Law enforcement in Los Angeles is taking action against a group of audacious shoplifters who have been targeting the city’s stores during bold daytime heists. These thieves have hit various stores, including the Topanga Westfield Nordstrom, Sherman Oaks Macy’s, and a Glendale Yves Saint Laurent, causing significant losses. To combat this trend, police conducted an undercover operation at the Nike Community Store in East Los Angeles, posing as young couples on a leisurely outing.
During the operation, officers arrested ten individuals and seized thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen goods. The thieves employed various tactics, including acting like regular shoppers and using empty baby strollers to conceal stolen items. Lt Robert Peacock of the LA Sheriff’s Department explained that Nike’s East Los Angeles store alone suffered losses exceeding $1 million over a year due to shoplifting, and the cumulative impact on retailers is likely in the multi-millions of dollars.
In a single raid on the Nordstrom store, as many as 50 thieves collaborated to steal up to $100,000 worth of high-end products, even resorting to using pepper spray to subdue security personnel. Similarly, the Yves Saint Laurent store in Glendale experienced a loss of around $400,000 in under a minute as approximately 30 masked attackers stormed the shop.
Shoplifting losses have surged by 25% in a year, totaling $94.5 billion, as reported by the 2022 National Retail Security Survey. These rampant thefts have forced major US retailers to close stores due to substantial financial losses. A recent ‘flash robbery’ at the Nike store resulted in the arrest of six individuals who were caught with burglary tools and $30,000 worth of stolen merchandise.
To address this issue, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced the formation of a task force comprising various law enforcement agencies to combat looting. This task force involves agencies from Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Burbank, and Santa Monica. The operation at the Nike Community Store was a collaborative effort involving the LAPD’s burglary-robbery task force, the East Los Angeles Station Crime Enforcement and Summer Enforcement Teams, and Nike Loss Prevention. Their goal was to apprehend suspects, deter criminal activity, and safeguard life and property. The operation resulted in the return of $3,000 worth of stolen goods to the Nike store.