LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A large group of looters took part in a smash-and-grab break-in at a Nordstrom store in The Grove late Monday night, and then sped away in several cars, leading police on a pursuit. Three people were later arrested.
Authorities are investigating whether the break-in was linked to another such burglary that took part in South Los Angeles about one hour prior.
The Nordstrom break-in was reported at 10:40 p.m. in the 6200 block of West 3rd Street in the Fairfax District. The suspects used a sledgehammer to smash the storefront windows and then ransack the store.
Police told CBSLA that as many as 20 people were involved. The suspects fled in four separate cars.
Police pursued one of the fleeing vehicles onto the 110 Freeway. The suspect SUV exited at Hoover Street in South L.A. before the occupants abandoned it and tried to run. Three people were caught and arrested, police said. Footage showed officers pulling merchandise out of the car.
A barricade was set up around The Grove Tuesday morning as work crews boarded up the shattered storefront of Nordstrom.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the LAPD Commission later Tuesday morning that Nordstrom sustained $15,000 worth of damage. Another $5,000 worth of merchandise was stolen. There were no injuries.
About one hour prior, at around 9:45 p.m., a CVS store located at the intersection of West Slauson and South Vermont avenues was hit by six burglars who stole about $8,500 in cash, police said. Detectives are looking into whether any of the suspects were also involved in the Nordstrom burglary.
This marks the latest in a series of recent brazen burglaries. On Saturday night, two stores on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills were hit by a large group of smash-and-grab burglars: a Louis Vuitton store and Saks Fifth Avenue. The incident prompted the city of Beverly Hills to hire two private security companies Monday to bolster patrols.
Mobs of looters have also been taking part in smash-and-grab burglaries in the Bay Area over a period of several nights. California Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the issue Monday, saying that California Highway Patrol would begin stepping up its presence around retail outlets.
“You will see substantially more, starting today, in and around areas that are highly trafficked coming into the holiday season, Black Friday, shopping malls, so the state is supplementing those efforts and we are going to be more aggressive still.”