California sees spree of "smash-and-grab" robberies at high-end stores

2021-11-25 22:05:32 GMT2021-11-26 06:05:32(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Two more "smash-and-grab" robberies hit upscale department stores in California Wednesday, adding to a series of similar crimes in some major U.S. metropolitan areas.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), at least five people went inside an open Nordstrom store in the city's Canoga Park neighborhood on Wednesday evening.

The attack happened around 6:45 p.m. local time when a group of five suspects bursted into the store and ran out with items that included about seven to eight expensive purses worth an estimated 25,000 U.S. dollars.

The intruders used bear spray on a security guard during the robbery and left the scene by car.

Also on Wednesday, police said at least four people stole 20,000 U.S. dollars worth of merchandise from an Apple store in Santa Rosa, located about 95 kilometers north of San Francisco.

The Santa Rosa Police Department said the incident happened in front of customers and staff at noon, with four looters who were described as young males between the ages of 14 and 18 years old involved.

These incidents are the latest similar burglaries targeting high-end stores in the Golden State, in which several thieves ransacked a store and fled by cars.

On Saturday, a mob of about 80 people stormed a Nordstrom department store with weapons in Walnut Creek, 35 kilometers east of San Francisco. Three suspects have been arrested on Wednesday and charged with multiple felonies, including robbery, burglary, organized retail theft, conspiracy, and receiving stolen property.

On Monday, at least 18 people broke into a Nordstrom department store in Los Angeles and stole thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. The LAPD said three suspects had been arrested.

In response to a recent increase in organized retail theft activities across the state, California Governor Gavin Newsom directed the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to increase their presence near major retail sites and announced a proposed increase in the 2022 to 2023 state budget to combat retail theft.

"The level of organized retail theft we are seeing is simply unacceptable," said Newsom in a press release Monday, "Businesses and customers should feel safe while doing their holiday shopping."

"As a small business owner myself, I am resolved to holding these criminals accountable and protecting our local businesses." Newsom said. Enditem