‘Highly organized’ mob of 80 armed looters storm San Fran
Nordstrom’s during ‘insane’ robbery
A shocking incident occurred just outside San Francisco
involving dozens of robbers converging on a Nordstrom shortly
before closing time on Saturday.
The incredibly brazen acts of looting allegedly involved no less
than 80 individuals, according to the Walnut Creek Police
Department. Wearing ski masks and carrying weapons ranging from
crowbars to firearms, they reportedly invaded the Broadway Plaza
Nordstrom department store in Walnut Creek, which is
approximately 25 miles outside of San Francisco.
There appeared to be a highly organized nature to the robbers,
and the plan was well executed, beginning with 25 cars stopped
and blocked traffic outside of the store as the main group
poured out of the vehicles and set upon the store, getting in
and out in a matter of minutes.
During the rapid heist, two employees were allegedly assaulted,
and one was pepper-sprayed. While details of any injuries are
not public at time of writing, the employees were treated at the
scene and there are no reports of any hospitalizations or deaths
in connection to the mass robbery.
A statement given by the Walnut Creek Police Department (WCPD)
stated that they had arrested three people in connection to the
robbery, two on the scene and one shortly after when they
responded to multiple, frantic 911 calls from Nordstrom
employees. The other individuals have eluded justice at the time
of writing, though the WCPD says it has not yet finished
reviewing security footage. One of the individuals, an
unidentified woman, was charged with illegal possession of a
firearm, and all three are facing charges of possession of
burglary tools, possession of stolen property, and conspiracy to
commit burglary, according to the WCPD statement.
The total amount of property stolen remains unknown, but given
the sheer number of thieves, and their direct route to the most
expensive goods, the total value of all the stolen goods is
presumed to be high.
Some bystanders at the nearby P.F. Chang restaurant watched the
episode, and the restaurant manager, Brett Barrette, who wisely
locked the doors as the shocked diners looked on, went on to
describe the incident as something like “a scene out of a movie.”
“We probably saw 50 to 80 people in ski masks, crowbars, a bunch
of weapons. They were looting the Nordstrom’s right here. And I
thought they were going to start beating cars. I had to start
locking doors, lock the front door, lock the back door. There
was a mob of people. The police were flying in. It was like a
scene out of a movie. It was insane,” Barrette told KGO-TV.
This isn’t the first time the “flash mob” of criminals has
suddenly descended upon a store and then fled within minutes.
Looters raided the Louis Vuitton store in Union Square, San
Francisco following on the heels of a Wednesday raid on Louis
Vuitton in Chicago’s Oakbrook suburb. Union Square was also host
to a raid on the Neiman Marcus store in July.
There is speculation that the mass robberies, standing out for
their sheer brazenness, may be encouraged by policies such as
Proposition 47, passed by California voters in 2014, which makes
shoplifting of less than $950 of goods a misdemeanor. This means
that some thieves may not even face any real attempt to arrest
them, especially in light of the blatant denial of the problem
itself by officials in places like San Francisco, in shock
contrast to the experience many common people and retailers both
great and small have of the surge in theft of all types.
The “nothing is wrong” approach may not be sitting well with the
people actually experiencing sudden mass raids by armed, masked
thugs. Some in San Francisco are calling for the removal of the
“The mayor and her entire team should resign. You can’t really
run a retail enterprise if you have to board up the windows five
weeks before the critical Christmas selling season,” John
Chachas, whose family owns luxury retailer Gump’s in Union
Square, told the San Francisco Chronicle.