Four suspects who police believe might be involved in the flash mob robbery of at least $400 in merchandise from a Home Depot in the Lakewood Center Mall were in custody Saturday after being arrested in Beverly Hills.
Police received a call regarding several vehicles driving with no license plates near Beverly Drive and Dayton Way just after 9 p.m. Friday, Sgt. Jeff Newman of the Beverly Hills Police Department told City News Service.
Officers stopped one of the vehicles and took the suspects into custody.
“We’re currently working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to see if there is a link to the Lakewood Home Depot incident or any other crimes that have been committed,” Newman said.
The suspects were booked at the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station and items among the alleged stolen property were recovered, Lakewood city officials said Saturday.
The city added that the sheriff’s department will send more deputies out to patrol the mall and city of will share the costs.
Officials added that they would ask District Attorney George Gascón to prosecute the suspects to the fullest extent of the law.
Approximately eight males entered the store at 7:46 p.m. Friday, walked directly to the tool aisle and stole various sledgehammers, crowbars and hammers valued at approximately $400, according to Deputy Miguel Meza of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Store employees told Fox11 a group of up to 20 males between 15 and 20 years old pulled up to the store in as many as 10 cars, put on ski masks and began stealing sledgehammers and crowbars.
“We tried to stop them,” worker Luis Romo told the station. “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 one customer, “but he got away,” Romo said.
Some of the suspects possibly entered a red Mercedes with severe damage to the front and fled, Meza said.
Anyone with information about the robbery was encouraged to call the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-623-3500. Anonymous tips can be given to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at lacrimestoppers.org.
It was another in a series of so-called “flash mob” or smash-and- grab robberies across Los Angeles County in the past week, several of them taking place on Black Friday.
A large group of thieves entered the Bottega Veneta store at 8445 Melrose Place — near Croft Avenue and the border with West Hollywood — and stole an unknown amount of items before fleeing Friday.
According to KCAL9, a total of six smash-and-grab robberies took place Friday in the Fairfax District, Beverly Grove and Hancock Park.
The Los Angeles Police Department lifted a citywide tactical alert early Saturday that had been in effect through the majority of the city.
As of Saturday afternoon, the LAPD still had not confirmed how many robberies took place across the city on Black Friday.
On Wednesday, robbers attacked a security guard and stole designer handbags worth an estimated $25,000 from the Nordstrom store at the Westfield Topanga mall in Canoga Park. Also Wednesday, “flash mob” suspects entered several stores in the 8500 block of Beverly Blvd at the Beverly Center and grabbed merchandise without paying and ran out, the LAPD said.
Those crimes occurred two days after a smash-and-grab robbery by a mob of at least 20 people at the Nordstrom store at the upscale Grove shopping center in the Fairfax district Monday evening. The suspects in that robbery fled the scene in at least four vehicles.
Three suspects were arrested in South Los Angeles following a chase. Officers recovered several items of clothing, at least one cash register and gloves from their vehicle.
Also Monday, at about 9:45 p.m., six suspects entered a CVS Pharmacy in the 5800 block of South Vermont Avenue in the South Los Angeles area and stole three cash registers, taking about $8,500 in cash, police said.
Last Sunday, storefront windows of the Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Beverly Hills were smashed during attempted burglaries.