- LAPD warns of a growing criminal trend, 'flash rob mobs.'
- California faces a staggering annual cost of $19 billion due to these crimes.
- Organized Retail Crime Taskforce (ORCT) forms to combat the issue.
A concerning and emerging criminal trend, known as 'flash rob mobs,' is gaining traction and poses a substantial annual economic burden of approximately $19 billion on California, as cautioned by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). These incidents are growing alarmingly frequent in California, a state often criticized for its leniency towards crime. As a response to this surge, detectives within the state's largest law enforcement agency are mobilizing specialized teams to combat this issue.
These groups have targeted high-end stores, including Nordstrom and Versace, wreaking havoc on their premises. In reaction to this recent wave of criminal activities, the Los Angeles Police Department has taken a proactive step by forming the Organized Retail Crime Taskforce (ORCT).
As of the end of last month, this taskforce had made a total of eleven arrests linked to four separate cases. However, it's important to note that this disturbing trend isn't confined to California alone; if left unchecked, it could potentially cost the entire United States a staggering $30 billion annually.
One particularly notable incident unfolded at a Nordstrom store located in the Topanga Mall, where more than 30 individuals brazenly looted goods amounting to a staggering $300,000. Disturbing videos circulating online depict these thieves making off with luxury items from renowned brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, and Bottega Veneta. During the robbery, they also resorted to using bear spray against two security guards, further escalating the chaos.
In the footage, you can see the thieves grabbing security-tagged merchandise and ransacking clothes racks. It appears that a staff member was either assisting them or urging other shoppers to keep their distance. As the culprits fled, one of them even carried a suitcase and various pieces of luxury luggage. In the ensuing commotion, items were dropped, and the store was left in disarray. The LAPD later confirmed that the total value of stolen goods exceeded $300,000.
Notably, this same Nordstrom store had been targeted in November 2021 when thieves once again employed bear spray on a security guard while pilfering designer merchandise. Days prior to this incident, a group of audacious thieves raided a Saint Laurent store in Glendale, escaping with $300,000 worth of products after swiftly overwhelming the staff. Remarkably, none of the thieves wielded weapons, and no injuries were reported. Security footage captured hooded and masked robbers sprinting out of the shop with arms laden with merchandise. They raced through a passage to where 20 getaway vehicles awaited, making their escape in various directions. In an unexpected twist, an Amazon delivery driver appeared to engage in a struggle with one of the suspects. An employee later revealed that all the merchandise had been looted in less than a minute.
Discussing the Glendale incident, Glendale police Sgt. Victor Jackson mentioned a brief pursuit of the suspects, although none were apprehended at the time. However, the LAPD has subsequently announced arrests linked to this event. Most recently, a gang of thieves stormed a Macy's department store at Northridge Mall, making off with approximately $20,000 worth of perfumes. Cellphone footage captured several men dressed in dark hoodies and medical face masks, swiftly loading bags with what seemed to be cologne and perfume products. Authorities believe that five to ten male suspects were involved, and they fled in an unregistered black Infinity. The LAPD confirmed that the thieves used hammers and sheer force to break glass display cases housing fragrance brands. In a separate incident, police apprehended six suspects tied to a robbery at a Nike store in LA, where they were found in possession of $30,000 worth of merchandise just last month.
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