LA police announce 14 arrests in connection with smash-and-grab robberies

LOS ANGELES — Police in Los Angeles announced Thursday they had arrested 14 suspects in connection with 11 “smash-and-grab” robberies in the area.

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At a news conference, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said none of the suspects remain in custody.

Moore said that one of the suspects was a juvenile, and the others either posted bail or were released without having to post a bond, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Moore said zero-bail policies were implemented for certain crimes last year to reduce jail populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Burglary is one of those crimes, the Times reported.

“There’s criminal elements that are recognizing that condition and are capitalizing on it,” Moore said during the news conference.

>> 20 break into Los Angeles Nordstrom in latest ‘smash and grab,’ police say

There have been at least 11 robberies around Los Angeles in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, which resulted in the theft of approximately $338,000 in retail goods, KABC reported.

“There are people who need to be behind bars,” Garcetti told reporters. “We have opened up a lot of the city because we’re in a better place with COVID. We should be able to also open up our jails, and we should be able to have judges that put people behind those bars as well.

“It’s not something we’ve seen too often,” Garcetti said about the robberies. “It’s such a bold and brazen crime. It kind of cuts to the heart of what we believe a city should be.”

>> Thieves ransack Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco

Several “smash-and-grab” robberies have been occurring across the U.S., where groups of people “swarm” a store, take items off shelves and flee.

On Nov. 23, about 20 people attempted to loot a Nordstrom store at the Grove mall before fleeing in four separate vehicles, police told KABC.

On Nov. 20, more than 80 people stormed a Nordstrom in the San Francisco suburb of Walnut Creek, police said. Authorities arrested three people in connection with the incident, KPIX reported. The night before, thieves smashed windows and ransacked a Louis Vuitton store in the Union Square area of San Francisco.

A group of 20 to 30 people robbed a Best Buy store in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville, stealing numerous electronic items.