The San Francisco Bay Area is under siege by hammer-wielding mobs taking advantage of lax misdemeanor laws.
On Saturday, in Walnut Creek, a group of about 80 people carrying crowbars swarmed into a Nordstrom and left a minute later carrying expensive merchandise. They piled into about 25 cars and sped off.
"We probably saw 80 people in ski masks crowbars a bunch of weapons. They were looting the Nordstrom's right here," local PF Chang’s manager Brett Barrette told KGO.
Walnut Creek Police said that one employee was pepper sprayed and two others were kicked and punched.
Police were on the scene within minutes and arrested three of the perpetrators.
A day earlier, a smaller group of masked men ran into a San Francisco Union Square Louis Vuitton and emptied the entire store or merchandise.
Police were there quickly to apprehend a few of the thieves who are probably back on the streets due to the Bay Area's lax bail reform laws.
A pharmacy in Oakland was also hit by a mob of looters on Saturday.
On Sunday, a group of about 40-50 teenagers carrying hammers stormed into a Macy's and other stores in the Southland Mall.
They smashed glass cases and stole jewelry from Sam's jewelry store. About an hour later, in San Jose, another group entered a Lululemon store in the outdoor mall at Santana Row and stole merchandise before fleeing the scene.
All of the smash-and-grab robberies were over in less than a minute.
Residents blame Democratic lawmakers who downgraded the theft of property less than $950 in value from a felony to a misdemeanor charge.
The same lawmakers also enacted bail reform laws making it easier for criminals to hit the streets following arrests.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin faces a recall election amid soaring crime rates.
Video of a brazen daytime shoplifting incident at a San Francisco Neiman Marcus has gone viral on social media.
Cellphone video shows a group of youths dashing out of the Neiman Marcus store after smashing display cases at the Union Square location on Monday.
Cell phone footage shows the youths fleeing the store while carrying handbags with security alarm tags still attached.
A few of the youths jumped into waiting luxury vehicles and made their getaway.
Dion Lim of KGO-TV tweeted the video and confirmed that a police officer was standing outside the store filming the incident on his cellphone. The officer's handcuffs are clearly visible on his gun belt.
"A man I spoke w/tonite says his wife works in area, saw it happen & sent me this video which is circulating online... He saw two suspects run in and immediately shut and locked the doors of the store he works at. He told me he then saw 8 more run in.
He says this happened to his store in the past it’s 'traumatizing' to him & his colleagues. Handbags at Palo Alto NM were also stolen in a similar fashion in May."
A customer inside the store at the time told Lim a sales associate herded customers into the back during the smash-and-grab crime spree.
Shoplifting is rampant in liberal San Francisco where Democratic city officials voted not to prosecute cases involving less than $950 worth of stolen merchandise.
Jean Lugo-Romero, a homeless man seen robbing a San Francisco Walgreens then fleeing on his bicycle, was arrested on June 19. He faces a total of 15 charges in connection with seven shoplifting incidents at Walgreens stores.
In an effort to combat the widespread thefts, the retail giant plans to close the remaining six stores early.
Walgreens has already shuttered 17 stores in the Bay Area.
Reality TV personality Lisa Nicole Cloud's clothing boutique was one of the businesses hit early Monday by "amateur" smash & grab thieves who targeted the boutique's LCD big screen TV. Unfortunately, the thieves left empty handed when they couldn't remove the TV from the wall.
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Atlanta Police are on the lookout for 6 brazen thieves who robbed the Mayors Jewelry store in Lenox Square Mall on Friday afternoon in upscale Buckhead.
Police say one man stood lookout while 5 casually dressed men entered the jewelry store on the upper level of Lenox Square Mall. Footage from Mayors security cameras shows the men loitering around the center island where pricey diamonds are on display.
The men then drifted over to the Rolex case at the back of the store. Two of the men produced hammers and smashed the glass cases, grabbing Rolex watches priced upwards of $100,000 a piece. Police estimate the thieves snatched $940,000 worth of Rolex Watches in 30 seconds.
“This was well-coordinated and thought-out,” Sgt. Greg Lyon told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “They had seconds to commit this and get away.”
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