Shoplifting incident with 80 suspects is worst they’ve seen, retired police say

A shoplifting incident involving 80 individuals accused of grabbing objects and dashing out of a Nordstrom retailer in California in underneath a minute Saturday night time is among the many worst such episodes they’ve heard of, two longtime cops say.

“These kind of smash-and-grabs I’ve not seen in my 45 years in regulation enforcement,” mentioned Andrew Scott, who was the police chief in Boca Raton, Florida, from 1998 to 2006. “I haven’t seen smash-and-grabs in such a mass scale. … They in the end blitzkrieg a specific location. … And within the matter of minutes, in simply a few minutes, they will actually steal tons of of hundreds of {dollars} of product.”

About 80 looters descended on the Nordstrom at about 9 p.m. within the metropolis’s Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek police mentioned. An worker was pepper-sprayed, and two others had been punched and kicked, a police spokesperson mentioned. The robbers had been out and in of the shop inside a minute, police mentioned. Officers didn’t specify the estimated worth of the objects that had been stolen.

The incident is amongst a cluster of quick-hit robberies which were plaguing high-end retail shops and pharmacies within the San Francisco space all 12 months.

The shoplifting was “clearly a deliberate occasion,” police mentioned.

Timothy T. Williams Jr., who spent 29 years with the Los Angeles Police Division earlier than he retired from its Theft-Murder Division, mentioned he has additionally by no means seen so many suspects accused in a shoplifting incident.

“That’s a hell of rather a lot,” Williams mentioned. “Companies must spend money on shows which might be shatterproof. That will likely be a deterrent. They’ll’t go in and do smash-and-grab as a result of nothing is smashing for them to seize.”

Walnut Creek police mentioned three individuals had been arrested in reference to Saturday night time’s incident.

NBC Bay Space reported {that a} jewellery retailer in Southland Mall in Hayward, California, was focused Sunday afternoon by about 9 individuals who used hammers to smash instances earlier than they fled. Police in Hayward and Walnut Creek, which is about 30 miles northeast, didn’t return requests for remark Monday about whether or not the incidents is perhaps linked.

Walgreens introduced final month that it could shut 5 shops in San Francisco due to organized retail theft.

“Retail theft throughout our San Francisco shops has continued to extend previously few months to 5 occasions our chain common” regardless of massive will increase in safety, Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso mentioned in an announcement on the time.

In an incident that appeared significantly surprising in San Francisco, a gaggle of shoplifters in July was recorded on cellphone video sprinting out of a Neiman Marcus in Union Sq. lugging “a number of tens of hundreds of {dollars}” in stolen merchandise, police mentioned.

The identical month, metropolis leaders pushed again towards critics who argued that the shoplifting incidents had been uncontrolled. Metropolis officers launched a midyear public security report, which, in accordance with police knowledge, confirmed that total thefts had been down by 9 % within the first six months of the 12 months in comparison with the identical interval final 12 months.

San Francisco police didn’t reply to a request for remark or up to date theft statistics Monday.

Though the thefts have been clustered in California, they’ve additionally occurred elsewhere.

Greater than a dozen individuals in a Chicago suburb had been recorded on safety video Wednesday afternoon grabbing baggage and wiping cabinets clear at a Louis Vuitton retailer.

The stolen merchandise was estimated at $120,000, Oak Brook police mentioned in an announcement.