bust windows,” the flyer stated, calling on people to reportedly ransack a Safeway location in the city, according to Fox 5 DC.
The flyer was found on an empty storefront window on Irving Street NW, according to the outlet. The outlet did not post the flyer’s message in its entirety, as it is unclear who posted the flyer and if their intentions to ransack the Safeway are legitimate.
“I think it’s a bunch of crap,” one Safeway shopper told FOX 5 of the flyer. “That’s what I think. You know, I see people come in this Safeway right here, and I see them take stuff and steal. You know, I don’t say anything, but you know the guard is right there. He sees it too, and he don’t do anything.”
Retail theft has exploded in cities across the U.S. in recent years, most notably in California, where smash-and-grabs and rampant shoplifting has led to dozens of stores shuttering due to crime and public safety concerns.
A study published by Forbes Advisor in November found that Washington, D.C., had the second-highest retail theft index out of any city examined in the study and cost residents an average of $336 per person.
Last month, five suspects were spotted carrying out a smash-and-grab at a Chanel store, making off with $250,000 worth of merchandise while one suspect deployed a fire extinguisher, ostensibly as a distraction and to cause confusion.
Shoplfiters have also been seen stealing shopping carts full of laundry detergent from a grocery store less than a mile from the US Capitol.
A Washington, D.C., CVS pulled toilet paper from its shelves in November, replacing the products with framed photos of the items. Shoppers are required to ask CVS employees to retrieve the items in order to combat theft, Fox News previously reported.
All in, Washington, D.C., had a violent and crime-riddled 2023, with police data showing violent crime increased by 39%.
The city recorded the highest number of homicides in 26 years in 2023, at 274, a 36% increase over 2022.
Carjackings nearly doubled in 2023 compared to 2022, and have been compounded by youths in the city who have increasingly been accused of carrying out violent carjackings and even murders.
A report from the Washington Free Beacon in September found 63% of carjacking arrests involved youths.
In the first nine months of 2023, Washington, D.C., police arrested 458 juveniles for robbery, homicide or assault with a dangerous weapon, according to data from the mayor’s office in November.
Crime in the city has even affected political leaders and their families.
A Secret Service agent assigned to protect President Biden’s granddaughter Naomi, for example, opened gunfire in Georgetown in November in response to an attempted car break-in.
Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar was carjacked by three armed attackers near the U.S. Capitol in October, and Democratic Minnesota Rep. Angie Craig was attacked by an “erratic” man suspected to be high on a drug in the elevator of her Washington, D.C., apartment building back in February, police said at the time.
The Metropolitan Police Department told Fox 5 that the department is working to apprehend suspects who commit crimes in the city when asked about the flyer calling for shoplifters to “unite.”
“MPD does not tolerate illegal activity of any kind, and we will continue to work to ensure that those who commit crimes within the District of Columbia are apprehended. We urge individuals to remain vigilant and help our community stay safe. If you See Something, Say Something.” the department said.
Neither Albertsons Companies, Safeway’s parent company, nor Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office immediately responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the flyer.