“Black Friday” — the day after Thanksgiving that traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season — brought reports of flash mob vandalism and robberies at several retail outlets in California, Minnesota and other states. took on a whole new meaning with .
In California, on a busy day after Thanksgiving shopping, looters targeted Los Angeles County stores in downtown Lakewood and Beverly Grove neighborhoods.
A group of 15- to 20-year-old suspects broke into a Home Depot store in Lakewood around 7:45 p.m., brandishing crow bars, mallets and sledge hammers, KTTV reports.
# to break: A group of juvenile suspects stole hammers and crowbars from Home Depot in Lakewood. Following @JessicaOhTV Because she’ll get the latest on FOX 11 News at 10📺 https://t.co/TJQapjib3u
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) November 27, 2021
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Arriving in more than 10 vehicles, the group, wearing ski masks, ran into the store and took an entire section of hammers before leaving, according to KCBS-TV.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told the station that the stolen tools could be used in more robberies in the area.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Meanwhile, in Beverly Grove’s bustling shopping and dining district, looters steal high-end merchandise, pepper-spraying anyone who tries to stop them.
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It was not clear if any arrests have been made in the case.
California Governor Gavin Newsom confirmed that a strong police presence across the state is necessary to combat such crimes.
“Everybody has to step things up,” Newsom told Fox. “We need to see more law enforcement, more barriers, more presence. The more you look, the more CHP you’ll see. [California Highway Patrol] Officers took to the streets.”
The governor affirmed that enhanced efforts by law enforcement agencies will continue.
“You’re going to see it in and around major shopping malls and centers, continuing to work collaboratively to address and call these organized efforts,” Newsom told KTVU-TV. “They need to be held to account. This is reckless behavior. It has an impact beyond victimization: business. We’re all victims because there’s a level of mistrust, a lack of confidence in public safety that’s going on. I’m in. We need to be more aggressive.”
Such brazen “Black Friday” robberies weren’t limited to the West Coast, with similar incidents taking place in America’s heartland.
A Best Buy was robbed in Barnville, Minnesota, in which a group of 20 to 30 people stole electronics and other items.