At least $12,000 worth of merchandise was stolen from a shopping center in Los Angeles in a flash mob robbery this weekend, local police said.
More than a dozen suspects in five vehicles raided a Nike store on South Alameda Street in the South Gate neighborhood of the city on Sunday evening around 5:50 p.m., said the Los Angeles Police Department in a news release.
“The suspects, whose faces were concealed by medical masks or other material ran into a retail store with trash bags in hand,” the release said. “They placed clothing and boxes of shoes in the trash bags and fled from the location without paying for the merchandise.”
Police said there are 17 suspects, 4 females and 13 males, ranging in age between 15 to 20 years old. According to the release, the group arrived at the store in a tan Infiniti a gray KIA SUV, a white Honda, a KIA and a black Audi.
Video footage from the incident shows the suspects grabbing all merchandise and stuffing them into blue trash bags. One of the suspects was spotted wearing a hooded sweatshirt that had a logo of a bonsai tree and “Ritual of the Spirit” written on it.
See video of the robbery.
Flash mob steals $12,000 worth of merchandise from Nike store
The LAPD are searching for 17 suspects who robbed a Nike store. The video was provided to USA TODAY with parts blurred for privacy.
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Tips and information
The incident, described as a “grand theft incident,” is being investigated by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Commercial Crimes Division, Organize Crime Retail Taskforce (ORCT).
Authorities have requested anyone with information to call ORCT Detective Juan Campos at (213) 486-6958 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247), said the LAPD.
Anonymous tippers can submit information by calling the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.
How much does shoplifting cost retailers?
The National Retail Federation has estimated that organized retail crime costs companies an average of 7 cents for every $100 in sales. Organized retail crime usually refers to a group of professional shoplifters who perpetrate large scale retail-theft with the intent to resell merchandise. All types and sizes of businesses may fall victim to organized retail crime, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Los Angeles, along with New York has witnessed the sharpest uptick in reported shoplifting incidents among 24 cities from mid-year 2019 to mid-year 2023, says the Council on Criminal Justice.
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Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.