L.A. reeling after streak of flash mob robberies

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.

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Cy Husain
8 months ago

Clarification, understanding the socio-economic racial injustices behind the motivations of the “flash mob robberies” is in NO WAY condoning this predatory violent behavior ❗ Stealing designer label junk even helps play into capitalist hands that it’s somehow of great value over better made higher quality minority produced items. Violence and threats not only go to justify state terror against oppressed minority groups but, serve to scare away potential allies in the struggle and keep them from realizing the oppressor is the real threat NOT the oppressed.

JF1
JF1
8 months ago

It shouldn’t be any surprise that crime is on the rise. Our “leaders” have made it known that they have more sympathy for people that commit crimes and they do the victims of crimes. When there is no penalty for doing bad certain people will do the bad. When stiff penalties are in place we have less crime. Simple math. Unfortunately the simple minds that are in control don’t understand that.

Cy Husain
8 months ago
Reply to  JF1

True there has been a slight upward fluxation in violent crime, mainly in shootings but, the overall trend from the 1980s has been a sharp decline in violent crime. The upward trend in gun violence can easily be attributed to America’s gun culture significantly aggravated by an opportunistic increase in gun sales during the pandemic.

Not Average
Not Average
8 months ago

When you call for defunding the police and tarnish their hard work then this is what we get-more crime. When you disrespect the law the criminals will disrespect you.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
8 months ago
JF1
JF1
8 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Every deterrent helps lower crime. Visibility of police, cameras, vigilant law abiding public, stiff penalties, etc.

Last edited 8 months ago by JF1
JF1
JF1
8 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

It’s pretty sad and disgusting that public has to organize and ask for money amongst themselves when our tax dollars should go to help law-enforcement get whatever they need to bring crime under control. But our tax dollars are being squandered and our “leaders“ are more interested in defunding the police than actually funding them.

Cy Husain
8 months ago
Reply to  JF1

Reality Check ✅ Exactly ZERO of the “defunding law enforcementproposals have been passed into policy. In-spite of calls for defunding police, city budgets on average have significantly INCREASED police funding. Cities that did decrease budgets (NOT the same as defunding) to their police departments had LOWER crime than those that increased it.

Cy Husain
8 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

The people selling the security systems got their windfall profits 💲 even though the evidence has consistently shows it the be completely ineffective in lowering crime.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
8 months ago

I hope we see an increase in deployment of Sheriff’s deputies along Melrose and at Sunset Plaza, our high end shopping centers that draw people from around the world. Weho can’t let this sort of assault on our renowned retail areas.

Crookies
Crookies
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

me sowing: hahaha yes! YES! This is GREAT!

me reaping: wtf, this sucks, no!

#nomoreSHE
#nomoreSHE
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Good luck with the dreadful SHE … Shyne, Horvath and Erika Erickson… in charge

JF1
JF1
8 months ago
Reply to  #nomoreSHE

Yup. The groupthink mentality these days is defunding the police. Total opposite direction of what we really need. We see what these policies are bringing us and it ain’t pretty.

Cy Husain
8 months ago
Reply to  JF1

SERIOUS MISINFORMATION, to this day exactly ZERO proposals of defunding the police have been passed. Law enforcement or anyone else cannot be the victim of a nonexistent policy. Currently law enforcement and the military are better funded than everything else combined.

Cy Husain
8 months ago
Reply to  #nomoreSHE

SHAME on your misogynist ad hominem attack on OUR rightfully ELECTED City Council❗

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