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Beverly Grove boutique announces mask ban due to rise in robbery, crime

Beverly Grove boutique bans masks inside store citing rise in crime
Beverly Grove boutique bans masks inside store citing rise in crime 02:07

A Beverly Grove clothing store announced Sunday that it will be enforcing a mask ban to its shop. 

Kitson, a popular boutique with multiple locations in Los Angeles, has decided to restrict mask usage at its Beverly Grove store located on Robertson Boulevard, citing the recent rise in masked burglaries in the area.

Fraser Ross, the owner of Kitson, told CBSLA that the store posted signs about the mask ban this past Wednesday. 

A sign posted on the window reads, "Due to safety of our staff and assets of store, we do not allow the wearing of face masks."

The masks were previously required by Los Angels County residents during any indoor setting due to coronavirus, but recently have become largely optional as the area sits in the "medium" tier of COVID-19 community level.

In an interview with Fox News, Ross detailed times that he's been strangled and pepper-sprayed by assailants, as well as times that his employees have had scissors held at their faces. 

He believes that masks are now being used with a vastly different motive, as suspects planning to commit crime are using them instead to cover their faces and protect their identity. 

"They come in the store with a mask on. You know they've got a bucket hat, a hoodie and a mask and you can't see their eyes," he said. "In a lineup you'd never be able to identify them."

Ross released a statement, explaining the company's decision: 

"At Kitson we prioritize the safety of our staff and customers. We noticed a disturbing trend of individuals wearing masks to avoid identification in various situations including, but not limited to, shoplifting, verbal harassment, and physical assault. The mask mandate may have begun as a health precaution, but we believe it is now being used by some people for nefarious purposes. To that end, we enacted our own mandate of sorts. We do not allow wearing of masks in the Robertson store during regular business hours. Those people who wish to wear masks are free to set up an appointment for a person shopping experience or visit our website. We also offer curbside pickup."

Most recently, suspects broke into a Neiman Marcus store in Beverly Hills with a car during the early morning hours. 

Kitson shoppers who wish to wear a mask because of the risks of COVID-19 can still wear one but must make an appointment with the store, Ross said.

CBS has yet to hear back from the Los Angeles Public Health Department on the issue after reaching out for a statement.

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