Two Los Angeles County stores became the latest victims of California’s “smash and grab” looting wave on Black Friday.
A group of 15-to-20-year-old suspects targeted a Home Depot store in Lakewood around 8:30 p.m., making off with crowbars, mallets and sledgehammers, according to Fox 11 Los Angeles. The group, which arrived in as many as ten vehicles and ran into the store wearing ski masks, reportedly emptied out an entire section of hammers before taking off, KCBS-TV reported.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told the station the stolen tools could be used in more robberies at other LA-area stores.
Meanwhile, in Beverly Grove, looters stole high-end merchandise and pepper sprayed those who tried to stop them, KCBS-TV reported.
The robberies come after Los Angeles police chief Michel Moore told the city’s Police Commission on Tuesday that the department would be “dedicating resources to some of these higher-end locations to deter further acts of violence.”
The “smash and grab” break-in comes amid a wave of similar burglaries in California.
A group of 20 looters targeted a Nordstrom store in Los Angeles on Monday night, using a sledgehammer to smash the store’s windows in and steal an unknown amount of merchandise, police said. That burglary, which resulted in three arrests, took place at The Grove shopping mall just before 11 p.m., CBS Los Angeles reported.
The suspects fled the scene in four vehicles, according to the report. Police pursued one of the cars and arrested three suspects after they attempted to flee on foot.
One hour before the Nordstrom incident, burglar reportedly stole $8,500 in cash from a CVS roughly ten miles away. Authorities are investigating to see if there is a possible connection between the two burglaries.
One day earlier, a mob of robbers hit stores in Hayward and San Jose for the third consecutive day of looting in the San Francisco Bay area. On Sunday, a wave of 30 to 40 young people arrived at a jewelry store in Southland Mall in Hayward where they reportedly smashed glass counters and ran off. A second, smaller wave of people came shortly after to finish the job, Da Lin of KPIX-TV reported.
Last weekend, a group of looters struck a Nordstrom in Walnut Creek, assaulting staff and intimidating patrons. They reportedly even pepper sprayed a few individuals.
Governor Gavin Newsom (D.) said Monday that the California Highway Patrol would increase its presence around “highly trafficked” stores.
“You will see substantially more, starting today, in and around areas that are highly trafficked coming into the holiday season, Black Friday, shopping malls, so the state is supplementing those efforts and we are going to be more aggressive still,” he said.