California business owner flees Golden State, heads for Alabama: 'It's crazy out there'

Derek Thoms says several of his laundromats are sometimes targeted in broad daylight

Derek Thoms, who owns several laundromats in California, said he moved his family out of the Golden State to Alabama because of the increase in crime. 

Thoms told "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" on Monday that what prompted him to move his family to Alabama included the fact that the state has "low crime" and "more strict laws." 

"They’re definitely not afraid to put people in jail," he told host Neil Cavuto. "You just don’t have to deal with all the stuff that comes with California," the business owner added. 


"I mean, you have to be sensitive to everyone in California, even especially as a business owner, you really fear even saying the wrong thing to somebody and being boycotted out there," Thoms continued. "It’s crazy out there." 

Leaving California sign

Derek Thoms, who owns several laundromats in California, says the rise in crime made him want to move his family out of the state.  (istock / iStock)

He also noted that several of his locations were targeted by those attempting to steal from him, sometimes in broad daylight. The business owner says they often don’t get away with anything, but cause a lot of damage. He captured the incidents on his security cameras, which showed that some of the same offenders come back more than once. 

Thoms, who still owns several laundromats in Northern California, including Oakland, told Cavuto that he is hoping to sell his businesses in the state given "it is just too expensive to try and move everything."

He said that he recently purchased a laundromat in Alabama with his brother, who also moved to the state. 

"So if we can restart out here and slowly phase the California ones out, that would be ideal," Thoms said. 

Meantime, another California business owner has been documenting an uptick in crime. In fact, the Los Angeles store he owns banned customers from wearing masks inside the establishment, due to "daily" escalations in crime and the inability to identify criminals after recent robberies.

Fraser Ross, owner of Kitson Los Angeles, said on "Fox & Friends" Monday that thieves wear masks, hats and hoodies to hide their identities. 

"In a lineup, we'd never be able to identify them," he said. "The cameras in the store can’t identify them. The security guard in front of the store can’t identify them."

Ross said he’s fed up with masking after employees were threatened by thieves. He said he was choked and pepper-sprayed inside the store during one incident.

Ross said his business now spends $150,000 per year for security in an effort to deter criminals.

He also said that now, during regular hours, customers are required to remove masks for the safety of employees and the security of the business.

"We’ve got to protect the assets of the company and our staff now," Ross said. 

"It makes total sense," Thoms said, reacting to Ross’ decision not to allow masks during regular business hours. 


"Every recent crime that has happened in the laundromats, they get to hide behind their COVID mask."

"They will come in when the stores are open, not even necessarily breaking in at night; they will come in midday and kind of wait for an empty time, but they’ll still be able to wear their mask and hide their face," Thoms added. "So I completely understand what he is saying."

FOX News’ Amy Nelson contributed to this report.