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World: Dozens of San Francisco area stores, pharmacies hit by smash-and-grab looters: 'Hurts us all'

California Nordstrom ransacked by 80 looters in ski masks with crowbars and weapons: Witness

  California Nordstrom ransacked by 80 looters in ski masks with crowbars and weapons: Witness Roughly 80 looters stormed a Nordstrom location in Walnut Creek, California, on Saturday night."We probably saw 50 to 80 people in ski masks crowbars a bunch of weapons. They were looting the Nordstrom's right here. And I thought they were going to start beating cars. I had to start locking doors lock the front door lock the back door," local PF Chang's manager Brett Barrette told KGO.

Mobs of thieves ransacked at least two dozen San Francisco area businesses over the weekend, as smash and grab incidents rage in the Bay Area.

"At least two dozen businesses were impacted," Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong told CBS SF. "Roving caravans of vehicles, targeting cannabis operations, retail shops, pharmacies, throughout the city of Oakland."

The mobs of thieves hit a handful of pharmacies and marijuana dispensaries in Oakland, including the Wellspring pharmacy that released surveillance video of the scene to the media. Police added that the mobs in Oakland fired 175 shots during the incidents, forcing officers to pull back to safe locations, The Mercury News reported.

Suspects quizzed over California flash mob robbery

  Suspects quizzed over California flash mob robbery Three people suspected of being part of a robbery flash mob were being questioned Tuesday, the latest in a series of violent thefts in California involving sometimes dozens of people. At least 20 raiders in four cars took part in a smash-and-grab at a Los Angeles department store Monday evening, taking a sledgehammer to the display window and loading up on men's clothing. As police arrived the group split up, with one vehicle leading officers on a high-speed chase along the city's freeways, which ended with a foot pursuit and the arrest of the three.


A local Oakland man battling cancer also tried to visit a Walgreens on Sunday only to find it closed after a robbery.

"I’ve got cancer," David Massey said. "So I’m trying to get certain medications filled and they tell you to go to another Walgreens."


"This is the third time that I know of that they have been broken into," he added. "It hurts us all. Especially the little guy that really needs it."

The area kicked off the weekend of crime with a swarm of people descending on a Louis Vuitton in San Francisco, clearing out the store of its high-end merchandise. That same night, "hundreds" of vehicles targeted marijuana dispensaries in Oakland, Armstrong told The Mercury News.

Rampant smash-and-grab theft part of failure to prosecute criminals, tolerated by officials, experts say

  Rampant smash-and-grab theft part of failure to prosecute criminals, tolerated by officials, experts say A rash of brazen nighttime organized retail thefts in several U.S. cities in which thieves have been seen ransacking stores and making off with handfuls of cheap and luxury merchandise is the culmination of a failure to prosecute criminals and the normalization of such behavior, according to experts. The most recent incident occurred Monday when a mob of at least 20 people smashed windows with a sledgehammer at a Nordstrom department store at The Grove, a popular shopping and entertainment complex in Los Angeles, and stole thousands of dollars worth of goods, police said. At least three suspects have been arrested.

On Saturday, about 80 people wearing ski masks and armed with crowbars stormed a Nordstrom location in nearby Walnut Creek. They then rushed from the store to their vehicles with stolen merchandise. Three people have so far been arrested in connection to that incident.

San Francisco police said that nearly 12 stores in that city alone were attacked at the same time by a mob of at least 80 people over the weekend.


The crimes also extended to San Jose, about 50 miles from San Francisco, where at least four people stole $40,000 from a Lululemon in an incident described by police as "organized robbery."

"People need to be alert," San Jose police Sgt. Christian Camarillo told The Mercury News. "We’re coming into the busy holiday shopping season. We can’t be everywhere at the same time. We do need citizens’ help; when they see suspicious activity occurring, please let us know, especially at the malls."

California Apple store hit in latest smash-and-grab in broad daylight

  California Apple store hit in latest smash-and-grab in broad daylight A Northern California Apple store was targeted by thieves Wednesday in the latest smash-and-grab theft as mobs continue to commit brazen burglaries on retail shops in several U.S. cities. Four suspects walked into the Apple store just after 11:30 a.m. in Santa Rosa, 55 miles north of San Francisco, and stole more than $20,000 worth of merchandise in broad daylight in front of customers and staff, authorities said. LA THIEVES ATTACK SECURITY GUARD IN CALIFORNIA'S LATEST SMASH-AND-GRAB They fled in a vehicle and ranged in age from 14 to 18-years-old, the Santa Rosa Police Department said.

Walnut Creek Police Chief Jamie Knox has meanwhile reached out to the FBI, the California Highway Patrol and the U.S. Marshals Service in preparation for any potential similar incidents.

"No city can be prepared for one day, with no notice, 80 people committing an organized theft within one minute," Walnut Creek mayor Kevin Wilk said of the Nordstrom robbery.

The incidents are also alarming local security experts, who are pointing to California’s laws that are intended to reduce costs of incarceration as to why there is an increase in such crimes. Shoplifting charges regarding the theft of $950 or less were lowered from felonies to misdemeanors under Proposition 47 in 2014. Stores also often have no-chase policies of shoplifters.

"I think what happens now is there's no accountability for it anymore, and the liability for the stores if they try to apprehend these guys. They just stand by and watch," Steve Reed, a retired police officer and the former head of security at Arden Fair Mall, told ABC 10 this week.

Oakland police to increase presence amid crime wave, city leaders seek to reverse planned cuts .
The Oakland Police Department will increase its presence amid a surge in violence that has included roving armed caravans, an uptick in homicides and brazen smash-and-grab burglaries while city leaders want to reverse planned budget cuts set to take effect next year as it follows other liberal cities changing course to address crime. The department tweeted Sunday that tactical teams will assist patrols officers in responding to the caravans, illegal sideshows and other violent crimes.

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