Shoplifting Incident in California Bay Area With 80 Suspects

Quick-hit robberies continue to target high-end retail stores and pharmacies in California’s Bay Area. On Saturday, a shoplifting incident involved 80 suspects accused of grabbing items from a Nordstrom store and rushing out in under a minute.

“These types of smash-and-grabs I have not seen in my 45 years in law enforcement,” said Andrew Scott, who was the police chief in Boca Raton, Florida. “I haven’t seen smash-and-grabs on such a mass scale. They ultimately blitzkrieg a particular location. … And in the matter of minutes, in just a couple of minutes, they can literally steal hundreds of thousands of dollars of product.”

According to the officials, about 80 looters came to Nordstrom around 9 p.m. in the city’s Broadway Plaza. Two employees were punched and kicked, and one was pepper-sprayed. The police said that the suspects were in and out of the store within a minute, and the officials didn’t specify the estimated values that were stolen.

This incident is among a series of quick-hit robberies that have been affecting high-end retail stores and pharmacies in the San Francisco area all year. “Businesses need to invest in displays that are shatterproof. That will be a deterrent. They can’t go in and do smash-and-grab because nothing is smashing for them to grab,” said former officer Williams.

Walnut Creek police said three people were arrested in connection to Saturday night’s robbery. A jewelry store in Hayward, California was targeted on Sunday afternoon by nine people who used hammers to smash cases before they fled the scene.

Walgreens announced last month that it would close five stores in San Francisco because of organized retail thefts. “Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average despite large increases in security,” said Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso.

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