California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference in San Jose, Calif., on May 26, 2021. (Amy Osborne/AFP via Getty Images)
Los Angeles will be getting more help to crack down on a wave of organized retail crime after California Gov. Gavin Newsom directed the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to assist local law enforcement.
Newsom announced Aug. 17 the CHP would triple its resources in the region to tackle the crime wave. The agency will also allocate more investigators specifically assigned to a newly created task force dedicated to solving recent flash-mob burglaries and robberies.
“The state is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to crack down on organized crime and when our local partners need further assistance, we’re ready with a helping hand,” Mr. Newsom said in a statement.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass also announced Thursday the formation of an Organized Retail Crime Task Force, calling a recent spate of thefts “unacceptable.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department along with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), those from the cities of Glendale, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica, the CHP, U.S. Marshals, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will coordinate in the effort.
Several organized burglaries at luxury outlets in Los Angeles County have resulted in the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise in the past few weeks.
Glendale police apprehended one suspect Thursday in connection to a flash-mob burglary Aug. 8 at the Yves Saint Laurent
store in the Americana at Brand Mall. During the burglary, 30 suspects flooded the store and began grabbing $300,000 worth of clothing and other merchandise before fleeing on foot and in several vehicles, police reported.
A California Highway Patrol vehicle in Orange, Calif., on May 22, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Police are also looking for a second suspect and have obtained an arrest warrant.
Other similar burglaries remain unsolved.
A flash mob of more than 30 suspects on Aug. 12 at a Nordstrom
department store in the Westfield Topanga Mall in Canoga Park stole an estimated $300,000 in merchandise before fleeing and entering several vehicles, the LAPD reported. As of Friday, officers had not made an arrest in the case.
On Aug. 15, a group of 10 to 12 thieves also ransacked the Ksubi luxury retail store on South La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles at closing time, taking about $100,000 worth of clothing and merchandise.
The LAPD is also looking for suspects connected to a string of six taco stand robberies that occurred Aug. 16 between 9:40 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. at locations in Hollywood, Rampart, and the northeast and central regions of the city.
The regional task force organized is expected to eliminate the recent incidents of violent robberies at retail establishments, reduce incidents of organized retail theft, and foster a safer shopping environment for everyone, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement
“Organized retail theft is a $30 billion problem in our country,” he said in the statement. “More troubling recently has been the escalation of individuals using weapons, fear and terror as they attack retail establishments.”
South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., on May 7, 2023. (Sophie Li/The Epoch Times)