Nine suspected robbers are charged with felony criminal mischief for a series of blatant retail thefts of more than $ 1 million in goods from stores in San Francisco, the prosecutor said.
A group of up to 40 thieves stormed a Louis Vuitton store across from San Francisco’s Union Square on Friday, smashing windows and grabbing everything they could while loading the stolen goods into waiting cars. It was reported by the Los Angeles Times.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said five people are facing charges of that smash-and-grab incident, while three others are alleged to have targeted a nearby cannabis dispenser and another person broke into a Walgreens.
“These are not petty thefts,” Boudin said on Tuesday. “This is not a misdemeanor. This is serious conduct. We are prosecuting serious crime today.”
Two of the nine suspects charged with aggravated theft, commercial burglary and possession of stolen goods as a felony also face possession of firearms, Boudin said.
Boudin shared the allegations with San Francisco Deputy Chief of Police Mike Redmond, who said additional police officers would be deployed in shopping areas and expect many more arrests in the robberies in Union Square, as well as in other parts of the Bay Area, including Hayward, Oakland, San Jose and Walnut Creek.
“We think there are many of the same groups involved,” Redmond told reporters.
The wave of robberies started last Friday in San Francisco and continued Saturday on a Nordstrom in Walnut Creek, in which about 80 people jumped out of cars and invaded the store and attacked two employees while fleeing with goods, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The chaos continued on Sunday with shops in Hayward, where 10 people rolled into a jewelry store and smashed glass showcases to snatch objects. The suspects fled in waiting cars, witnesses said.
Another group of thieves – two women and two men – also raided a sunglasses store and a Lululemon store in San Jose and stole nearly $ 50,000 in goods, police said.
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott told the Times Tuesday that police “will disrupt” the ongoing wave of robberies without shutting down Union Square.
“We will do everything we can to put an end to this madness,” Scott said. “In these places, people pulled up right in front and then ran into the store, took what they could and jumped back in their vehicles.”
Retailers lose about $ 65 billion annually on organized theft – and criminal flashmobs are a growing trend nationally. Other similar large-scale thefts have also occurred in Chicago. The incidents are believed to be part of a network that recruits young people to steal items to be sold for profit online.
With pole threads