EXCLUSIVE: Wild rise of the ‘flash rob mobs’ making off with hundreds of thousands of dollars of designer goods in under 60 seconds: Crimewave will cost California $19BILLION-a-year – as state sets up task force to tackle brazen thieves

EXCLUSIVE: Wild rise of the ‘flash rob mobs’ making off with hundreds of thousands of dollars of designer goods in under 60 seconds: Crimewave will cost California $19BILLION-a-year – as state sets up task force to tackle brazen thieves
A distressing new crime trend known as ‘flash rob mobs’ is on the rise and likely to cost California a whopping $19billion a year, guidance from the LAPD warns.

The incidents have become increasingly frequent in soft-on-crime California, where detectives in the state’s largest police force are now assembling designated teams to tackle the problem.

The groups have been pillaging stores including Nordstrom and Versace.


As of the end of last month, the taskforce had made eleven arrests in connection with four cases.

But detectives say the trend is not contained to the Golden State, and will end up costing America $30billion a year unless something is done.

One recent incident included the robbery of a Nordstrom in Topanga Mall in the city, which resulted in a gang of more than 30 making off with $300,000 in goods.

Videos circulating online show the thieves grabbing luxury goods from brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry and Bottega Veneta.

The gang had also deployed bear spray to attack two security guards at the store, allowing them to cause chaos.


The gang had swarmed the store taking armfuls of items, some inadvertently dropping goods amid the chaos, as they maneuvered around shattered glass and overturned mannequins.

The LAPD later confirmed that the group had made off with items worth over $300,000.

The same Nordstrom had previously been looted in November 2021 when robbers again used bear spray on a security guard and stolen designer goods.

Just days before that, bystanders looked on as at least 30 brazen thieves ransacked a Saint Laurent store in Glendale.


None of the thieves used any weapons in the scheme, and no injuries were reported.

Footage from the store shows a group of hooded and masked thieves running out of the shop with armfuls of merchandise.

They sprinted through a walkway to the curb, where police said 20 getaway cars were waiting for them, and sped away in several directions.

One suspect seemed to have been stopped by an Amazon delivery driver, who was seen tussling with the thief.

An employee later told FOX 11 that ‘all merchandise was taken in less than a minute.’

Speaking about the incident to KTLA, Glendale police Sgt. Victor Jackson said there was a ‘short pursuit’ of the suspects, but police did not locate any of them.

The LAPD have since confirmed that arrests have been made in connection with this incident.

Most recently, a group of thieves stormed a Macy’s department store at Northridge Mall last Sunday and filled bags with $20,000 worth of perfume.

Cellphone video of the crime showed several men dressed in dark hoodies and blue medical face masks loading up bags of what appeared to be cologne and perfume merchandise.

Officers believe that five to ten male suspects were involved and fled in a unlicensed black Infinity.

The LAPD confirmed that the thieves used hammers and brute force to smash the glass cases filled with fragrance brands.

In another case, police arrested six suspects in connection with a robbery at a Nike store in LA, after they were caught with $30,000 worth of merchandise last month.

Officers from Glendale Police Department said they spotted a vehicle without license plates obstructing traffic, and initiated a traffic stop.

During the search of the car, officers found several high-end bags that had an estimated retail value of $3,000.


Two of the arrested suspects had outstanding warrants against them, one of which was for shoplifting.

The detectives also identified two criminal street gangs associated with organized retail theft, authorities said.

A study published last week by the Public Policy Institute of California, they said that there have been significant jumps in commercial burglaries in Southern California.

Commercial burglaries increased during the first year of the pandemic, after a 5.8% uptick in 2022 the rate is 15.7% higher than it was in 2019.

The most recent figures from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce show that Organized Retail Theft costs the state just over $19 billion.

This figure includes lost product costs, higher insurance costs, increased price of goods and unrealized wages.

In announcing the new taskforce, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement: ‘As Chief of Police, my primary duty is to ensure the safety and security of our community members and businesses.

‘With that commitment in mind, we are taking an aggressive stance to tackle the escalating issue head-on.


‘Their mission is multi-fold: to eliminate the recent incidents of violent robberies at retail establishments, reduce incidents of organized retail theft, and foster a safer shopping environment for everyone.

‘Organized retail theft is a $30billion problem in our country.

‘Its impact not only affects businesses financially, but also has a broader impact on the overall sense of well-being of our community.

‘Most troubling recently has been the escalation of individuals using weapons, fear and terror as they attack retail establishments.

Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association, told NBC: ‘It feels like we are under assault.

‘Nothing will truly change until we are willing to have difficult conversations about changing policies that are on the books.

‘They will see prices go up, they will see stores close, and I don’t think any of us want to see that happening.’


The NRF also found that 54 percent of consumers believe retail crimes like shoplifting have increased since the pandemic.

Their findings found that retailers lost and estimated $94.5billion nationwide, in 2021 alone, and 70 percent of retailers now believe that organized retail crime has become more prevalent in the last five years.

Last month, Los Angeles Police Protective League spokesperson Tom Saggau told Fox News that he believes the surge to be due to a zero cash bail policy.

He told the outlet: ‘The elimination of cash bail for these types of offenses is really an invitation to these kind of folks who are inclined to break the law and inclined to do it so brazenly.’

The policy means individuals who are arrested and charged with a crime are then released from custody without having to pay bail money upfront.

Saggau continued: ‘Those folks need to be held accountable in a way that they’ve got to forfeit their freedoms.’


Newsom said: ‘Enough with these brazen smash-and-grabs. With an unprecedented $267 million investment, Californians will soon see more takedowns, more police, more arrests, and more felony prosecutions.

‘When shameless criminals walk out of stores with stolen goods, they’ll walk straight into jail cells.’