Thieves broke into a Nordstrom store in Southern California the night before Thanksgiving and fled with valuables in the latest series of organized retail thefts in the state.
Robberies have been marked by rapid attacks by large groups of people, often with shops open.
In the latest incident, five men, wearing orange wigs, broke into an open store at the Westfield Topanga Mall in the Canoga Park area of Los Angeles shortly before 7 p.m. on Wednesday, took seven or eight expensive purses and fled in a car. , said the police.
Police said some kind of chemical was sprayed on a security guard by the thieves and he was treated on the spot.
Police cars and ambulances gathered in the mall but no immediate arrests were made.
In recent weeks, groups of people, some armed with hammers and crowbars, have smashed their way into closed high-end stores in California cities and blown away tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, officials said.
Over the weekend, groups of people robbed luxury stores in several Bay Area cities, stealing jewelry, sunglasses, suitcases and other items before fleeing into cars. On Sunday, 30 to 40 people tried to rob a Real Real clothing boutique in Palo Alto. On Monday night, about 20 people attacked a Nordstrom store at the Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles and fled with about $5,000 worth of merchandise, police said. And in Santa Rosa, four young men ran into an Apple Store on Wednesday morning with $20,000 worth of items, police said.
Police departments in several cities in California have increased patrols and stores are beefing up security. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that there would be a greater police presence around “highly trafficked” shopping malls. He also said the California Highway Patrol increased patrols along nearby highway corridors after the theft and asked local officials how they could help.
On Wednesday, five men pleaded not guilty to felony charges involving theft in San Francisco. Nine people have been charged in connection with the robbery that occurred Friday night in the Bay Area city. ,
Police in Palo Alto announced that two women had been arrested in connection with Sunday night’s attempt to rob a RealReal store. The women were stopped in a car, where police said they found at least $15,000 in clothing from another RealReal location, stolen in Larkspur earlier that night.