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Occupy's freeloading freedom fighters

November 21, 2011 |  1:44 pm

Crime is up around the Occupy L.A. camp
Quick, someone go rent the Occupy L.A. folks a Robin Hood movie. And make sure everyone's paying attention when it gets to the part about "robbing the rich to give to the poor."

Because something's gone terribly wrong in our own little City Hall Sherwood Forest.

The Times' headline Monday morning says it all: "Occupy L.A.: Shoplifting, drug violations, drunkenness reported."

Ouch.

The Los Angeles Police Department said arrests in the general area around the camp are up, including charges of disorderly conduct, drug violations, public drunkenness and lewd acts. ...

Serious crimes more than doubled in the area around Occupy Los Angeles during the first 45 days since the protesters began their encampment, LAPD officials said.

Now, I recall that Friar Tuck liked his ale. (Or was it mead? And what's the difference?)  And yes, Robin's merry band stole.

But somehow, today's Occupy L.A. inhabitants seem to have missed the reason for that malfeasance. Take this anecdote from Times staff writer Angel Jennings' story last week:

Salim Virani said his dry-cleaning business has suffered from layoffs in recent months at nearby government facilities downtown, including Los Angeles City Hall. So he wasn't thrilled to have Occupy L.A. campers come by and ask him to clean up to 30 sleeping bags, free of charge…

Virani said the protesters were angry at being turned down, perhaps because many businesses, including restaurants, have provided food, goods and services to the campers for free.

And Virani isn't alone:

A CVS employee said that $730 worth of toiletries, alcohol and first-aid supplies had been stolen from the store over a two-week period in late October. In the report filed Oct. 27 with mall security, the employee said "thefts were occurring because [of] the newly frequent visits from the Occupy L.A. people."

But did the Occupy people take the high road?  Not exactly:

Occupy L.A. representatives didn't dispute the claim, noting that many of the protesters don't have jobs or money.

"Compare [the shoplifting] with the theft of homes by huge banks and I think we have a bit of context," said Mark Lipman, a protester from Mar Vista.

Well, Mark Lipman from Mar Vista, here's some more context (free of charge): When conservatives are calling you the "flea party," and Ann Coulter says your previous movement was "Occupy Our Mothers' Basements," it's not the best strategy to shrug at lawlessness and defend shoplifting by saying "they did it first."

The Occupy movement has an important message. The wealth gap in this country is disgraceful.  Who doesn't applaud those who are seriously trying to make that point?

But Americans don't condone lawlessness. Stealing is stealing.

The majority of people just want a fair deal. They want a level playing field. They want decent jobs at decent pay and a better life for their kids.

The Occupy folks want us to believe that they're freedom fighters. But more and more they're looking like just a bunch of freeloaders.

RELATED: 

Occupuppy L.A.

How will Occupy L.A. end?

UCLA ousts Occupy encampment

Let birds and butterflies occupy L.A.

-- Paul Whitefield

Photo: Occupy protesters block the intersection at Figueroa and 4th streets. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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