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tv   Nightline  ABC  December 10, 2021 12:37am-1:06am PST

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♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight, crime wave. brazen organized gangs robbing stores and scaring customers. >> we're frustrated. and we're not going to take it anymore. >> high-end districts becoming fortresses. >> shoppers, people coming to dine, shop, have a good time. and this is where criminals know where they can go and commit crimes. plus welcome to earth. will smith's real-life action adventure. >> how's that feeling? >> you know exactly how it's feeling, scary as hell. >> from rappelling into a live volcano to an icelandic whitewater river, to the depths of the ocean. the hollywood leading man -- >> keep it real, it was terrifying. >> -- helping to uncover the earth's mysteries. >> the things that i've seen and got an opportunity to do, it is
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good evening. thank you for joining us. for many, the images are shocking. large, highly organized groups of robbers descending on retail stores at the height of the holiday season, grabbing whatever they can before racing off. here's abc's chief national correspondent matt gutman. >> reporter: rodeo drive in beverly hills, california, so famous it has become synonymous with luxury shopping. lined with ultra high-end boutiques like louis vuitton and gucci to name just a few. over the past year or so, the spot made famous in movies like "pretty woman" and "clueless" has become one of the most heavily secured locations on the planet. bristling with more than 2,000 security cameras. there are barriers, bullet-proof glass, and constant patrols by beverly hills police, and even private security firms. and it's not to stop window shoppers. >> you're on the most iconic street in the world, and we
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bring people here from all over the world, shoppers, people coming to dine, shop, have a good time. and this is where criminals know where they can go and commit crimes. >> reporter: lots of crimes. >> the number of smash-and-grabs and thefts on this street -- >> this year. >> this year? >> more than my entire decades on the street. >> reporter: the problem isn't unique to beverly hills. just before thanksgiving a los angeles nordstrom was targeted. a group of thieves ran in as the store was still open. customers still shopping. >> very disturbing. because now i'm reluctant to come to nordstrom or even the mall, for that matter, to come and make my purchases. >> reporter: and on black friday, thieves raiding this home depot, making off with sledgehammers, bolt cutters, hammers, and crowbars. tools authorities say were likely to be used for future crime. and while california may be the epicenter for this rash of robberies the past year and a half or so, they seem to be happening everywhere. like outside of chicago.
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and in cary, north carolina. >> everything i have, i put into this store. for people to just come in here and take from me? they're not just taking from me, they're taking from my children. i'm a single mom. this is how i support my kids. they're taking from my employees. they're making us feel unsafe. >> reporter: private security firms have been inundated with business from across the country. >> our phone's ringing off the hook. and we don't have enough support in our industry to be able to keep up with it. >> reporter: jeff zinser is ceo of aegis security and investigations. >> about six months ago we started seeing demand increase substantially. it's come to a point in the last several weeks where major retailers are calling us looking for staff that we just don't have. >> reporter: this rise in crime forcing jeff and his team to adjust their tactics. >> we've been changing some of the ways that we operate. as opposed to having people just in stores now, we're placing them outside the stores. this allows us to be a deterrent as well as to be able to observe anything that could be happening
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from a greater distance. that allows us to lock down the store if we need to, then obviously contact the police. >> reporter: that crime has put a chill on consumer enthusiasm at the very peak of the holiday shopping season. organized retail crime now costs retailers up to $1 billion a year. kathy gohari is president of the rodeo drive committee. what is being done to try to protect this area? >> you know, we are doing everything we can possibly do. because we're frustrated and we're not going to take it anymore. we have in-store security, armed security, we have security on the exterior of the stores, we have police monitoring the street 24/7, on foot, on vehicles. we have extra security companies, armed guards who are doing the rounds constantly. and we have it. and we're very fortunate to be in this position. >> i've heard, in addition to cameras, there is bullet-proof or shatter-proof glass. >> yes. >> other security measures you
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can't see. >> yes. >> can you describe any of those? >> certain stores are targets over and over again. they're tired of ordering their glass over and over again, so now they're bullet-proof. >> we're talking about some of the biggest luxury brands in the world. is this affecting mom-and-pop stores as well? >> of course, it's affecting everybody. it's affecting you and i. when we leave the house, we think twice about where we're going and what we have on and what we're wearing, if we walk around with shopping bags. it could be the small bikini shop on the south side of the city. it's all, we're all in this together. >> probably one of my biggest mentors in my life -- >> reporter: the city's police chief, mark stainbrook, has been on the job barely a week. a very busy week. >> my second day here, we recovered three guns, arrested three robbery suspects, had pursuit, had perimeters, had search warrants, all my second day here. that was the day before the
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murder of mrs. avant. >> reporter: the murder of jacqueline avant, wife of music mogul clarence avant, rocking beverly hills. even before that, he says his department was throwing every possible resource at the problem. >> doubled private security patrols that the city helped us hire. we're hiring more police officers. we also have great technology here. you'll see as you go around multiple camera systems, over 2,000 cameras in the city. officers will be flying drones to help protect the city. >> right over us right now? >> right over us right now. we intend to put license plate readers at every entrance and exit to the city to see who's coming and going. >> reporter: a crime wave that's raising questions about california's zero bail policy which currently allows for the immediate release of suspects for nonviolent felonies and misdemeanors, in part an effort to avoid overcrowding in jails and to address racial and economic inequalities in the bail system. last week the los angeles police department announcing they'd
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arrested a group of suspects in connection to a slew of thefts. >> in the 14 arrests that have been made, all the suspects taken into custody are out of custody. either as a result of one juvenile or the other as a result of bailing out or no bail, zero bail criteria. >> so you were not surprised? >> not surprised at all. >> at all? >> it was a moment in which to say in a concise fashion, here is something that drew america's attention to a series that happened not just here in los angeles but across the country in which we were successful in making a series of arrests of people we believe were responsible for it, but the process was -- is broken. because of covid, because of other levers, these individuals were back out on the street. the possibility of their continuing those type of same crimes was -- nothing was to stop them. >> reporter: back in beverly hills, kathy gohari insists this is not about protecting luxury brands.
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people are going to say, why should we care? louis vuitton, luxury brands, they have insurance, they'll just get their money back. >> it's not about the money. it's not about money. this is not about big companies. this is about the people. the safety of the employees, the safety of the visitors. and the overall mood. we're in the holiday season. we want to celebrate life again. after the past year that we've had, we are just beginning to get a little bit of oxygen. and this is the last thing we need. >> reporter: their hope, to restore rodeo drive's reputation as a place where people come to buy luxury items instead of, too often lately, stealing them. >> our thanks to matt. up next, will smith takes us to some of the world's most amazing places.
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visit your volvo retailer for special offers during our holiday safely sales event. ♪ will smith is known for his action roles, and now he's finding real-life adventure, taking us to some of the world's most remarkable places. here's abc's zohreen shah. >> reporter: our world has always been an enigma, a wealth of mysteries. >> that is fantastic. >> reporter: new discoveries behind every nook and cranny. now a new series revealing its
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secrets hosted by none other than will smith. >> how's that feeling? >> you know exactly how it's feeling. scary as hell. >> reporter: national geographic's "welcome to earth." >> that's spectacular. >> reporter: plunges viewers into the hidden majesty of mother nature and gives us a closer look at the forces that drive our planet. >> it really breaks down these misconceptions that all of nature has revealed itself to us, right? there is this diversity of life that takes our breath away, and we still don't understand. >> oh, that thing's strong. yes, that's why you watch the flipper. >> this is a show that is a love story about our planet. i hope that for the people that watch this, young and old, that they feel like they're about to embark on the greatest journeys of their lives. >> all right, this -- this is a serious one. >> reporter: the six-part docuseries is produced by nat geo, part of our parent company, disney, featuring a handful of the world's most daring explorers. like engineer albert lang.
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>> looks good. >> reporter: marine biologist diva amon. >> that was amazing. >> reporter: and mountaineer erik weihenmayer. all of whom take will on epic journeys into the unknown. >> there is nothing i enjoy more than those nat geo explorations. the things that i've seen and got an opportunity to do on that show, it is the deepest and greatest pleasure of my life. >> he's been saving the world for 30 years. as an action hero. and this was, like, real will. ♪ in the jungle the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight ♪ >> i used to love will smith the actor. i feel like i've really become a fan and advocate and friend of will smith the human. >> reporter: each of the explorers' unique backgrounds coming into play throughout the series. >> this is scary. >> i almost guarantee you're going to survive. >> all right. >> reporter: erik is a
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world-renowned climber who lost his vision to a rare eye disease, becoming fully blind at age 14. >> i was always an adventuresome kid. when i went blind, i found myself kind of in this prison. and i hated being inside of that thing. >> reporter: it was rock climbing that helped him break out of that prison. >> i climbed this rock face, got up high. blind people use echolocation. so i could hear the valley below me. it was so beautiful. the texture of the rocks under my hands. it was just like, this is adventure. this is everything i craved that i thought i'd lost. >> reporter: erik is used to great heights, becoming the first blind climber to reach the summit of mt. everest in 2001. >> any last words? >> yeah, this is my action hero pose. >> reporter: in "welcome to earth," he takes will downward, climbing into the belly of an active volcano to explore the power of sound. >> we need the helmet because the volcano spits rocks and stuff.
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as if this helmet's going to do something for one of these big-ass rocks. >> for me the gift was getting to the edge of the volcano with will and saying, hey, close your eyes, let's listen to this soundscape below us. and it was so beautiful. it was so nuanced. we're like, oh, listen to that over there! whoa, check out that lake over there! we were like two kids. >> reporter: from that fiery slope to the watery depths -- >> and we are detached. >> reporter: diva amon taking will to the bottom of the ocean. >> circle of light above us is shrinking. >> reporter: in this submersible pod. it's a pretty tight fit. >> aren't the explorer rules that i get to name it? >> yes. >> the fresh peak. >> reporter: for diva, the ocean is a mystery to be solved and a precious resource to protect. >> growing up in the caribbean,
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i remember, like, sitting on a boat, looking down into the ocean. and just wishing with all my heart that i could pull away that water. if i had something to let me see what was down there. >> you were a "little mermaid" fan, weren't you in. >> you can ask my mom, watched on repeat. >> reporter: she knows that even when things seem pitch black, there's an explosion of biodiversity to see. >> it really does look like a roast chicken that ate a giant philly pretzel. >> it is just incredible to think that many of those species we have never come across before. many of these habitats in the deep sea we have never seen before. there is just so much more work we have to do to really explore and understand this incredible planet. >> yeah! >> whoo! >> reporter: next up, the science of speed.
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albert lin exploring some of the fastest events in nature. >> you ready? don't screw this up. >> reporter: like a lizard's split-second lunge. >> wow. >> reporter: for albert, it's the intersection of technology and nature that can truly help us understand our planet. >> when you see the milky way moving across time, across the bolivian salt flats, you start to realize we are part of something infinite. i think that the tools we come up with in our minds to try to see that, they are driven by something deep inside which is an existential quest to know who we are, why we're here, what this is all about. >> can you tell anything about what might be under the water based on what's out here? >> i think there's only one way to find out. that's by going in, right? >> reporter: in albert's expeditions, nature is best experienced hands-on. >> okay, it was scary.
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i'm going to keep it real. it was terrifying. >> i've literally given body parts to this experience of being an adventurer. but it's been worth it because it's shown me that life is meant to be felt. >> reporter: five years ago, he lost his leg in an off-roading accident, an experience he says has given him greater insight into the world. >> if it doesn't kill you, you're good, you've learned from it. i'm just glad we didn't kill will. >> reporter: albert, diva, and erik all hope "welcome to earth" not only introduces viewers to the wonders of nature, but encourages them to see an explorer in themselves. >> growing up, there was never anybody like me on screen doing this, right? and so there is -- this is all about that representation. seeing someone like you and saying, hey, if they can do this, i can do this too. >> in the past, perhaps, kids
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would watch a show and be, that's some elite adventurer, explorer. to see themselves, to see quote, unquote flaws like a blind person, an amputee, it breaks down those walls. >> it will help us be better stewards of what we have. this precious little magical thing in the universe, you know? spaceship earth. >> our thanks to zohreen. all episodes of the disney plus original series "welcome to earth" are streaming now only on disney plus. up next, honoring an american hero and patriot, the late senator bob dole. people everywhere living with type 2 diabetes are waking up to what's possible... ...with rybelsus®. (♪ ♪) rybelsus® works differently than any other diabetes pill to lower blood sugar... in all 3 of these ways...
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as $10 per prescription. ask your healthcare provider about rybelsus® today. finally tonight, bob dole was many things. presidential and vice presidential candidate. senator. congressman. and soldier. the last was what he said he was most proud of. the world war ii hero who died saturday at 98, honored today, his body lying in state at the capitol.
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his wife, former senator elizabeth dole, paid her respects, placing her head on her husband's casket. president biden was there to remember his friend and political rival. >> in a sense, bob belongs here. he too was a giant of our history. and that's not hyperbole. it's real. >> bob dole's funeral is tomorrow at the national cathedral. that's "nightline" for this evening. catch our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back here, same time tomorrow. thanks for the company, america. good night.

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