About 80 looters in ski masks ransacked a Nordstrom store in California's Bay Area on Saturday night, injuring at least three employees. The thieves, who were carrying crowbars, rushed the Walnut Creek store and stole an undetermined amount of merchandise and filled them in their cars and fled. And they did all that in less than a minute.
This is the latest case of flash mob robberies that have targeted designer stores across the United States. However, this seems to be a unique case as the entire episode started and ended in a flash, with witnesses describing it as a scene "out of a movie."
Almost Like a Film
According o reports, 80 people were seen racing out of the Walnut Creek store on 1200 Broadway Plaza while it was still open on Saturday evening, according to NBC Bay Area. They were seen rushing out of the store and filling their vehicles and then leaving in a huge group, with bystanders looking at them in shock.
During the theft, two Nordstrom workers were punched and kicked, while another was sprayed with pepper spray. All three individuals were treated for their injuries on scene.
A video clip shared by NBC Bay Area's reporter Jodi Hernandez on Twitter shows scores of people wearing dark-colored hooded tops and face masks carrying bags and suitcases stuffed with items in their arms before climbing into cars that had been parked just outside the shopping center.
She said approximately 25 cars were blocking the street as the gang of thieves stormed the store. Video shows the looters running down the street with bags and boxes holding presumed stolen goods before entering their getaway vehicles.
Understandably it was a planned robbery and the entire thing happened within second and nobody could react. So far three people have been arrested in connection to the incident, said Walnut Creek police. The three are facing various charges including robbery, conspiracy, burglary, possession of stolen property and a weapons charge.
Just in 60 Seconds
Witnesses said that the thieves were so fast that no one initially realized what was happening. Other said that they spotted many of thieves carrying weapons.
"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," local PF Chang's manager Brett Barrette told KGO.
The suspected mass looting is the latest in a number of flash mob robberies that have recently targeted designer stores. Moreover, the robbery comes as Bay Area businesses reduce their hours due to a spate of brazen shoplifting incidents.
Locals are also slamming woke San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin over his failure to prosecute thefts.
Following the robbery, dozens of police cars responded, and Walnut Creek Lt. Ryan Hibbs told KPIX 5 there were reports that the looters smashed shelves during the incident. They quickly got back into their cars while carrying bags and boxes.
It's unclear how much merchandise was stolen, NBC News reported. Of the twp arrested, one is a female. A BMW was also seized which police believe has connection to the brazen robbery. The male was charged with robbery, possession of stolen property, conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of burglary tools. The woman was arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm.