How law enforcement is trying to stop mob retail thefts

With in-store customers expected to return in droves for the holiday shopping season, law enforcement agencies are moving to halt a wave of organized “smash-and-grab” crimes at retailers across the US.

How law enforcement is trying to stop mob retail thefts
© Santa Rosa Police Department Stills from surveillance footage of a new smash and grab robbery that occurred Wednesday, 11/24/21, in Santa Rosa, California, at the Apple Store in the Santa Rosa Plaza. Hand out stills from the Santa Rosa Police Department.

In Chicago, Los Angeles and other major cities, police departments are increasing patrols at retailers targeted by mobs of thieves in brazen raids. In Northern California, district attorneys formed an alliance to prosecute organized theft rings. At the federal level, the FBI said it is in “close contact” with local law enforcement investigating such cases and prepared to take further action.

“We have been seeing this wave of people invading stores in large numbers,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said. “There is no way in my mind that we can have a situation where 20, up to 80 people can invade a store or series of stores and there not be some communication and some organization.”

On the weekend before Thanksgiving Day, thieves swarmed the Southland Mall in Hayward, in the San Francisco Bay Area, smashing display cases with hammers at a store before grabbing jewelry and fleeing.

Three suspects were arrested November 20 after a mob ransacked a Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, east of San Francisco. Some 80 suspects were involved, and they fled the outdoor mall in at least 10 vehicles, police said. That theft followed similar raids that weekend near San Francisco’s Union Square, where thieves targeted Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Bloomingdale’s stores, a Walgreens and cannabis dispensaries.

‘Instilling fear in merchants, customers and the wider community’

Seven Bay Area district attorneys — in San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties — announced last week an alliance that also included law enforcement and state agencies to combat organized retail theft.

Each office agreed to assign a prosecutor to target the thieves, including fencing rings and people who purchase the stolen goods, according to a joint statement.

“These are clearly carefully orchestrated crimes, working together in large groups to create a mob-like mentality,” Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said in the statement. “They are instilling fear in merchants, customers and the wider community. This is especially appalling at a time where many are out and about during the holiday season.”

Law enforcement presence increasing at retail locations

Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered “saturation patrols” by the California Highway Patrol near major retail sites in the state during the holiday season in response to the organized thefts.

Four men were arrested over the weekend in connection with a theft at a Home Depot in California, where as many as 10 people entered the Lakewood store Friday night and left with a range of tools typically used in smash-and-grab thefts — hammers, sledgehammers, crowbars.

The four men, ranging in age from 19 to 22, were taken into custody by Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office detectives and booked for conspiracy to commit burglary, officials said.

In Santa Monica, police said, “the keen observation skills and quick thinking” of a downtown security guard may have thwarted a smash-and-grab theft at a Nordstrom’s store last Friday.

Santa Monica Police Chief Ramon Batista said in a Facebook post Monday that the security guard radioed for police assistance after spotting seven vehicles carrying about 28 people parked in a fire lane outside the store. The people in the vehicles left before police arrived.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a Democrat, on Monday blamed cuts in the number of city police officers for the wave of smash-and-grab thefts as well as a spike in gun violence.

“Let me be clear, Oakland needs more police,” she told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

Schaaf said the pandemic interrupted the city’s recruitment and training of new officers. She called for greater coordination by law enforcement at all levels to combat retail thefts.

“We need state and federal resources to interrupt those efforts,” she said. “Lord knows (the thieves) are coordinated. We need to be coordinated as well.”

Organized thefts have been reported throughout the country, including a case involving at least 30 people who stole electronics from a Best Buy store on Black Friday in Burnsville, Minnesota.

In Illinois, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said on Monday that his department was “particularly focused” on smash-and-grab thefts. He said two teenagers were arrested for the theft of $8,500 worth of items from a beauty supply store.

Chicago Police Chief of Operations Brian McDermott said the department had increased patrols in the central business district and other locations and tracking “stolen cars and vehicles typically used in these type of crimes.”

FBI ‘prepared to take a more active role’

An FBI spokesperson told CNN Monday that federal agents are monitoring the spate of brazen thefts and remain in close contact with local police.

“Should information come to our attention that constitutes a federal crime, we are prepared to take a more active role,” the spokesperson said.

Stephanie Martz, chief administrative officer and general counsel with the National Retail Federation, said smash-and-grab thefts have gradually increased over the past year and a half, starting with drugstores and spreading to department stores and high-end retailers.

About 69% of retailers reported a jump in organized retail crime in the past year, citing factors ranging from the pandemic to changes in sentencing guidelines, according to a 2021 retail security survey by the National Retail Federation. Many retailers who participated in the self-reported, online survey also said suspects have become more aggressive and violent.

The recent group shoplifting incidents come during what experts say is a decades-long decline in overall property crime.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report showed the country’s property crime rate at an all-time low in 2020. According to the National Commission for Covid-19 and Criminal Justice, this downward trend has continued into 2021.

In its most recent report, the NCCCJ — which surveys crime across 34 major cities — reported a 7% decline in nonresidential burglaries between the first quarter of 2020 and 2021. However, San Francisco, where many of the smash-and-grab thefts have taken place, reported a sharp increase in burglaries in 2020 compared to 2019. It’s an outlier in California, where the rate of burglaries has steadily declined over time.

Shoplifting data, however, can be flawed. For example, a report by the San Francisco Chronicle showed that the city’s 2021 monthly shoplifting reports saw a dramatic spike in September stemming from one Target store that had recently switched to a new reporting system.

News Related


Rams vs. Buccaneers final score, results: Matt Gay walk-off field goal advances Rams to NFC Championship

The Rams will travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers in a battle to advance to the NFC championship game. After the Bengals and 49ers, both underdogs, bested their opponents ... Read more »

NFL Divisional Takeaways: 49ers' reign over Rodgers reaches historic heights

On the first night of the 2005 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers had the No. 1 pick and a decision to make between two college quarterbacks: NorCal native Aaron ... Read more »

Winless in '21, Danielle Kang starts new LPGA year with win

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Danielle Kang readily admits she, and her golf game, remain a constant work in progress. She spent much of the offseason finding a way to be ... Read more »

Dancing on Ice fans concerned to see Bez in the audience days after announcing he had Covid

DANCING on Ice viewers were surprised to see Happy Mondays star Bez in the audience tonight, just days after he announced he had tested positive for Coronavirus. Bez had previously ... Read more »

Here's who's donated to Gov. Kathy Hochul's $21.9 million war chest

Hochul raised as much as $21.9 million for her reelection campaign, including from donors who supported former Gov. Cuomo in the past. Paul Martinka ALBANY – Gov. Kathy Hochul raked ... Read more »

Relationship with India is our most important relationship, period: Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to India

© Provided by The Indian Express Milinda Moragoda, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, spoke to Nirupama Subramanian about his country’s economic crisis, relations with India and big power rivalry ... Read more »

Australia news live update: Novavax vaccine to roll out February; Victoria records 17 Covid deaths, NSW 24; Hunt suggests reseller ‘hoarding' a factor in rapid test shortage

LIVE – Updated at 23:40 Follow all the day’s news.   23:40 Lots of booster bookings in Victoria the CHO says (although I’m pretty sure that sweet deal where you ... Read more »

Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla Will Show the End of the Viking Era

Prepare to shout ‘skål’, my fellow Vikings, because a new show featuring our favourite Norsemen and women is finally here. Two years after the story of the Lothbrok family ended ... Read more »

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews new ITV police drama Trigger Point

Trigger Point ITV, last night  Rating: 5/5 That ending came as a seismic shock. Anyone gripped by the first hour of Trigger Point (ITV) couldn’t help leaping out of their ... Read more »

Canada deaths: Concern, anxiety in Gujarat village

A day after it emerged that four people who froze to death in Canada allegedly trying to cross the border illegally into the US, Dingucha village of Kalol tehsil in ... Read more »

Jana Kramer Shares Emotional Video Of Her Baptism Ceremony

© Photo: Emma McIntyre/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Jana Kramer Jana Kramer is sharing a very special moment with her fans. The country music star took to Instagram ... Read more »

IMD warns of cold wave in Gujarat until Wednesday

© Provided by The Indian Express With Gujarat witnessing a drop in temperatures Sunday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned against cold wave till January 26 (Wednesday). After a ... Read more »

Fact Check: Old video from Afghanistan passed off as Pakistan's atrocities in Balochistan

Fact Check: Old video from Afghanistan passed off as Pakistan’s atrocities in Balochistan A video of an armoured vehicle chasing a crowd and then turning back and leaving after facing ... Read more »

Thierry Mugler dead at 73 – Fashion designer who dressed the world's biggest stars passes away suddenly

FASHION designer Thierry Mugler, who dressed the world's biggest stars, died suddenly at age 73. The news was shared on the designer's official Instagram account on Sunday. Mugler's passing was ... Read more »

Boris Johnson would be wise to heed the growing backlash against his planned National Insurance rise

Tax & end HE may have plenty on his mind this week with Partygate, but Boris Johnson would be wise to heed the growing backlash against his planned National Insurance ... Read more »

Barcelona wins late to end poor run, Madrid held by Elche

MADRID (AP) — Barcelona finally got things going its way, finding a late goal to end its winless run and go into the international break on a positive note. © ... Read more »

England survive late West Indies onslaught to level T20 series with one-run victory

© GETTY IMAGES West Indies vs England, second T20: live score and latest updates from Barbados – GETTY IMAGES England face West Indies in second of five-match T20 series West ... Read more »

Gregory Porter: I prefer to fall asleep accidentally

© Bang Showbiz Gregory Porter falls asleep in front of the TV Gregory Porter prefers to fall asleep “accidentally”. The 50-year-old singer has revealed he sometimes upsets fellow hotel guests ... Read more »

Harry Styles 'wants to buy a property in Cornwall'

© Bang Showbiz Harry Styles is looking to buy in Cornwall Harry Styles is looking to buy a property in Cornwall. The 27-year-old pop star – who shot to fame ... Read more »

New NIL Summit Will Help College Athletes Optimize Opportunities

© Provided by Sports Illustrated For the first time in history, athletes can earn compensation from their name, image and likeness. This June, the summit will educate and award athletes ... Read more »

The four supermarket heroes that can double meal portions for as little 30p

WE are all feeling the pinch at the checkout. Official figures show the cost of living is climbing at its fastest rate for 30 years, partly due to soaring food ... Read more »

Rate decisions are up to RBA: Treasurer

© Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS Josh Frydenberg says the Reserve Bank has made it clear it is reluctant to raise interest rates. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says interest rate decisions are up ... Read more »

Barty's classy deference to 'iconic' Rod Laver

Australian tennis champion Ash Barty has delivered Rod Laver a beautiful tribute after clinching victory on the court named after the legendary figure. Barty saw off plucky American Amanda Anisimova ... Read more »

Labor Says It’s Serious About Electric Car Manufacturing

Electric cars are a big part of how we’ll see the green energy future emerging in Australia, at least according to Ed Husic, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation. ... Read more »

Boris Johnson U-turns over VAT on energy bills

Boris Johnson will consider slashing VAT on energy bills to help struggling families despite appearing to rule it out just three weeks ago. The measure is one of a number ... Read more »

Legal & General boss criticises Government's levelling up efforts

The boss of Legal & General has criticised the Government’s levelling up efforts as data showed the UK had taken ‘a step back’ in some areas of life.  L&G’s Rebuilding ... Read more »

The sweet taste of success: TN's bean-to-bar chocolate brands

© Provided by The Times of India Chennai: Actress Kalki Koechlin is a diehard fan of Auroville-based organic chocolate brand Mason & Co. Mozart of Madras A R Rahman invited ... Read more »

A promised show of strength for the anti-vaccine movement was precisely the opposite

It was supposed to be a show of strength for the anti-vaccine movement. Two years into a gruelling and deadly pandemic, at a time when opposition to vaccines and vaccine ... Read more »

PSU bad bank, reforms for asset rejig cos hang fire

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: Banks have come out of the bad loan mess through provisions made from profits and new capital. However, the deadweight of these ... Read more »

All charged up and out in front of the pack

© Provided by The Times of India Chennai: If India’s electric vehicle story is supercharged right now, Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain are among the boosters. Their nearly-decade-old baby, Ather ... Read more »

Indians placed record bets on US stocks in '21

© Provided by The Times of India Chennai: Year 2021 could well be when Indian retail investors truly came of age as they ventured into Wall Street in record numbers, ... Read more »

Bernie Sanders calls Arizona Democrats' censure of Kyrsten Sinema ‘exactly right'

Sen Bernie Sanders appeared eager to escalate the war between various factions of the Democratic Party on Sunday during an interview with CNN in which he stated his support for ... Read more »

Can I still work from home? The latest as union calls for continued remote working

From Monday, January 24, the instruction to work from home in Ireland will be lifted. It has been nearly two years since people had to leave the office culture behind ... Read more »

Europe could be headed towards end of pandemic after Omicron, says WHO

© Ida Guldbaek Arentsen, AFP The Omicron variant has moved the Covid-19 pandemic into a new phase and could bring it to an end in Europe, the WHO Europe director said Sunday. ... Read more »

ICICI director, who quit last wk, fined for insider trade

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: ICICI Bank has informed the stock exchanges that independent director Rama Bijapurkar, who said on Friday that she was stepping down due ... Read more »

Need MGNREGA-like scheme for urban poor: HUL chief

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: Hindustan Unilever (HUL’s) chairman & MD Sanjiv Mehta pulled a rabbit out of the hat last week, when the company delivered a ... Read more »

Olivia Munn Feels 'A Little Less Post Partum' During Hair Transformation With Son Malcom

© Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic – Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Netflix Olivia Munn had a special guest during a surprise hair appointment. On Sunday, the Hit-Monkey actress and John Mulaney’s son Malcom had ... Read more »

US draws down Ukraine embassy presence as war fears mount

© Provided by Associated Press Members of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. ... Read more »

Sinema’s sins deserved censure, says Bernie Sanders

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s sins earned her a censure from her home state’s party, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday. The firebrand socialist said the Arizona Democratic Party was “exactly right” to ... Read more »

Thousands march in Washington against Covid vaccine mandates

© Stefani Reynolds Thousands of people gathered in the center of the US capital on January 23, 2022, to protest against Covid-19 vaccine mandates Waving signs denouncing President Joe Biden ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic