Back to Back Flash Mob Lootings in the San Francisco Area Alarming Experts

The San Francisco region witnesses back-to-back flash crowds rob a Nordstrom and a Louis Vuitton within 24 hours, alerting security teams in a city in such a time when that has already been suffering from forceful, violent theft and ripping off incidents. 

Steve Reed, a retired police officer and the former head of security at Arden Fair Mall, said that “I think what happens now is there’s no accountability for it anymore, and the liability for the stores if they try to apprehend these guys. They just stand by and watch.”

California’s Laws Resulting in an Increased Number of Robbery Crimes

California’s laws have also been pointed out by some security experts as a reason since its purpose is to minimize costs of sentence and that is why there is an increasing number of such criminal acts, according to reports.

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Robbery charges concerning the stealing of $950 or below were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors under Proposition 47 in 2014. Additionally, generally, stores also have policies of not chasing thieves.

Earlier this year, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott stated that “Some people calculate, ‘Hey, you know, I don’t want to go over the $950, so let me steal $949 worth of property.”

San Francisco area

Security Experts Recommended Only Precaution People Can Take Is “Not Intervening”

At the time, he added that “If it’s a felony, our officers can take action,” adding “But if it’s a misdemeanor, that arrest has to be a private person’s arrest.

And that makes a difference because they have to be willing to do that.” Other security experts in the region are recommending that the best safety measure which can be taken by people during such events is not interfering. 

Hector Alvarez, a corporate security expert with over 15 years of training said that “I cannot overstate the importance of doing that,” adding further “Find a way to duck into a corner, get behind something and become spam, don’t become part of the noise.”

On Saturday night armed with crowbars, nearly 80 people covered their faces with ski masks attacked a Nordstrom location in Walnut Creek. The town is situated nearly 30 minutes from San Francisco.

Ahead of that night, several people smashed the windows of a Louis Vuitton and “emptied” the entire store of its lavish merchandise. In connection to that robbery, eight people had been taken into custody.

On Sunday evening, police in Walnut Creek said that at this given point it is not clear whether the two thefts are linked with each other. During the Walnut Creek incident, the three people who were taken into custody are from Oakland and San Francisco.

In a Sunday press conference, Walnut Creek police stated that “Three people are under arrest today following an organized theft at the Broadway Plaza Nordstrom in Walnut Creek last night. Police are investigating what was a planned event, with the initial calls coming into the department about cars driving recklessly in the area shortly before 9:00 p.m.” 

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Dana Dawson of San Francisco on gun accusations; Joshua Underwood of San Francisco; Rodney Robinson of Oakland for purportedly robbing the store, and knocking two Nordstrom employees, they had pepper-sprayed one of them.

From the night when incidents took place, police are investigating CCTV footage to place the other accused and mentioned the “remaining participants in this criminal mob fled from the area in cars at high speeds.”

Some Stores Have Permanently

In recent months, with continuous incidents of robberies and smash and grab, the San Francisco area has been most affected. The famous destination witnessed a shocking increase of 753% in car break-ins during the period May 2020 to May 2021.

According to San Francisco Police data released last week, Robbery incidents fell by 4.9% this year till now in comparison to last year.

Chain stores, like Walgreens and Safeway, have also shut down permanently in the area or reduced hours considering the increase in robberies.  

Both Alvarez and Reed said that the problem could get even worse without strong liability and police are already stimulating for the accused to strike again in Walnut Creek.

On Sunday night, the city published a tweet on its official Twitter handle that mentioned “The Walnut Creek Police Department is actively monitoring intelligence that indicates the group of thieves who stole from the Broadway Plaza Nordstrom last night are considering similar activity later today,” 

“This has not been confirmed, but out of an abundance of caution, we are alerting businesses & residents to be prepared. @Walnutcreekpd is calling out additional officers & reserves & some stores may consider closing early or taking other precautions. There is not a specific time or target known right now; as we get more info, we will share.”

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