Groups of thieves target two more high-end stores in California

Groups of thieves stole goods from at least two more high-end stores in California on Wednesday, according to officials, adding to a series of similar crimes in some major US metropolitan areas.

In Los Angeles’ Canoga Park neighborhood, at least five people went inside an open Nordstrom store at the Westfield Topanga mall on Wednesday evening and stole items including seven or eight expensive purses, CNN affiliate KABC reported.

A security guard at the store was sprayed with bear spray during the incident, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release, adding police are looking for the perpetrators. At least one of the thieves was wearing an orange wig, and they fled in a car, KABC reported.

Also Wednesday, police said at least four people stole $20,000 worth of merchandise from an Apple store in Santa Rosa, located about 55 miles north of San Francisco.

“In a brazen daytime burglary in front of customers and staff, the suspects grabbed over $20,000 worth of merchandise from the store and fled the area in an unknown vehicle,” Santa Rosa police said.

The suspects were between the ages of 14 and 18 and wore masks, police said.

The thefts come amid a recent wave of burglaries in which several or many thieves strike a store at once.

On Monday, at least 18 people broke into a Nordstrom department store at the Grove in Los Angeles and stole thousands of dollars in merchandise, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said. Three people were arrested, he said.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a group of thieves swarmed the Southland Mall in Hayward on Sunday evening, wielding hammers to smash cases at a jewelry store before grabbing items and fleeing. And east of San Francisco, three suspects were arrested Saturday night after a mob of about 80 people ransacked a Nordstrom department store in Walnut Creek, police said.

Not all targets have been high-end stores. In San Francisco on Friday night, a Walgreens and cannabis dispensaries were robbed in a similar fashion, in addition to a Louis Vuitton store, a Burberry store, a jewelry store and a Bloomingdale’s, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said at a news conference Saturday.

In Oakland last weekend, “armed roving caravans … targeted dozens of businesses, including pharmacies, retail shops and a large number of cannabis operations,” Oakland police said in a news release.

In suburban Chicago, 14 people barged into a Louis Vuitton store last week and fled with more than $100,000 in handbags and other merchandise, according to CNN affiliate WLS, citing Oak Brook police.

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