Up to 20 men and boys stole sledgehammers and crowbars from The Home Depot at the Lakewood Center Mall Friday evening, prompting fears they will be used in smash-and-grab robberies.

The group entered the store at about 8:30 p.m. according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Store employees told Fox11 the group of males from 15 to 20 years old pulled up to the store in up to 10 cars, put on ski masks on and began stealing sledgehammers and crowbars.

“We tried to stop them,” store employee Luis Romo told Fox11. “We closed the front entrance and they put their sledgehammers up and whoever got in the way, they were going to hurt them.”

The group threatened a customer, “but he got away,” Romo said.

The robbers left in waiting vehicles that sped away from the scene, authorities said.

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