POLL RESULTS: Should businesses have more power to protect themselves against looters?

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A string of organized retail theft broke out in the San Francisco Bay area over the weekend.

On Friday, thieves smashed windows and looted high-end retail shops such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Bloomingdale’s. Then on Saturday an estimated 80 thieves ransacked a store in Walnut Creek leaving two store employees hurt. Three suspects were arrested, but dozens fled the scene.

During a news conference Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom said these thefts are making customers uneasy, and the California Highway Patrol is stationing more officers outside retail centers to deter theft.

Bakersfield Police say shopkeepers are allowed to make a citizens arrest, but BPD recommends you call law enforcement and let them handle it.

READ MORE: Flash-mob theft: How Bakersfield businesses are preparing for it

We asked: Should store owners have more power to stop shoplifters?

“It’s happening every day here in Bakersfield. Definitely organized crime. They come in take what they can steal, using items, such as duffle bags (store merchandise btw) and use “racial discrimination” when stopped. Store employees are not allowed to retrieve merchandise and have to watch this happen daily.”

Trisha Stracher, Facebook user

“As much as I hate theft, it’s a double edge sword. If an employee confronts a shoplifter and is assaulted or killed, it’s the employer that’s on the hook now. They are afraid of a lawsuit by the employee or their family.”

Timothy Mills, Facebook user

“They shouldn’t be put in a position to have to stop shoplifters and if ALL shoplifters were held accountable maybe shoplifting would stop!!!!!”

Becky Castro Cummings, Facebook user

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