Crime

Hundreds of Organized Looters Steal From Bay Area Retail Stores

Written by William Hale

Two coordinated heists in the Bay Area occurred over the weekend, yet only 11 total suspects have been arrested between the incidents thus far. A number of stores including Louis Vuitton were rampaged on Friday at San Francisco’s Union Square plaza. The damage resulting from the retail theft prompted SF Mayor London Breed and Police Chief Bill Scott to announce coming logistical changes to the plaza. Apparently, cars will be restricted in Union Square going forward, with Breed asserting that “There will be limited access in terms of when you come to this area.”

San Francisco’s historically easy-on-crime District Attorney Chesa Boudin condemned the criminals on Twitter, and Police Chief Scott said the SFPD “will flood this area with police officers for the foreseeable future.” Liberal San Francisco has a shot at slowing down widespread theft and vandalism, but only if these officials live up to their notions of ramping up security. Boudin may be changing his tone on crime as enough signatures were gathered for a recall against him. 

This wasn’t the only instance of organized theft in the Bay area, as a Nordstrom was cleared out by 80 suspects just 25 miles east of Union Square in Walnut Creek. In addition to the heist, suspects also assaulted two Nordstrom employees and pepper-sprayed another. However, only three robbers were arrested in response to the looting, with the remaining criminals successfully fleeing in one of 25 cars parked alongside the retail store. Robbery, burglary, conspiracy, possession of stolen property and illegal possession of a firearm by a felon were charged to those arrested. Brett Barrette, a manager of a restaurant across the street from Union Square Plaza said, ” It was crazy for a second. All the guests inside were getting concerned.” Barrette said the thieves came armed with crow bars and other weapons. 

Walnut Creek Police Department noted on Facebook that the department is monitoring intelligence indicating a potential repeating of organized theft by the group. 

Unfortunately, shoppers and retail employees in the Bay Area don’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods. The pressure is now on Bay Area officials to ensure that thieves can’t keep getting away with this coordinated theft.  

Photo Cred: Tony Fischer/ Flickr