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    Flash robbery crew seen violently ransacking Southern California stores

    By Vivian Chow,

    2024-04-17

    Surveillance video captures a group of suspects wanted for a series of violent flash robberies targeting stores across Southern California.

    The suspects began targeting retail shops on March 3, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

    The robbery crew involves around 10 to 20 suspects who are all described as Hispanic males between 15 to 25 years old, authorities said.

    Security video showed the crew violently storming a WSS shoe store and overwhelming security guards during a recent robbery.

    The suspects typically strike at nighttime while wearing hooded sweatshirts and face coverings. They would quickly overtake the shops and begin grabbing as much clothing and merchandise as they could carry.

    They would run out of the store without paying for the merchandise and typically flee the area on bicycles, police said.

    The total theft across all retailers was estimated at around $40,000 so far. All the targeted stores were located within a few miles of each other.

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    “They ride bicycles into the area and they store their bicycles somewhere close to the location,” explained Lt. Michael McComas with LAPD’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force. “Then they come in on foot. They basically storm the store, 10 to 20 deep. They’re usually in and out within a minute.”

    Security video captured the group recently ransacking a WSS shoe store along with other retailers.

    Several WSS shoe stores were targeted by the crew at least nine times including locations in Boyle Heights, South Gate and South L.A. The WSS store on S. Central Avenue in South L.A. was robbed five times, LAPD said.

    During the thefts, the suspects “used force and displayed a lack of regard for the safety of witnesses and victims,” said LAPD. In some instances, the young men reportedly pushed employees and bystanders while throwing items at them.

    Police believe many of the young suspects likely attend or live near the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is close to the victimized stores. Detectives have shared the suspects’ photos with local school officials to track them down.

    In most flash mob robberies, a large group of thieves will overwhelm store employees and security guards while grabbing as many items as possible before fleeing. Their hauls can be very costly and in many cases across Southern California, targeted stores are either high-end retailers or shops that sell valuable merchandise.

    Some residents were on edge after hearing of the incidents and said they took extra precautions whenever they were out in public.

    “It’s so awful what’s going on in the world,” said Stella Ortiz, a local resident. “I go out and buy my stuff and then I go back home as fast as I can. I don’t feel safe at all anymore.”

    In a statement, WSS company officials said:

    “We are deeply troubled by these events and are working closely with the LAPD ORC Taskforce to bring these individuals to justice. We urge anyone with information about these crimes or the suspects involved to come forward and assist the LAPD in their investigations. Community involvement is crucial in safeguarding our neighborhoods and business districts against such disruptive and criminal behavior.”

    Anyone who recognizes the suspects or has information on the case is asked to contact the LAPD at ORC@lapd.online or call 1-877-527-3247.

    Anonymous tips can be provided to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at lacrimestoppers.org.

    Footage of the robberies can be seen in the video player above.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KTLA.

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