The Los Angeles Police Department on Monday said Saturday’s “flash mob” stole $300,000 worth of merchandise during a Nordstrom smash-and-grab after originally estimating the loss at $60,000 to $100,000.
The robbery at the Westfield Topanga Shopping Center in Canoga Park, Calif. is just the latest high-profile incident in a growing rash of retail crime. Video shows at least “30 people” clad in hoodies and ski masks ransacking a Nordstrom department store and fleeing with “high-end handbags, clothing, and other easily re-sellable items,” police said in a statement issued Monday. One suspect attacked a security guard with bear spray.
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“Topanga Division officers were on the scene quickly and have several investigative leads,” police said. “To criminals, it is just property taken.”
Sourcing Journal reached out to Nordstrom for comment.
Smash-and-grabs have seemingly reached new heights since the pandemic, with criminals targeting businesses from Macy’s, The RealReal and Neiman Marcus to even mom-and-pop Main Street shops. A pair of Nordstrom robberies in late 2021 that put the flash-mob problem squarely in the spotlight seemed to embolden copycat criminals and inspire a tsunami of incidents in America’s $95 billion retail crime phenomenon.
The Nordstrom robbery comes after officers with Florida Highway Patrol recovered stolen merchandise during an Aug. 3 traffic stop in Colllier County. A suspect was charged with several offenses including theft and use and possession of an anticounterfeiting control device after law enforcement discovered shoplifted goods such as New Balance-branded slides, sneakers and apparel.
Two days later, police in Pleasant Hill, Calif. worked with loss prevention experts to arrest and book a suspect who was discovered with stolen Kohl’s merchandise. They returned the goods to the retailer and charged the suspect with felony theft.
Retail crime is a growing problem across the country, and states are taking action to crack down on the epidemic. Ohio this summer joined governments from New York City to California in assembling new resources to address theft and crime plaguing retailers big and small.
“The safety of our communities remains fundamental to our state’s ability to attract and retain businesses and that makes it a priority for the Ohio Chamber,” Ohio Chamber CEO Steve Stivers said of the state’s new Crime Task Force uniting retail stakeholders with state and country law enforcement to brainstorm solutions to “retail theft and other incidents of crime” in the coming months.
“The State of Ohio has made it clear that the issue of public safety is a priority, making over $100 million in grants available to local law enforcement; however, there is still more work to be done,” Stivers added.
Editor’s note: This article was updated late Monday with the LAPD’s latest statement.