LAPD is increasing patrols at shopping centers after brazen takeover robberies
“We must ensure the public has a sense of safety,” Police Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Police Commission, the department’s civilian oversight body. “We are worried that this kind of conduct will be seen as allowable and nothing can be further from the truth.”
In the case of Nordstrom, about 18 to 20 people turned up in four cars, smashed a display window with a sledgehammer and an electric scooter and then stormed into the store, grabbing about $5,000 of merchandise before fleeing.
Officers nearby heard the incident and immediately moved in to apprehend the thieves, who then fled in their vehicles. One of those vehicles was pursued to South Los Angeles, where three of the suspects bailed out of the car and were arrested, Moore said.
Inside the vehicle, police officers found items stolen from the Nordstrom, Moore said.
The robbers caused about $15,000 of damage breaking into the store, he said.
Video from the scene showed a sledgehammer lying below a smashed window alongside a few pieces of clothing and a bicycle.
The chief said he is already talking to the California Highway Patrol about working together to step up efforts against retail gangs after Gov. Gavin Newsom launched an initiative to have the CHP join a statewide push to curtail such crime.
The Nordstrom robbery was one of several high-profile incidents over the last few days.
On Friday, thieves smashed a Louis Vuitton storefront window in San Francisco’s Union Square and ransacked the store. Criminals also targeted about a dozen nearby stores for theft and vandalism, police said, including a Burberry and Hermes store, as well as an eyeglass shop and cannabis dispensaries.
On Saturday night, the raid of a Nordstrom in nearby Walnut Creek was even more audacious: Just before closing time, about 80 people jumped out of a pack of cars, flash-mob style, and swarmed the aisles, many escaping with merchandise. Two employees were assaulted, one of them pepper-sprayed.
And just after midnight Sunday, criminals used a sledgehammer to smash storefront windows at a Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, police said, but patrol cars arrived to scare the thieves off before they could get inside.
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