Flash mob thieves target US retailers on Black Friday By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shoppers wait in line for store openings as Black Friday sales begin at The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, Kentucky, US, November 26, 2021. REUTERS/John Sherry

Written by Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Black Friday shoppers aren’t the only ones looking for deals the day after Thanksgiving. The thieves were busy, too.

Police in Los Angeles and other cities across the country spent most of their weekend patrols searching for suspects in a series of “mob” robberies Friday, part of a rising American crime trend as groups of thieves break into a store, looting the store. . shelves and flee.

The authorities also used the term “smash and grab” to describe the trend.

At least two such burglaries were reported on Saturday by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. A local television station, KCAL-TV, counted a total of six burglaries and robberies on the west side of the city alone on Friday.

In one incident, a group of eight men entered a plaza Home Depot (NYSE:) At a shopping outlet in Lakewood, south of downtown Los Angeles, he walked straight to the tool aisle and grabbed a set of hammers, heavy hammers and levers valued at about $400 before they escaped, the mayor’s office said.

According to Los Angeles television station KTTV, the Home Depot robbery Friday night involved up to 20 suspects who arrived at the store in up to 10 cars and wore ski masks before the tool aisle raid.

“We tried to stop them,” store employee Luis Romo told KTTV. “We blocked the front entrance, they raised their sledgehammer and whoever got in their way, they were going to hurt them.”

The Los Angeles City News Service said Beverly Hills police arrested four suspects in that robbery on Saturday.

In a similar incident on Friday afternoon, a group of 10 or more men invaded a store in the Fairfax area of ​​the city and began seizing merchandise without paying for it, driving employees off the road before fleeing the scene, LAPD said.

A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson said police are investigating possible links between this incident and a series of other burglaries and robberies on Friday and earlier in the week, including two smashing and one robberies reported on Wednesday.

The retail crime chain prompted the Los Angeles Police Department to put its officers on tactical alert citywide on Friday afternoon.

Mass burglaries were also reported Friday at two Best Buy electronics stores in Minneapolis-St. Poole District, one of which houses up to 30 suspects, while a series of pre-dawn retail robberies were under investigation in Chicago.

In one of the largest mass robberies reported on the West Coast in recent days, police in the Walnut Creek suburb of San Francisco were searching for about 80 suspects who broke into and ransacked a department store last Saturday.

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