Spike in smash-and-grab attacks means bad news for buyers

Black Friday is famous for its Christmas sales and crowded stores, but if the upsurge in retail theft – brazen attacks by flash mobs – continues, there will soon be no more stores to pack.

Places like Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Chicago are experiencing waves of “smash and grab” raids, causing some stores to close. Looters smash windows, flood stores, beat and spray workers, and flee with hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise.

In Walnut Creek, Calif., Near San Francisco, a mob of 80 stormed a Nordstrom on Saturday, attacking workers and seizing goods in armloads. A day earlier, a mob hit Union Square in San Francisco, targeting 10 retailers.

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile shopping district has also suffered skyrocketing thefts, including the theft of a Neiman Marcus last week by three wagons of pers. Vacant stores now form a long stretch of North Michigan Avenue.

This is in addition to the massive shoplifting (essentially decriminalized for small amounts in California) that is causing retail chains to close outlets by the dozen in Golden State cities.

This week, the San Francisco prosecutor indicted nine suspects with shoplifting crimes worth more than $ 1 million, but they are only a fraction of those involved. The point is, with police overwhelmed, prosecutors awakened refusing to make these crimes a priority, and criminal penalties sharply reduced, looters (and the criminal networks they work for) often face little to no consequences. Organized retail theft has become a rational career choice.

Suspects assaulted a security guard on his way to steal about $ 25,000 in a break-in at a Nordstrom store in Los Angeles.

Gotham, for its part, has been lucky – so far: Aside from the riots last year following the murder of George Floyd, it has been spared the smash-and-grab epidemics. Yet stores here too have seen a tidal wave of theft, with more than 26,000 cases of shoplifting through September alone, the highest number so far in the 26 years that the numbers have been tracked.

Last month, The Post reported that 22-year-old Isaac “Man of Steal” Rodriguez had been arrested 46 times for theft from a retail store. This year, and quickly released every time. The National Retail Federation has ranked New York City fourth for “organized retail crime” among major metropolitan areas.

A shoplifter is filmed pedaling out of a San Francisco Walgreens after stuffing many items into a garbage bag.
A shoplifter is filmed pedaling out of a San Francisco Walgreens after stuffing many items into a garbage bag.

It’s not just businesses that suffer – shoppers also lose out when stores close and face higher prices, as remaining retailers have to cover losses, insurance and safety. Organized thefts now cost US retailers $ 65 billion a year.

Fueling these crimes is the same thing that caused the murder spike in big cities: excessive criminal justice ‘reforms’, shrinking police services in the wake of the Defund the Police movement and hostility. general anti-cop of the progressives.

Shelves are emptying inside a CVS on Avenue of the Americas and Spring Street in Soho after numerous thefts on October 6, 2021.
Empty shelves seen inside a CVS in New York last month after multiple thefts.
Helayne Seidman

“Why should a police officer waste time getting into an argument when the person is not going to jail?” Asks Pete Eliadis, former law enforcement officer and founder of Intelligence Consulting Partners.

If that doesn’t change, be prepared to do all your shopping online, until the criminals target this as well.

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