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California’s rich and famous murdered, burglarized and kidnapped as fmr. detective offers chilling prediction

California’s rich and famous murdered, burglarized and kidnapped as fmr. detective offers chilling prediction
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Not even the rich and famous are spared from California’s raging crime crisis. 

From Hollywood elites to tech moguls and politicians – the Golden State’s top tier residents have fallen victim to robberies, theft and even murder. But the state’s leadership continues to insist the crime crisis isn’t all that bad.

The latest high-profile California crime to make national headlines was the murder of “General Hospital” actor Johnny Wactor. He was shot and killed by a thief attempting to steal the catalytic converter from his car, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The three suspects believed to be connected to his murder remain at large, police said. 

Fox News contributor and former D.C. homicide detective Ted Williams told Fox News Digital that Wactor’s murder was a murder of convenience.

“This killing occurred because there were thugs who decided that they wanted to steal the catalytic converter on his automobile. Wactor, unfortunately, was a victim of being in the right place at the wrong time,” Williams said. 


Fox News contributor Ted Williams

Ted Williams talks about recent violent crime in California and what needs to happen to improve the issues. (iStock/Fox News)

Wactor’s senseless killing is just the latest example of the rich and famous falling victim to the state’s crime crisis.

Tech executive Bob Lee, founder of Cash App and the former chief technology officer of Square, was stabbed to death in San Francisco, California in April 2023.

Last month, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Kyle Richards’ eldest daughter, Farrah Aldjufrie, was the victim of a home burglary. 

Her step-father, Mauricio Umansky, previously told Fox News Digital that she was luckily not home at the time of the break-in and was doing OK. The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department said the thieves took jewelry and various personal items from the home. 


Johnny Wactor looking at the camera

“General Hospital” star, Johnny Wactor, was shot and killed in downtown Los Angeles on May 25. He was 37. (Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

Earlier this month, the daughter of Stewart Butterfield, a San Francisco tech-billionaire and the co-founder of Slack, was kidnapped. His daughter, Mint Butterfield, was found safe and unharmed. The suspect was arrested in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, an area infamous for high crime and considered unsafe for minors.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has had her home burglarized twice now – once in 2022 and again last month. 

“The unfortunate thing is that we have a rise of crime in America. And when you look at California and specifically the L.A. area, it is just a nest of criminal activity out there. And let me say here that all crime is local. And so it’s going to be up to the mayor and the police department and the prosecutors and the judges to do something about it,” Williams said.

“And when you look at California and specifically the L.A. area, it is just a nest of criminal activity…”

— Ted Williams

Williams added that the bigger issue is a shortage of law enforcement officers.

“As a result of a lack of law enforcement out there, crime is going to continue to go up. One of the things that Los Angeles is going to have to do, as well as other jurisdictions in this country, is that they’re going to have to hire more police officers to patrol the streets of their various cities, specifically Los Angeles,” Williams said. 


Side by side photos of Kyle Richards and Farrah Aldjufrie with an inset of police with Kyle and Farrah at their home

Side by side photos of Kyle Richards and Farrah Aldjufrie with an inset of police with Kyle and Farrah at their home (Getty Images)

Williams continued saying that, in terms of the attacks that have happened to celebrities, the majority of those taking place in Los Angeles are due to criminals being after high ticket items, like catalytic converters.

“Now, when you look at Los Angeles, naturally, you have quite a few celebrities, movie stars that live in Los Angeles. And as a result of that, they drive these high-priced automobiles. These high-priced automobiles have catalytic converters. These catalytic converters are very valuable. And so you have thieves out here who are stealing the catalytic converters from these expensive automobiles,” Williams said.

Williams added that there is also another factor contributing to the high crime in major cities in California – criminals back on the streets who should still be locked up.

“Johnny Wactor is now part of a number of human beings who should not have lost his life. But when you look at overall criminal activity, specifically violent criminal activities in these various communities, not only in Los Angeles, but around the country, there’s one common thread, and that is you have a lot of individuals who are out on the street who should no longer be on the street, committing these crimes. And as I’ve said before, there’s a lack of law enforcement presence in these various communities, giving really a green light to criminals to come to commit crimes,” Williams continued. 

When asked if the rise of these violent crimes would change anything in the future, Williams was not confident that things would improve. 

“Unfortunately, I do not see any changes within the near future, as it pertains to crime in these neighborhoods. Crime will continue to go up. And what we have, unfortunately, is a lack of police presence in the neighborhoods. And so, as a result of a lack of police presence, you can expect crime to continue to go up in all of these neighborhoods,” Williams said. 

“Unfortunately, I do not see any changes within the near future, as it pertains to crime in these neighborhoods. Crime will continue to go up.” 

— Ted Williams


Karen Bass and her home

Karen Bass via Getty Images and the Getty House, via Google Maps (Getty Images, Google Maps)

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office told Fox News Digital that Wactor’s murder is no indication that crime is on the rise in L.A. 

“Our office is committed to vigorously and fairly seeking justice for all crime victims, regardless of economic status or celebrity. We have no indication that there has been an increase in crime targeting celebrities in Los Angeles County. LA County has more than 10 million residents and is the nation’s most populous county – larger in population than 42 states,” the DA’s office said. 

Back in February 2024, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to crack down on rising crime in the Bay Area. Newsom said he was deploy 120 California Highway Patrol officers as well as more prosecutors to help with the crime crackown.

“An arrest isn’t enough,” Newsom said in a previous statement. “Justice demands that suspects are appropriately prosecuted. Whether it’s ‘bipping’ or carjacking, attempted murder or fentanyl trafficking, individuals must be held accountable for their crimes using the full and appropriate weight of the law.”


photo of Gavin Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, at a news conference in Dublin, Calif. Stung by recent headline-grabbing smash-and-grab robberies at high-end stores, Newsom said that he will seek more than $300 million over three years to boost law enforcement efforts on retail theft, while also targeting increasing gun violence.  (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group via AP)

However, Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods called Newsom’s plan “a band-aid to fix a broken arm.”

“More prosecution and more police is not the solution here,” Woods said in a previous statement. “We need housing, money for community-based organizations, higher wages, employment, as well as money for our schools, medical care and mental health.”

The governor’s office has touted Newsom’s $1.1 billion investment to “fight crime, hire more police, and improve public safety.”

Celebrity Mario Lopez has also slammed Gov. Newsom’s priorities when it comes to making California safer for its residents. In 2023, Lopez posted a status to his X account, writing, “Crime is through the roof, worst drug epidemic ever & homelessness at an all time high in CA… Let’s focus on Skittles.”

The actor’s caption was in response to a news headline which read, “California becomes the first U.S. state to ban Skittles and 12,000 additional products for cancer-causing additives.”

Lopez emphasized that solving the state’s crime and homeless problems should be the real concern over eliminating food dye.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, California’s violent crime rate increased by 5.7%, from 468 crimes per 100,000 residents in 2021 to 495 in 2022. The data show that California has also seen increases in violent crime in the years since the pandemic hit. The state’s violent crime rate is now up by 13.5% compared to the pre-COVID rate of 2019 of 436 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.


LA cop car

Violent crime in America spiked during the pandemic and some of the most brazen acts have involved underage offenders. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Although robberies fell by 6.7% and rapes were down by 0.7% in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels, the data showed that robberies involving a firearm rose by 12.5% in 2022 compared to 2019. Of the state’s 58 counties, the data showed that 36 saw violent crime rise in 2022, with rates in 13 counties increasing by 20% or more. 

Fox News Digital reached out to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office for comment. 

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