Los Angeles: Two more “smash-and-grab” robberies hit upscale department stores in California, adding to a series of similar crimes in the US state.
In a statement Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said that at least five people went inside an open Nordstrom store in the city’s Canoga Park neighbourhood Wednesday evening, reports Xinhua news agency.
The attack happened at around 6.45 p.m. when a group of five suspects burst into the store and ran out with items that included about seven to eight expensive purses worth an estimated $25,000. 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 worth of merchandise from an Apple store in Santa Rosa, located about 95 kim north of San Francisco.
The Santa Rosa Police Department said the incident happened in front of customers and staff at noon, with four robbers 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 November 20, a mob of about 80 people stormed a Nordstrom department store with weapons in Walnut Creek, 35 km east of San Francisco. Three suspects were arrested Wednesday and charged with multiple felonies, including robbery, burglary, organised 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 organised retail theft activities across the state, state 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 organised retail theft we are seeing is simply unacceptable… 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 added.