A Nordstrom department store was looted and ransacked on Saturday night. Police have arrested three suspects out of the 80 people believed to be involved in the "smash and grab" incident.
The Walnut Creek Police Department said that a mob of people had broken into the Nordstrom outlet in Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek. Police said about 80 people were likely involved, and they all fled the scene in at least 10 different vehicles.
The first officers to arrive on the scene were able to stop one of the fleeing vehicles. They then arrested three suspects who are now being detained and questioned about the identities of their cohorts. Police said no injuries were reported.
Witnesses at a nearby restaurant said a group of people had arrived at the department store in separate vehicles, and all of them were wearing masks. The witnesses said some of the people were carrying crowbars and other tools. When police arrived, the group immediately scattered in different directions.
Police said the entire incident was a "concerted effort," and the perpetrators likely hoped to overwhelm officers responding to the crime.
"Their plan was hoping that we wouldn't be here, but we were. And some of them think they got away with it, but I am confident, I am confident, that there will be more arrests to follow," Police Chief Bill Scott said during a press conference.
Scott vowed to put an end to the "madness" by beefing up security and patrols. He said they would be "flooding" the streets with uniformed officers to discourage similar incidents.
Authorities said they have to determine the exact dollar amount of the items that were stolen from the department store.
The looting of the Nordstrom department store comes as theft, and similar crimes have escalated throughout San Francisco. A day before, several establishments in Union Square and surrounding areas were ransacked by looters. High-end boutiques such as a Burberry store and a Louis Vuitton store were ransacked. A jewelry store, a Bloomingdale's, and a Walgreens store were also broken into ad ransacked.
The extended pandemic has worsened the homelessness and poverty situation in the city and surrounding areas. Since the city reopened, it has seen a significant surge in crimes. Police data showed that crimes such as larceny and theft have surged by more than 88% when compared to last year in the Central district alone.
San Francisco isn't the only city where "grab and run" crimes are intensifying. Several people poured into a Louis Vuitton shop at a mall in Oak Brook, Illinois, on Wednesday afternoon, stealing nearly $120,000 in products.