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Another Calif. Nordstrom Hit by Mob of Thieves

About 20 people involved in latest smash-and-grab
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 24, 2021 12:00 AM CST
Updated Nov 24, 2021 3:33 AM CST
Another Luxury California Mall Hit by Mob of Thieves
A security guard stands outside the Nordstrom store at The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021.   (AP Photo/Eugene Garcia)

(Newser) – A group of thieves smashed windows at a department store at a luxury mall in Los Angeles, triggering a police pursuit just days after high-end stores throughout the San Francisco Bay Area were targeted, the AP reports. The latest incident in a national trend of smash-and-grab crimes targeted a Nordstrom store at The Grove retail and entertainment complex. Workers covered a large broken window at the Nordstrom with black plywood Tuesday morning as security guards and shoppers alike came in and out of the store. Michel Moore, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, said the agency would beef up its visible patrols around high-end stores citywide beginning Tuesday night and into the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend.

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Crimes like these "have a profoundly greater impact on the sense of safety and security than simply the dollar loss of the merchandise,” Moore said. The thieves struck around 10:40pm Monday, using a sledgehammer and an e-bike to break the window's glass, Moore said. About 20 people were involved in the smash-and-grab theft, stealing about $5,000 worth of merchandise and leaving roughly $15,000 worth of damage to the store when they fled. Officers pursued an SUV involved in the crime, and the chase ended with three people—including a juvenile—arrested. Officers found Nordstrom merchandise in the SUV, as well as items that appeared to be stolen during a CVS burglary earlier in the day.

The Grove incident followed a weekend of similar brazen thefts in the San Francisco Bay Area and Beverly Hills in which groups of people, some carrying crowbars and hammers, ransacked high-end stores and stole jewelry, sunglasses, suitcases, clothing, and other merchandise before fleeing in waiting cars. The thefts are believed to be part of sophisticated criminal networks that recruit mainly young people to steal merchandise in stores throughout the country and then sell it in online marketplaces. Experts and law enforcement officials say the thefts are ratcheting up as the holiday shopping season gets underway. Those who do the stealing get paid between $500 and $1,000 to take as much as they can and bring it back to organizers who ship it to other parts of the country.

(Read more Los Angeles stories.)

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