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Beverly Hills store bans masks over robbery fears (video)

(KTLA NEWS) A store in Beverly Hills is banning masks during its regular business hours because of a string of robberies in the area.

The owner of Kitson, located on Robertson Boulevard, says that they’ve noticed an increase in people looking to steal while wearing masks to avoid being identified. They say people have also been coming into the store to harass and even physically assault others while also wearing face masks.

Employees there say the abundance of masks mixed with a rising number of brazen robberies and regular shoplifting has made the job a lot harder.

“You have to have the awareness and understand the motivation, or at least the signs of somebody who is planning to steal,” said Santos Hemenway, an employee at the store. “I used to be a little more lax, but now, I’ve got to be on all guards. It’s definitely changed in the last in the last year so.”

Earlier this summer, the city of Beverly Hills announced it would not enforce a local mask mandate were Los Angeles County to reinstate one. Currently, there are no mandatory indoor mask mandates for any cities in Los Angeles County, although health officials are still continuing to encourage their use inside public places.

As for shoppers at Kitson, people who still want to mask up while they’re shopping are welcome to set up an appointment to stop by.