Saturday 26 August 2023

Los Angeles Crime Task Force Arrests 11 Linked To Smash And Grab Robberies

 A new Los Angeles task force launched this week has arrested 11 people in connection with recent organized smash-and-grab robberies involving large groups of thieves, authorities said.

The nearly one dozen suspects arrested by the Organized Retail Crimes Task Force include at least one who was allegedly involved in recent smash-and-grab robberies at a Nordstrom and an Yves Saint Laurent store.

The task force, which was announced Thursday by Mayor Karen Bass, the LAPD, and several other law enforcement agencies, follows a chaotic week that saw two smash-and-grab robberies by large groups in the Los Angeles area.

Over the weekend, a mob of nearly 50 people in hoodies and masks stole up to $100,000 in luxury merchandise from a Nordstrom in Los Angeles. The thieves also attacked security guards with bear mace.

Last week, another group of 30 to 40 thieves robbed an Yves Saint Laurent store in southern California in broad daylight, absconding with an estimated $300,000 worth of merchandise, police said. The brazen smash-and-grab robbery was caught on video just before 5 p.m. The store is located at the Americana at Brand mall in Glendale, just north of Los Angeles.

Footage from the Yves Saint Laurent incident shows over a dozen people mostly dressed in dark clothes, hoods, and masks dashing into the store and running out again, their arms full of the expensive merchandise.

Police said Thursday that they had arrested the first suspect in the Yves Saint Laurent robbery. A 23-year-old man was charged with organized retail theft, burglary, grand theft, and conspiracy.

Detectives on the new task force were investigating nine cases involving organized retail crimes. The 11 arrests were related to four of those cases.


Those four cases involve crimes at the Nordstrom store, the Yves Saint Laurent store in Glendale, a Versace store in Los Angeles, and a Warehouse Shoe Store in Highland Park, the LAPD said.

“Many of these retail theft cases have adopted linkage to other retail crimes which occurred in neighboring cities,” the LAPD said Thursday in a statement.

The investigations by the task force remain ongoing.

“What we’ve seen over just the past week in the City of Los Angeles and in surrounding regions is unacceptable, which is why today we are here announcing action,” Mayor Karen Bass said when she announced the task force alongside law enforcement agencies.

“These are not victimless crimes – especially in the case where Angelenos were attacked – through force or fear – as they did their jobs or ran errands,” she said, adding that the task force will “aggressively investigate” these incidents and hold the perpetrators “fully accountable.”

Los Angeles has been plagued by rampant retail and personal theft in recent months.

Most types of violent crime are down in Los Angeles except theft, which is up 15% to more than 20,409 thefts compared to this time last year, according to police data.

Since the fall of 2021, Los Angeles County has seen at least 170 organized retail thefts, including the smash-and-grab trend, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

Late last month, police said another group of masked thieves stole $900,000 worth of merchandise from a jewelry store in Irvine just south of Los Angeles and Glendale.

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