The “smash and grab” wave of looting that has hammered the San Francisco Bay area in recent days made its way to Los Angeles on Black Friday last week.
A Home Depot store in Lakewood was hit by a group of suspects appearing to be in their late teens Friday evening. The thieves took tools, including crowbars and sledgehammers. The robbers arrived in approximately ten vehicles and ran inside the store together while wearing ski masks. The group quickly hit a single section of tools near the front of the story and then ran out together.
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department told reporters that the tools were possibly targeted because they can be used in robberies of other businesses.
Also, on Friday, a group of robbers hit a business in Beverly Grove, looting expensive merchandise and pepper-spraying people who attempted to interfere with the “smash and grab” operation.
The L.A. robberies occurred after LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the L.A. Police Commission last Tuesday that his department would be sending additional resources to patrol “higher-end” locations to act as deterrents to violent smash and grab robberies.
Monday of last week saw a group of around 20 looters hit a Nordstrom store in Los Angeles. The group used a hammer to smash in the store’s front windows and entered to steal an undisclosed amount of expensive merchandise. The suspects fled the scene in four vehicles at around 11 p.m., and three were arrested after police were able to pursue one of the vehicles.
About an hour before Nordstrom smash and grab, robbers stole approximately $8,500 in cash from a CVS store about 10 miles away. Police are reportedly investigating whether the two robberies are related.
Northern California saw several consecutive days of similar robberies just days before Black Friday. One robbery of a jewelry store in Hayward reportedly involved 30 to 40 young suspects.
Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom said he planned to direct the California Highway Patrol to deploy additional personnel to “highly trafficked” retail areas. He added that the state is “supplementing” local law enforcement and becoming “more aggressive.”