A citywide tactical alert was lifted Saturday, after a Black Friday marred by several more smash-and-grab robberies across Los Angeles County.
The Los Angeles Police Department issued the alert Friday night and called it off at around 2 a.m. Saturday. The department defines a tactical alert as enabling all available officers to respond to a criminal incident if necessary.
As of 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the LAPD had not confirmed how many robberies took place on Friday, but KCAL9 reported that six smash-and-grab robberies took place in areas including the Fairfax district, Beverly Grove and Hancock Park.
Additionally, a Home Depot in Lakewood was hit by a group of multiple suspects who took about $400 in tools that might have been intended for use in other planned robberies.
A large group entered the Bottega Veneta store at 8445 Melrose Place — near Croft Avenue and the border with West Hollywood — and stole an unknown amount of items before fleeing Friday night, KCAL9 reported.
In the Lakewood case, four suspects were in custody after being arrested in Beverly Hills, more than 30 miles away. Police received a call regarding several vehicles driving with no license plates near Beverly Drive and Dayton Way just after 9 p.m. Friday, Sgt. Jeff Newman of the Beverly Hills Police Department told City News Service.
Officers stopped one of the vehicles and took the suspects into custody.
“We’re currently working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to see if there is a link to the Lakewood Home Depot incident or any other crimes that have been committed,” Newman said.
The suspects were booked at the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station and items among the alleged stolen property were recovered, Lakewood city officials said Saturday.
The city said the sheriff’s department will send more deputies out to patrol the mall and the city will share the costs.
Officials added that they would ask District Attorney George Gascon to prosecute the suspects to the fullest extent of the law.
Approximately eight males entered the store at the Lakewood Center mall at 7:46 p.m. Friday, walked directly to the tool aisle and stole various sledgehammers, crowbars and hammers valued at approximately $400, according to Deputy Miguel Meza of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Store employees told Fox11 a group of up to 20 males between 15 and 20 years old pulled up to the store in as many as 10 cars, put on ski masks and began stealing sledgehammers and crowbars.
“We tried to stop them,” worker Luis Romo told the station. “We closed the front entrance and they put their sledgehammers up and whoever got in the way, they were going to hurt them.”
The group threatened one customer, “but he got away,” Romo said.
Some of the suspects possibly entered a red Mercedes with severe damage to the front and fled, Meza said.
Anyone with information about the robbery was encouraged to call the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-623-3500. Anonymous tips can be given to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at lacrimestoppers.org.
A series of so-called “flash mob” or smash-and-grab robberies have taken place across Los Angeles County in the past week.
On Wednesday, robbers attacked a security guard and stole designer handbags worth an estimated $25,000 from the Nordstrom store at the Westfield Topanga mall in Canoga Park. Also Wednesday, “flash mob” suspects entered several stores in the Beverly Center and grabbed merchandise without paying and ran out, the LAPD said.
Those crimes occurred two days after a smash-and-grab robbery by a mob of at least 20 people at the Nordstrom store at the upscale Grove shopping center in the Fairfax district Monday evening. The suspects in that robbery fled the scene in at least four vehicles.
Three suspects were arrested in South Los Angeles following a chase. Officers recovered several items of clothing, at least one cash register and gloves from their vehicle.
Also Monday, at about 9:45 p.m., six suspects entered a CVS Pharmacy in the 5800 block of South Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles and stole three cash registers, taking about $8,500 in cash, police said.
Last Sunday, storefront windows of the Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Beverly Hills were smashed during attempted burglaries.