By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Authorities Thursday announced that 14 people have been arrested in connection with 11 robberies from North Hollywood to South Los Angeles but all have been released from custody.

“The rash of these smash-and-grab type crimes has placed community members and store employees in significant danger due to the violence that’s associated with them,” Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore said.

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It’s a problem for police and for customers scared to go to the stores during this typically busy shopping season.

“Destruction of property, assault on store employees, and caravans of vehicles,” Moore said.

Dec. 2, 2021

Some of the city’s top leaders gathered Thursday to assure the public they’re cracking down on smash-and-grabs.

“My message, again, to the bad guys is we will find you, we will arrest you and we will prosecute you,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Thieves have targeted stores like the Home Depot in Lakewood, where they stole sledgehammers and crowbars that police think were used in later robberies. At Nordstrom in Canoga Park, a security guard was attacked with bear spray during a robbery, and glass was smashed out at high-end stores in Beverly Hills and The Grove.

In total, police said more than $300,000 worth of good have been stolen with some $40,000 worth of damage left behind.

“What’s troubling is how traumatic this has been on the psyche, on the mentality of our retailers, on store employees, as well as the shopping public and the community at large,” Moore said.

LAPD has stepped up patrols and has arrested two dozen people, but the suspects were released either due to their age, posting bail.

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Dec. 2, 2021

Zero bail policies meant to keep COVID-19 from spreading in overcrowded jails drew the ire of city leaders frustrated with repeat offenders back out on the streets.

“We need the help of our criminal justice system, of our judges, of our jailers. There are people who need to be behind bars,” Garcetti said.

Chief Moore also said the attention being paid to these kinds of crimes, he believes, will lead to criminal justice reform and the end of the zero bail policy.

Mayor Eric Garcetti advised the public that, despite the string of robberies and recent killing of Jacqueline Avant during a Beverly Hills home invasion, crime statistics indicate Angelenos are ” probably in the safest decade of our lifetimes.”

“I’m always careful when I say that because it means nothing if you’re a member of the Avant family or a member of a family that was attacked today,” Garcetti said.

“We never want to dismiss that, but we also don’t want it blow up where everybody thinks that suddenly we’re seeing statistics that are way beyond what they actual numbers are.”

Garcetti added that the resources committed to catching the suspects in the string of robberies are intended to keep the public safe during the holiday season.

“We want you to support your local businesses, especially after COVID- 19,” Garcetti said. “We want you to be out there shopping and knowing you can do that safely.

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“We will be out there to make sure that your family is safe, that the places you love to shop are safe, and so that you can enjoy a holiday season that we have all hungered for after two years of being at home.”