By John Ruberry
If you give a press conference and the result looks like a Saturday Night Live sketch, a pre-woke version of the show that is, then you have a big problem.
So it was last week with Chicago’s inept leftist mayor, Lori Lightfoot, when she blamed retail crime victims for the rise of flash mob thieves plaguing Chicago’s Magnificent Mile shopping area.
“We still have retailers that won’t institute plans like having security officers in their stores, making sure that they’ve got cameras that are actually operational, locking up their merchandise at night, chaining high-end bags,” the first-term Democrat said. “These purses can be something that is attracting a lot of organized retail theft units.”
So it’s the victims’ fault.
Just like it was in this SNL skit from 1991, featuring Chicago native Joe Mantegna, where he blames New York City crime victims for their problems.
“Yeah, I was flying to Florida, and we had a stopover in New York,” a caller to a talk radio show told Mantegna. “Well, while we were sitting on the ground a group of ‘wilding’ teenagers boarded the plane and beat with me on the head with a pipe.”
“And which airport was this,” Mantegna asked,
“LaGuardia,” was the reply.
“Well, there you go,” Mantegna scolded the caller.
Chicago Police brass were said to have a plan in place to combat smash-and-grab thieves and avoid scenes such as what happened when a Burberry’s on North Michigan Avenue was emptied of purses–each handbag was worth more than a thousand dollars.
If there was a plan by the CPD, then it clearly didn’t work. Since Lightfoot’s delusional presser a North Face store on the Mag Mile was struck twice. But proving that the Burberry’s looting was just a tame opening act, yesterday a luxury car dealer just off of the Magnificent Mile was robbed of an estimated $2 million worth of high-end watches–which, are you paying attention Mayor Lightfoot?– were locked up inside a locked glass display case. Yep, $2 million.
The dealership is now seeing customers on an appointment basis only–its doors are locked during store hours. Welcome to the new Chicago.
On Friday night’s Flannery Fired Up show on Fox 32 Chicago, host Mike Flannery estimated that 20 percent of the storefronts on North Michigan Avenue are empty. Regular readers of my posts know that the Mag Mile was devastated by two rounds of looting–oops, I mean “mostly peaceful protests”–in 2020.
The luxury dealership, which sells Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, and Lamborghinis, is owned by Joe Perillo, who is rethinking operating in Chicago.
“It is wrong for someone to break into a place – if they get caught, they get let out!” Perillo explained to ABC 7. “If they get arrested, they get let go. So, how do you intend to ever solve that problem?” He added, “If they don’t do anything about this, they’re going to lose a lot of businesses. They lost Macy’s. They’re losing Neiman Marcus. They may lose this store.”
While Neiman Marcus still has a store on the North Michigan Avenue, the Gap and Disney have also left in the last year. And remember what Flannery said about Mag Mile vacancies.
It’s not just Lightfoot’s fault.
Kim Foxx is one of those woke so-called prosecutors whose campaign was funded by radical leftist George Soros. She’s received plenty of well-deserved scorn for her mishandling of the Jussie Smollett case. But the greater sin of the Cook County state’s attorney is her catch-and-release policy involving criminals accused of serious offenses. Even some alleged murderers are out of jail on electronic surveillance.
How ’bout if a non-woke SNL updated that skit with a Chicago twist?
“Hello, my store was emptied of merchandise by flash mob looters,” a caller to that SNL-radio show might say.
“What do you sell,” Lori Lightfoot would reply.
“Purses worth more than $1,000.”
Lightfoot’s retort would be, “Well, there you go.”
Retail groups have been complaining that shoppers are now afraid to visit North Michigan Avenue. Who can blame them?
Chicago is dying. The cause of death? Woke politicians.
Well, there you go.
John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.