Black Friday shoppers were not the only ones out trying to find bargains after Thanksgiving. Thieves were also busy.
Police in LA and cities around the country spent their weekend searching for suspects in a series of “flash mob” burglaries on Friday, which is part of a rising U.S. crime trend in which a group of thieves target a store, grab everything on the shelves they can carry and flee.
At least two such burglaries were reported on Saturday by the LA Police Dept. and the LA Sheriff’s Department. KCAL-TV, a local news station, counted about six robberies on the city’s west side on Friday.
In one incident, eight men walked into a Home Depot outlet located in Lakewood, south of downtown LA, went directly to the tool aisle and stole a bunch of crowbars, sledgehammers and hammers valued at $400 before fleeing, the sheriff’s office said.
According to the television station KTTV, the robbery at Home Depot on Friday night involved about 20 suspects who arrived at the store in as many as 10 vehicles and donned ski masks before they raided the tool aisle.
“We attempted to stop them,” Home Depot worker Luis Romo told KTTV. “We had closed the front doors, and they raised their hammers up and anybody that got in their way, they were going to get hurt.”
The LA City News Service stated four suspects in that burglary were apprehended on Saturday by Beverly Hills authorities.
In a similar robbery on Friday, a group of about 10 men robbed a store in Fairfax and began grabbing merchandise and pushing workers out of their way before fleeing from the scene.
The spike in retail crime had prompted the LA Police Dept. to put its officers on a tactical citywide alert on Friday afternoon.
Mass robberies were also reported on Friday at the two Best Buy locations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, one of the Best Buy locations was robbed by as many as 30 individuals, while a spree of pre-dawn store burglaries was being investigated in Chicago.
In one of the largest flash-mob burglaries reported on the West Coast recently, authorities in the San Francisco suburb located in Walnut Creek were searching for 80 suspects who ransacked a dept. store last Saturday.
Author: Blake Ambrose