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Los Angeles Establishes Task Force to Combat Increase in Retail Flash Mob Robberies

Los Angeles launches a multi-agency Organized Retail Crimes Job Pressure

Los Angeles launches a multi-agency Organized Retail Crimes Job Pressure


Los Angeles has seen a current spike in flash mob robberies at high-end retailers, a part of an ongoing problem that prompted L.A. officers to announce a brand new multi-agency job drive to crack down on the issue.  

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, together with officers from the LAPD and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Division, introduced Thursday that the duty drive will present a coordinated method to addressing the pattern of smash-and-grab and flash mob retail thefts.

“Our primary job is to maintain Angelenos secure and to really feel secure,” Bass stated at a information convention. “When incidents of brazen theft and theft happen, it shatters that feeling of security.” 

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna stated he’s conscious of at the least 170 organized retail thefts — together with smash-and-grabs and flash mobs — courting again to the autumn of 2021.

“We’re not solely targeted on the people strolling into these shops and committing the crimes that we see on video, however if you’re supporting them logistically, both by being a driver, harboring them, shopping for merchandise, promoting merchandise, you are on this chain,” Luna stated. 

The duty drive will probably be centered within the San Fernando Valley and spearheaded by the LAPD. It’s going to embody a number of native, state and federal businesses, together with the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service.  

There will probably be 22 full-time investigators assigned to the duty drive with three separate surveillance and apprehension groups, stated LAPD deputy chief Kris Pitcher. A prosecutor from the L.A. County District Lawyer’s Workplace will probably be embedded with the duty drive.  

“We will probably be working successfully to exit and instantly establish, arrest these people, and serve instant search warrants, and apprehend them, and produce them in custody and put them earlier than the prosecutors to finally acquire justice for this,” Pitcher stated. 

Regardless of a new federal regulation stopping the sale of stolen items on-line, Bass famous some objects nonetheless make it to these on-line markets.

Michael Carson, a senior director for on-line retailer eBay, stated eBay companions with regulation enforcement to flag stolen items.

“We work proactively and collaboratively with retailers to establish sorts of items which may be stolen, and work with regulation enforcement to carry prosecution to folks which may be committing crimes,” Carson stated. 

Notable smash-and-grab and flash mob thefts

Pitcher on Thursday listed a few of the largest current incidents:

  • July 3: 4 suspects carrying hooded sweatshirts and masks stole $32,000 of merchandise from Bloomingdales within the Westfield Century Metropolis Purchasing Heart. 
  • July 31: Ten to fifteen suspects carrying hooded sweatshirts and masks stole $100,000 price of merchandise from a Gucci retailer within the Westfield Century Metropolis Purchasing Heart. 
  • Aug. 12:  A flash mob of about 30 folks carrying hooded sweatshirts and masks rushed into Nordstrom within the Westfield Topanga Purchasing Heart, sprayed a safety guard with bear spray and stole $300,000 price of merchandise.
  • Aug. 15: Eleven suspects carrying hooded sweatshirts and masks rushed into Ksubi, a high-end Hancock Park retail store, and stole $100,000 price of merchandise. One of many suspects simulated a gun in his pocket to a safety guard, police stated.

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