Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Flash mob ransacks Nike Store in Los Angeles, steals $12K in merch: police

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Police are searching for more than a dozen suspects who ransacked a Nike Store in Los Angeles, stealing roughly $12,000 in merchandise.

Video of the incident shows masked and hooded people running through the store on Sunday, stuffing boxes of shoes into trash bags and ripping clothes off the rack before fleeing.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, on Nov. 19 at around 5:50 p.m., a total of 17 suspects in five vehicles pulled up to the shopping center on the 9800 block of South Alameda Street.

“The suspects, whose faces were concealed by medical masks or other material ran into a retail store with trash bags in hand,” police said in a statement. “They placed clothing and boxes of shoes in the trash bags and fled from the location without paying for the merchandise.”

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The LAPD described the suspects as four Black females and 13 Black males, ranging in age between 15 to 20 years old. They identified the suspects’ vehicles as a tan Infiniti four-door, a gray KIA SUV, a white Honda four-door and a black Audi. 

“This flash mob used their size in numbers to intimidate and instill fear onto the store employees to prevent them from taking the merchandise,” police said. 

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The video shows the suspects tearing through the store with blue trash bags. A child can be heard crying as they rush past. One of the suspects was recorded wearing a distinctive hooded sweatshirt with a logo of a bonsai tree and the words, “Ritual of the Spirit.” 

“They began to pilfer through the store, placed shoes boxes and clothing apparel into the trash bags, and ran out the store without paying for the merchandise,” police said. 

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Authorities said this “grand theft incident” is being investigated by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Commercial Crimes Division, Organize Crime Retail Taskforce (ORCT). Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact ORCT Detective Juan Campos.

Organized retail crime rose in popularity during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and has caused more than $100 billion in product losses across the U.S., according to a 2022 National Retail Security Survey. 

Another report released by the Council on Criminal Justice this month found that shoplifting incidents in major U.S. cities are growing fastest in Los Angeles and New York. 

“Shoplifting, especially ‘smash and grab’ episodes caught on video, has received extensive attention from the media and policymakers, and retailers have cited theft concerns in closing stores and placing goods in locked cases,” said CCJ Research Specialist Ernesto Lopez. “Far better data from law enforcement and the retail industry data is needed to help strengthen our grasp of shoplifting trends. For now, it’s unclear if the increase is a result of increased shoplifting, increased reporting from businesses to police, or a combination of both.”

Fox News Digital’s Jamie Joseph contributed to this report.

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