Dozens of looters descended on a mall in Minnesota and brazenly marched through two Best Buy locations, taking whatever they liked with them off the shelves.
One incident occurred near the Burnsville mall in suburban Minneapolis with about 12 people rushing in to steal items, while a second incident occurred in Maplewood – about 25 miles northeast – on Friday night with a larger group of 30 people looting electronics.
Both incidents occurred at around the same time and police are looking to see if they are connected in any way.
It is the latest in ‘flash mob’ thievery organized crime incidents, as California is grappling with a slew of ‘smash-and-grab’ heists, especially at luxury stores.
Two large groups of people walked into two Best Buy locations in Minnesota and stole as much as they could before fleeing. This was the latest incident in a recent spike in “flash mob” thefts. pic.twitter.com/JWwVV01Ydy
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 28, 2021
Local police have not said how much merchandise was stolen but noted that those involved in the heist did not use any weapons as they took TVs, tablets and hoverboards away with them.
‘A lot of crazy theft stuff going on. Not good,’ Best Buy shopper Sean Misgen told CBS News at the store in Maplewood. ‘Especially with the car theft going on and all that sort of thing, you gotta be careful.’
‘I wouldn’t feel good if I were here and that was happening as I’m there, seeing people run out with stuff,’ said another shopper Betiana Romero.
‘I’m not worried about me in general. If people come in and rob the store, they’re going to take stuff not me. I’ll just do what I need to do,’ added shopper Lao Yang.
By the time police arrived at both locations, the suspects had long since vanished.
‘We can’t tolerate that kind of behavior. Just as a society, we just can’t,’ Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said.
Best Buy issued a statement saying: ‘As an industry we are working with local law enforcement and taking additional security precautions where it makes sense.’
Earlier in the week, so-called ‘smash-and-grab’ gangs struck a Nordstrom in Canoga Park, Los Angeles, snatching $25,000 of high-end luxury goods and bear spraying a security guard in the process.
Nordstrom was also targeted by flash mob thieves who raided a branch of the department store in Walnut Creek, east of San Francisco.
On that occasion, more than 90 looters could be seen entering the store and making off with good within a matter of minutes.
Police described the incident as ‘organized theft’ noting that it was ‘clearly a planned event.’
One day earlier, people looted and ransacked stores in San Francisco’s Union Square, including the designer stores of Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent.
In Lakewood, California, eight people headed into a Home Depot store to steal tools.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department say the thieves ‘selected various hammers, sledgehammers and crowbars approximate value of 400 dollars.’