A rash of brazen organized nighttime shoplifting incidents in a number of U.S. cities throughout which thieves ransack shops and make off with merchandise is the end result of a failure to prosecute criminals and the normalization of such conduct, in accordance to experts. 

The most up-to-date incident occurred Monday when a mob of no less than 20 individuals smashed home windows with a sledgehammer at a Nordstrom division retailer at The Grove, a preferred procuring and leisure advanced in Los Angeles, and stole hundreds of {dollars} in merchandise, police stated. At least three suspects have been arrested. 

The thefts adopted a collection of smash-and-grab incidents within the San Francisco space over the weekend, together with one the place a Nordstrom in Walnut Creek was hit by no less than 90 individuals, some carrying ski masks and armed with crowbars. Three individuals have been charged in that theft, throughout which two staff had been assaulted and one was pepper-sprayed, authorities stated.


A Louis Vitton in San Francisco’s Union Square was practically emptied Friday night time as thieves had been seen fleeing the high-end retailer with armfuls of costly merchandise. Nine suspects have been charged in that smash-and-grab. Other shops focused within the metropolis on the identical night time included Bloomingdale’s, Burberry, Yves Saint Laurent, a Walgreens and hashish dispensaries, authorities stated. All instructed, no less than 12 shops within the metropolis had been focused over the weekend alone. 

Across the bay in Oakland, the Wellspring Pharmacy was looted Saturday when dozens of looters carrying black hoodies and masks ransacked cabinets and fled with pharmaceuticals. 


In suburban Chicago, 14 suspects stole $100,000 of merchandise from a Louis Vuitton retailer final week as they grabbed every thing they may carry. On Nov. 12, an Ulta Beauty retailer in close by Oak Brook, Illinois, was ransacked to the tune of $15,000. 

Security experts cited a spread of causes for the brazen nature of the crimes. 


“Not only is it being tolerated because we’re seeing it more, but we’re seeing there’s no prosecution involved in this,” Pete Eliadis, a former regulation enforcement official and CEO of safety firm Intelligence Consulting Partners, instructed Fox News. “Law enforcement is not going to engage with that type of element because it’s an accepted crime.”

On Tuesday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed introduced the town will restrict automobile entry to Union Square in response to the theft mobs. The Bay Area has been significantly hit onerous by retail thieves. The Central District noticed a 753% enhance in such crimes from May of final yr to 2021, in accordance to police knowledge. 

In order to disrupt and dismantle the crime rings, elected officers and authorities have to get critical about prosecution, stated Betsy Smith, a former Chicago-area regulation enforcement officer and spokesperson for the National Police Association.

She famous the suspected thieves concerned within the Ulta Beauty smash-and-grab in Oak Brook will doubtless be prosecuted as a result of it sits exterior of Cook County, dwelling to Chicago. 

“Those guys that did that, they’re in jail,” Smith stated. “The guys who did that stuff didn’t realize they crossed the county line into DuPage County … and the DuPage County state’s attorney doesn’t tolerate that.”

The felony networks have taken a toll on no less than one giant digital retailer. 

“I think you’ve probably seen in the media that across retail, we are definitely seeing more and more, particularly organized retail crime and incidence of shrink in our locations. And I think you’ve heard other retailers talk about it, and we certainly have seen it as well,” Best Buy CEO Corie Barry stated on the corporate’s thirdquarter earnings name Tuesday. 

In a separate name, she instructed reporters the corporate is seeing a rise in organized theft nationwide, however significantly in San Francisco. 

Even earlier than the occasions of this previous weekend, a number of Bay Area incidents involving thieves went viral and highlighted the rising pattern. One concerned a person throwing gadgets right into a rubbish bag after which bicycling out of a Walgreens in entrance of retailer workers and safety personnel. 

In Los Angeles, authorities have warned of a pattern of so-called “follow-home” robberies through which suspects have focused victims within the metropolis’s Jewelry District, high-end eating places and nightclubs. They then observe them dwelling or to remoted areas resembling a car parking zone and rob them.

San Francisco shoplifting: 4 women bolt out of CVS with stuffed bags in city’s latest retail theftVideo

Earlier this month, the LAPD stated it was investigating 110 such robberies involving no less than six completely different avenue gangs. On Tuesday, the LAPD introduced the creation of a Follow Home Task Force comprised of 20 detectives from its Robbery and Homicide Division to handle the crimes. 

Some retailers and California elected officers have positioned the blame on Proposition 47, a voter-approved measure that downgraded costs of theft underneath $950 from felonies to misdemeanors. 

State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, a Republican, stated he intends to introduce laws to put the regulation on the poll in an effort to repeal it. 

“You have people that can go from department store to department store and rob them with impunity,” Kiley instructed Fox News. “It’s one of the things that’s making California, particularly San Francisco, simply unlivable and unsafe.”

The low threshold offers felony gangs incentive to hold committing crimes with out worry of prosecution, Kiley stated. Earlier this month, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin introduced costs in opposition to a “prolific retail thief” for 120 incidents involving the theft of greater than $40,000 value of merchandise from one Target retailer over the course of a yr. 

On the state degree, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, signed a invoice in July to create crime job forces across the California Highway Patrol and native companies to handle organized theft. 

Whatever the trigger of the uptick in theft, experts agree the COVID-19 pandemic is not to blame. 

“That’s so silly,” Smith stated. “[Chicago Mayor] Lori Lightfoot is still hanging onto that. She blames every crime in Chicago on the pandemic.”

“When we were locked down during the eye of the pandemic, I felt no great need to go steal from my local Ulta or Louis Vuitton store,” she added. 

Aside from the price of doing enterprise, the results of large-scale retail theft can impression communities. Walgreens introduced in October that it deliberate to shutter no less than 5 San Francisco areas in response to rampant theft. 

“If you own a store and your store keeps getting looted, and you know there’s not going to be a return on the prosecution end, why would you reinvest in that community?” Eliadis stated.