Looters in San Francisco Bay Space break into Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton and Southland Mall over the weekend

“Walnut Creek Police investigators are in the process of reviewing surveillance footage to attempt to identify other suspects responsible for this brazen act,” the department said.

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The spectacle Saturday night was one of several incidents of looting and shoplifting reported at high-end retail stores around the Bay Area over the weekend.

On Friday night, thieves broke into at least 10 stores, including a Louis Vuitton in San Francisco’s Union Square. And on Sunday night, officers in Hayward, about a 30-minute drive from San Francisco, were investigating after a group of smash-and-grab burglars destroyed glass cabinets and stole merchandise from a mall jewelry store.

Police arrest suspects after a San Francisco Louis Vuitton store was robbed during a 10 store looting spree in the area on Nov. 19. (@Yealenne via Storyful)

“These crimes are happening around the Bay and across the country,” San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin tweeted Saturday. “I stand in partnership with our local, regional, state, and federal partners as we work together to do whatever it takes to keep you safe.”

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Incidents of retail theft and organized crime have marred San Francisco’s image as of late. Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have discussed blatant acts of shoplifting and shuttered several locations as a result. In September, city officials announced new tactics for fighting the crime wave, including adding more foot patrols and additional investigators to the police department’s organized retail crime unit.

This weekend’s crime spree began Friday night around 8 pm as San Francisco police responded to reports of looting and burglary around Union Square, a popular shopping district. Videos circulating on social media show looters ransacking a Louis Vuitton store after shattering the windows. One person can be seen climbing a shelving display to grab a handbag at the top, while another dragged a large piece of luggage outside. Yet another ran from the store with an armful of shoes and clothing.

ABC7 News reported that over $1 million in merchandise was stolen from Union Square stores.

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One video shows police smashing the windows of a Mustang outside the store and forcibly removing a person from the vehicle. At a news conference Saturday, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said the officers “were confronting an armed individual” inside the Mustang.

As of Saturday, police had arrested eight people and seized two vehicles thought to be connected to the crimes, including the Mustang, Scott said.

“I think the people that tried to do this and the people that did do this, it was concerted,” he said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that this wasn’t unplanned.”

The following evening, Nordstrom employees and shoppers in Walnut Creek were ambushed by approximately 80 thieves who entered the store in unison just before 9 pm, police said.

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Jodi Hernandez, a reporter with NBC Bay Area, was outside the store and recorded footage of what she dubbed the “flash mob robbery.” Hernandez said about 25 cars blocked the street in front of Nordstrom before the occupants stormed inside and then returned to the vehicles with stolen merchandise.

#Breaking About 25 cars just blocked the street and rushed into the Walnut Creek Nordstrom making off with goods before getting in cars snd speeding away. At least two people arrested at gunpoint. pic.twitter.com/AG3R94M9L3

— Jodi Hernandez (@JodiHernandezTV) November 21, 2021

Three people were arrested in connection with the thefts Saturday night, according to police: 30-year-old Dana Dawson and 32-year-old Joshua Underwood of San Francisco, and 18-year-old Rodney Robinson of Oakland. The Walnut Creek Police Department did not respond to an email from The Washington Post late Sunday requesting an update on its investigation.

On Sunday, however, the department cautioned residents that the same group of thieves might be planning another heist that evening.

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“This has not been confirmed, but out of an abundance of caution, we’re alerting businesses and residents to be prepared,” police tweeted. “The PD is calling out add’l officers and reserves, and some stores may consider closing early or taking other precautions. There is no specific time or target known right now.”

On Sunday night, at the Southland Mall in Hayward, a group of thieves carrying hammers smashed glass cases and stole jewelry from Sam’s Jewelers, local media reported.

A large mob robbed Sam’s Jewelers inside Southland Mall, Hayward. PD said they received calls at 5:25 pm today. Witnesses told me 1st wave of robbers involved about 30-40 kids. A 2nd wave with fewer robbers returned to clean it up. Story tonight 11 on Ch 5 @KPIXtv pic.twitter.com/1kXj5N4UT2

— Da Lin (@DaKPIX) November 22, 2021

Lt. Mark Ormsby of the Hayward Police Department told the San Francisco Chronicle that investigators do not yet have enough information to tie the incident to the other crimes in the Bay Area.

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Jim Dudley, a retired San Francisco Police officer who now teaches criminal justice at San Francisco State University, said the burglaries might be the result of a “perfect storm” created by corporations and policymakers in California, where many retailers have “no chase” policies Regarding shoplifters and where at least $950 of merchandise must be stolen for state prosecutors to press felony charges.

The weekend’s looting and shoplifting incidents “seem to be coordinated, with tools, lookouts, vehicles for getaway and swarming tactics used by criminals with intent to plunder,” Dudley told the Chronicle.

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