String of smash-and-grab robberies has retailers on high alert

Morning In America

(NewsNation Now) — Two more incidents in a string of smash-and-grab robberies have luxury retailers on high alert.

A group of five thieves stole purses from a Nordstrom in the Los Angeles neighborhood shopping center in Canoga Park on Wednesday night, according to authorities.

Four of the suspects grabbed high-end handbags as the fifth used “a chemical substance” to debilitate a security guard, according to Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton of the Los Angeles Police Department.

“Right now, we have a number of high-value handbags that were stolen from this location,” Hamilton said.

One member of the group wore an orange wig, the AP reported.

“They went straight to the Bottega Veneta boutique and started to smash the glass where they keep the smaller handbags and smaller items,” Nordstrom employee Whitney Sterk said.

An Apple store in Santa Rosa was also robbed on Wednesday of $20,000 in merchandise, according to the police.

“In a brazen daytime burglary in front of customers and staff, the suspects grabbed over $20,000 worth of merchandise from the store and fled the area in an unknown vehicle,” Santa Rosa police said in a statement.

The incident Wednesday night is just the most recent in a trend, as thieves have smashed the windows of luxury retailers like Louis Vuitton, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue in a slew of robberies and attempted burglaries stretching from California to Chicago.

The storefront windows of the Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Beverly Hills were smashed during attempted burglaries overnight Sunday.

“Multiple suspects traveling in several vehicles descended on the locations and used a sledgehammer to try to break through front windows,” Beverly Hills police Sgt. Anthony Adams told KTLA.

Police say hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was stolen from a Chicago Neiman Marcus and Louis Vuitton store.

In California, high-end stores in the San Francisco Bay area were hit for jewelry, sunglasses and suitcases among other items.

NewsNation affiliate KRON was reporting from the scene of the robbery at the Prime 356 clothing store in Oakland when they were involved in an attempted armed robbery and shooting that injured a security guard and two others.

The reporter managed to still do her job, recording the scene as it unfolded before her eyes.

As holiday shopping ramps up, retailers are now being tasked with protecting their property and their employees.

In Los Angeles, a steel slinky-like barrier with barbed wire was established outside the Grove Mall to keep out intruders.

Security experts say stores have a responsibility to protect customers, and shoppers should never physically intervene.

NewsNation affiliate KTLA and The Hill contributed to this report.

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