About 80 people, some wearing ski masks and with the crowbar, have ransacked an upscale department store in the San Francisco Bay Area, assaulted employees and stolen goods before fleeing in cars waiting outside.
- The robbery followed another cheeky mob theft of upscale shops in nearby Union Square
- The thieves escaped in cars that had been parked around the building
- Police said the suspects assaulted two Nordstrom employees and sprayed another pepper spray
Three people were arrested at the scene of the “organized theft” from the Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, about 25 miles east of Oakland, reported shortly before noon. 21 local time Saturday, police said.
“The remaining participants in this criminal mob fled the area in cars at high speeds,” Walnut Creek police said in a statement.
The robbery followed another cheeky mob theft of upscale shops Friday night in San Francisco’s Union Square, about 40 miles to the west.
NBC Bay Area reporter Jodi Hernandez said she saw the thieves rush into the store in the center of the shopping district.
“About 25 cars just blocked the street and hurried into Walnut Creek Nordstrom and took off with goods before getting into cars and driving away quickly,” Hernandez wrote on Twitter.
Video posted by Hernandez showed several people running out of the store with goods and climbing into the parked cars that surrounded the building and blocked traffic on the streets.
“It was crazy for a moment,” said Brett Barrette, a manager of a restaurant across the street, who told KPIX-TV that the thieves were wearing ski masks and were armed with crowbars and weapons.
Police said the suspects assaulted two Nordstrom employees and sprayed another pepper spray.
They said they reviewed surveillance images in an attempt to identify them.
Nordstrom was open as usual on Sunday.
The people arrested at the scene were Dana Dawson, 30, and Joshua Underwood, 32, of San Francisco, and Rodney Robinson, 18, of Oakland, police said.
Police said the charges included robbery, burglary, conspiracy, possession of stolen property and illegal possession of a firearm by a criminal.
The incident came the day after several upscale stores in San Francisco’s Union Square were broken into by a large group of people who smashed windows, stole goods and then ran to waiting cars, police said.
Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana were all targeted Friday night, Fox 2 News reported.
San Francisco police officer Robert Rueca said in a statement posted on social media that officers responded to reports of possible looting and vandalism in Union Square stores Friday night and arrested several people.
Shops in Union Square, an upscale shopping district popular with tourists, have for years been the target of well-organized thieves, who at times have driven cars into storefronts to break open glass doors and windows and enter buildings outside opening hours.
In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law allowing prosecutors to target those who work with others to steal goods.
Reuters / AP