Many times, when we hear of shoplifters, what comes to mind are lone individuals or at most two or three persons trying to cart away items as discreetly as possible. That’s why the unusual news of a gang of about 50 thieves teaming up to cart away items from a mall is difficult to ignore. If anything is buzzworthy, this is it.
According to the mall officials, at least 30 shoplifters flocked to Woodland Hill’s Westfield Topanga Mall in Los Angeles and carted away luxury handbags and clothes worth thousands of dollars from a Nordstrom store. A police spokesman stated that the group used bear sprays to incapacitate the security guards as they carried out their operation. The losses were pegged at $60,000 to $100,000.
As the name suggests, bear sprays are produced to repel wild bears by irritating their eyes, respiratory system, and nose. This gives humans enough time to get to safety before the effects on the bears wear out.
Although it isn’t formulated for use on humans, bear sprays can temporarily cause extreme discomfort and temporary blindness when used on people. This explains why the security guards were not able to apprehend any of the shoplifters. The health condition of the two affected security guards has not been ascertained at this time.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), they received a call that numerous persons were shoplifting at about 4 pm. Sadly, even though the Topanga Division arrived at the scene as fast as they could, the culprits were able to escape in different vehicles, including a BMW. However, the LAPD, in a statement, has said that they have “several investigative leads.”
In a viral video, the smash-and-grab robbers who wore fully-covered face masks and hoods could be seen scattering shelves and running away with their loot. After they left, the whole place was in disarray, with shelves and broken glasses everywhere.
Responding to the unfortunate event, Karen Bass, the Mayor of Los Angeles, said it was “absolutely unacceptable” and that the thieves must be brought to book for their actions.
In her words, “The Los Angeles Police Department will continue to work to not only find those responsible for this incident but to prevent these attacks on retailers from happening in the future.” Meanwhile, the LAPD has said that they’ll “exhaust all efforts to bring those responsible into custody.”
A shopper who simply identified herself as Janie witnessed the event and described it as “a disgrace.” “Terrible. I’ve never seen anything like it…I saw three cars pull up, and I saw these guys just running out with all these purses. They just grabbed all the YSL,” she said.
News has it that a group of 5 masked thieves targeted the store in November 2021. They were able to run away with many valuable items, including purses, after pepper-spraying one of the store employees.
Sadly, this is not the only report of mob shoplifting in the city in recent times. According to a report from NBC Los Angeles, a similar robbery took place in the Americana at Brand Complex in Glendale on Tuesday, the 15th. The group of robbers ran away with about $300,000 worth of items from a Yves Saint Laurent store.