Flash mob smash-and-grabs continue at high-end stores in Los Angeles
A rash of flash mob thefts continued in Los Angeles as organized groups grabbed expensive merchandise in pre-Thanksgiving raids on stores in the Beverly Center and a Nordstrom in Canoga Park.
A security guard was attacked with bear spray as several people entered the Nordstrom at the Westfield Topanga & The Village shopping center in Canoga Park on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release.
In interviews with local TV stations, LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton said the burglars made off with several high-end purses.
Hamilton told CBS Los Angeles that extra officers had been deployed to the shopping center but the burglars were able to avoid them.
The LAPD was also investigating a similar incident in which groups entered several stores in the Beverly Center on Wednesday, grabbed merchandise and ran out.
Officers were pursuing leads to catch those involved, the news release said.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the city will be having more police officers on patrol during the holiday season to ensure shoppers feel safe.
The break-ins came two days after an organized group broke into a Nordstrom at the Grove mall by smashing a window and stole thousands of dollars of merchandise.
Los Angeles police arrested three suspects in connection with that incident. Officers recovered several items of clothing, at least one cash register and gloves from the suspects’ vehicle.
On Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Police Commission that the department would be stepping up patrols and dedicating resources to some higher-end locations to deter the wave of mob thefts.
In another burglary Monday, six people entered a CVS pharmacy on the 5800 block of South Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles and stole three cash registers, taking about $8,500 in cash, police said.
On Sunday, burglars used a sledgehammer to try to smash storefront windows at Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Beverly Hills.
They were unable to get into the stores, and nothing was taken, according to police.
High-end retailers such as Nordstrom and Louis Vuitton have been targeted by brazen robbers in Northern and Southern California, raising alarm among authorities, politicians and retailers.
In Contra Costa County, Dist. Atty. Diana Becton announced Wednesday that three people have been arrested and charged in a burglary in which about 90 people stormed a Nordstrom in Walnut Creek on Nov. 20, using three separate entrances.
Parking 25 cars in front of the store, the group stole more than $100,000 in about a minute, a criminal complaint said.
One Nordstrom employee was pepper-sprayed, another assaulted with a knife and two struck or punched, the complaint said.
Dana Dawson, 30, Joshua Underwood, 32, and Rodney Robinson, 19, were arrested by the Walnut Creek Police Department and charged with conspiracy, burglary, robbery and organized retail theft.
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