Now the mass looters are using bear spray

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

A headline about a group of masked looters brazenly robbing a store in California is so common these days that it’s barely worth writing. But the incident that took place at a Norstrom in the Topanga Mall near Los Angeles yesterday is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First, there was the size of the mob. As many as fifty masked people showed up to pull off a “smash and grab” where tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was taken. In a rare exception to the usual rules, a store security guard attempted to stop one of the looters, but he was stymied by another unusual factor. The looter pulled out a can of bear spray and drove him off. And this all took place in broad daylight around four in the afternoon. Officials are promising a full investigation, but we shall see what comes of that pledge. (KTLA Los Angeles)

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Video captured a mob of thieves swarming a Nordstrom in Canoga Park as they cleared out the store during a destructive robbery on Saturday.

Video captured the chaos as a large group of masked thieves clad in black clothing scrambled around the store, grabbing armfuls of designer clothing, purses, accessories and more.

Los Angeles police received reports of the mass robbery at the Westfield Topanga mall around 4 p.m.

Here’s some of the video of the action.

As usual, this was an orchestrated attack, albeit one of the larger ones we’ve seen. The looters knew just which merchandise to go after, selecting designer purses, luggage, and jewelry. All of the stolen items were the type of goods that could be easily fenced or sold at a discount on the streets. There were many cars involved, carrying away the thieves and the stolen goods in a matter of minutes.

So far we’re hearing all of the right words from the applicable authorities. Newly elected L.A. Mayor Karen bass called the looting spree “absolutely unacceptable.” She declared that the responsible parties “must be held accountable” and promised that the LAPD would fully investigate and work to “prevent these attacks on retailers from happening again in the future.”

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In a separate statement, the LAPD said that they “will exhaust all efforts to bring those responsible into custody and seek criminal prosecution.”

That all sounds great, but we’ve heard the same thing before all up and down the west coast. And yet the massive retail thefts keep happening and it’s rare to hear of anyone actually being arrested. It shouldn’t be that hard. They have security camera footage and today’s facial recognition technology can do a lot with just a picture of someone’s eyes. Also, did all of the vehicles have license plates? Unless they covered them all (as some looters have started doing), they should be able to at least track down the getaway drivers.

But even if they do catch them, what will happen? With that many people, it seems unlikely that any individual looter would have gotten away with more than $1,000 worth of merchandise. And if that’s the case, California recently loosened laws will ensure they are charged with nothing more than a misdemeanor and immediately released to go take down the next store on their list. Those “justice reform” laws all need to be repealed and the police need to be significantly beefed up. Until some of these robbery crews start going to jail in large numbers and staying there for a long time, there will be no incentive for them to slow down.

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