Strings of ‘organized retail robberies’ lead California investigators to social media


Mayors in California are investigating the possibility that burglars used social media to facilitate two quick burglaries, including Saturday night. In which dozens are reported to have been stolen from a Nordstrom,

in Walnut Creek, about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco, approx. 80 people landed on Nordstrom Police said the Broadway plaza was closed at 9 p.m. and with goods within a minute.

Mayor Kevin Wilk said he is in regular contact with the police chief and city manager about the theft.

“The chiefs have been clear from the outset that this was not a random gathering of dozens of people, but a well-planned, organized attack: organized retail robbery,” Wilk said in an email. “Evidence collected and being reviewed by investigators supports the fact that social media and social platforms are among the primary modes of communication in such cases.”

Wilk did not disclose which social media platforms were used.

Three people have been arrested and charged with dacoity, burglary, conspiracy, possession of stolen property and other counts. at least one person faces gun charges, the police said,

Wilk said there is more than one “organized piracy group” in the Bay Area.

Hayward Mayor Barbara Holiday said the police department is also looking into how social media was used in recent “smash-and-grab” crimes.

A jewelry store at the Southland Mall in Hayward, about 30 miles southwest of Walnut Creek, was targeted Sunday afternoon by about nine people who used hammers to break up cases before fleeing, NBC Bay Area reported,

“The possibility of coordinating criminal activity through the use of social media is explored and investigated in all criminal cases,” Hayward Police Officer Cassondra Fowell said in a statement.

Similar incidents have happened in San Francisco as well. and neighboring communities throughout the year.

The targeted attacks apparently took place at high-end retail stores and pharmacies in the area. Walgreens announced last month that it would close five stores in San Francisco due to organized retail theft.

Long the argument between plans to close hundreds of stores across the country was challenged by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and was inconsistent with local crime data. San Francisco Chronicle informed of.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced charges Tuesday night against nine suspects in three burglaries. Five of the arrests were in relation to a robbery at a Louis Vuitton boutique, three stemmed from a theft at an undisclosed cannabis business, and one stemmed from a theft at Walgreens.

Charges against most suspects include “robbery during an emergency,” theft and obtaining stolen property. Two also faced charges related to firearms.

“These brazen acts will not be tolerated in San Francisco,” Boudin said in a statement.

one group one. broke in Nordstrom in an apparent sabotage at a popular Los Angeles shopping center Police said Monday night.

Police said the thieves fled the Grove shopping center in pursuit and three people were taken into custody. It was not clear how many people were involved and what was taken.

Recently there has been a theft outside of California as well.

More than a dozen people in Oak Brook, a Chicago suburb, Police said security was recorded on video cleaning bags and shelves at a Louis Vuitton store on Wednesday afternoon.

Oak Brook police said the value of the stolen goods was estimated at $120,000.

Clint Watts, a national security contributor for NBC News and MSNBC, said that “the ability for anonymous collectives to organize and go off crime searches has grown exponentially as people have moved to social media.”

Watts said an event like the one at Walnut Creek would most likely require the type of networking provided by social media.

“Speed, coordination, mass quantities. It’s hard to do that. Social media makes it all easy,” he said. “You can get a lot of people involved. … in terms of having multiple people appear at the same time to hit a spot, I don’t know how you pull it off without social media.”

Michael Alcazar, an assistant professor in the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, who said he retired as a New York City police detective in 2019, said he has seen criminals tend to coordinate chaos. How did you use social media? They have investigated at least one instance in which about 10 people used social media to plan a herd burglary at a business, but nothing bigger than what happened in Walnut Creek.

“Wherever you have social media, they message each other. They communicate with each other,” Alcázar said. “Since it’s a flash mob thing, that there are so many of them, they think they can get away with it. Like, ‘They can’t have us all.'”

The Associated Press And Denise Romero has contributed.