The term Flash Mob was a surprisingly fun activity back in the ‘80s, where a group of people would suddenly assemble amidst a crowd and perform a well-rehearsed and tightly choreographed song and dance routine. Usually taking place in a public place, the participants would then disperse when the performance was over, drop back into the crowd, with each going in different directions. These flash mobs were usually for fun or a creative way to ask for a hand in marriage. Three decades later, the words flash and mob are taking on a new meaning.
This past weekend, more than 80 people stormed into a Nordstrom department store in Walnut Creek, California, 25 miles northeast of San Francisco. Wearing ski masks and armed with crowbars, the brazen thieves ransacked the store and rushed out within minutes, taking high-end merchandise with them. Waiting outside were dozens of cars lined up around the block as prearranged getaway cars. At least one employee was pepper-sprayed, and others were punched in the face and kicked by the mob participants.
The local Walnut Creek police department referred to the mob-style robbery as “clearly a planned event” in a press release.
In San Francisco, just a week prior, 40 smash and grab thieves broke into a Louis Vuitton store, just one incident among a wave of brazen organized retail thefts in the area.
According to a 2020 survey conducted by the NRF, organized retail crime costs retailers roughly $700,000 for every $1 billion in sales. To mitigate losses, retailers in many metropolitan areas are taking security into their own hands by hiring private security for their brick and mortar stores