SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif — Black Friday officially kicks off the holiday shopping season, but now concerns about safety and security are being raised. There have been a series of burglaries at high-end stores across California in the last few days.
No one, including retailers, expect to be robbed especially while people are shopping. But in the past week multiple stores have been hit, prompting law enforcement to step up patrols and warn shoppers to be on the lookout.
Just east of San Francisco, three people were arrested after about 80 people stormed a Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek last weekend. In Hayward, a group of burglars also smashed jewelry cases at Sam’s, grabbing items and running out the door.
On Wednesday, police say at least 18 people broke into the Nordstrom department store at The Grove in Los Angeles.
"I have no sympathy, no empathy whatsoever people smashing and grabbing, stealing people's items, creating havoc and terror on our streets. None. Period. Full stop," Governor Newsom said.
Earlier this week, Governor Newsom said the state will help beef up security at local malls during the holiday shopping season. He also talked about the need to see those responsible for the thefts, aggressively prosecuted.
“On July 21, we re-established our retail theft task force. We put millions of dollars in the budget to develop stronger partnerships with cities and counties to address organized retail theft. We've had over seven hundred and seventy-three investigations, hundreds of arrests,” Newsom said.
It’s not just high-end stores that are being hit. Cannabis dispensaries and a Walgreens were also robbed in the same fashion in San Francisco. A spokesperson for AAA in San Diego says holiday shoppers should always do what they can to avoid being an easy target for thieves.
“Please do not keep packages, new gifts, or your belongings, even something like a cell phone charger in plain view from outside of the vehicle. Make sure you’re always locking your doors and closing your windows every time you leave the vehicle,” said Doug Shupe, AAA Spokesperson.
While people should still enjoy the holiday shopping season, Shupe says the recent wave of burglaries is something everyone needs to think about.
“Be very mindful of what’s around you and who may be watching,” Shupe said.
Governor Newsom said protecting businesses from these types of robberies is important and so far, nearly $20 million in stolen items have been returned because of the state’s retail theft task force.
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