Raise your hands if you saw this one coming. Out in Southern California, residents are still under orders to wear facemasks when going out in public. (Unless you are protesting, looting or committing arson, of course. Then you can do what you like.) Most of the people seem to be paying heed to these instructions, at least for now. But one group of specific people seem to be really on board with the policy. That would be the ones committing robberies. In Santa Ana, just south of the City of Angels, there’s been a rather drastic spike in robberies of small businesses and the owners are curbing their hours of operation in response. (CBS Los Angeles)

Pointing a gun right at a gas station clerk, a man in a traffic vest and a ball cap demanded money as his accomplice, wearing a mask, grabbed the cash.
“We’re sitting here not knowing who’s going to walk through that door,” Elias Khawan, the owner, said.

The thieves, who did not initially raise the clerk’s suspicion due to local orders for face coverings in light of the coronavirus pandemic, took off in a silver Nissan Altima last Friday at 2 a.m.

Khawan said he has never seen anything like it the 17 years he’s run his Santa Ana gas station and convenience store. He said local face covering requirements put his staff in danger.

Mr. Khawan used to run his gas station and convenience store 24/7. Now he closes the business every night at 10 o’clock, reopening in the morning. The change has cut his revenue by 25%, but his workers refuse to report for the overnight shift out of fear of armed robbers and Khawan says he can’t really blame them

The City of Santa Ana has recorded a 50% increase in armed robberies since the lockdown began and the facemask order went into effect. This was confirmed for CBS by the Santa Ana Police Department. The department said they weren’t “certain” what was driving the increase, but it might also be related to all of the criminals being released from the local jails because of the COVID-19 epidemic. There’s that “empty the jails” theme popping up again.

Lest you think this is some sort of local aberration, Southern California is hardly alone in experiencing this trend. Newsweek ran a lengthy profile a few weeks ago of various locations where police are seeing the same thing. It’s been happening in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Arizona, among others. In addition to masks, the cops note that some of the criminals are going one step further and wearing latex gloves. That’s a good way to avoid picking up the virus, but it’s also a very effective method of making sure you don’t leave any fingerprints behind.

So the jobs of police officers are getting progressively harder when trying to solve these robberies. And that’s assuming that they even have the time to respond and investigate. In too many cities, all of the cops are tied up handling the rioting and looting that’s going on. This is turning out to be a banner year for crime, folks.