A citywide tactical alert was lifted throughout a majority of Los Angeles on Saturday after the city was hit with multiple smash-and-grab robberies. Los Angeles Police are on high alert after the city underwent at least six flash mob style robberies on Black Friday.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department continued looking for suspects Saturday after they said eight males barged into a Home Depot Friday night. According to officers, the group walked directly towards their pick of crowbars, sledgehammers and other tools, clearing out the stores entire hammer section.
Employees, however, said a group of up to 20 males believed to be 15- to 20-years-old pulled up to the storefront in about 10 cars prior to the incident.
One employee said the group put on ski masks and rushed towards cars parked at the end of the lot before beginning to check the doors to see if they could gain access to them. Luis Romo then explained that once the cars wouldn’t budge, the group started jogging towards the front of the store where they began stealing the product.
“We tried to actually stop them. We closed the front entrance and they put their sledgehammers up like whoever got in the way they were going to hurt them,” said Romo.
Police told local news outlet KCBS this robbery was extra concerning as the tools could be used against more stores in the area. The Los Angeles Police Department later issued a tactical citywide alert after a large group robbed a Bottega Veneta in the Melrose area.
Police said an unknown amount of merchandise was stolen from the high-end clothing store and that one employee was pepper sprayed. Additionally, authorities said three armed men stole a Rolex watch from a store on Melrose Avenue.
The string of crimes come as the Golden State grapples a surge in smash-and-grab robberies from large groups and the LAPD has begun boosting its patrols in high-profile shopping districts. Cities in California weren’t the only ones struck with smash-and-grab robberies on Friday night as such violence has seemed to pick up in several areas across the country.