Two people connected to an organized retail theft crew were arrested as they were leaving a Redondo Beach business with about $2,400 worth of stolen merchandise, police announced Monday.
The arrests come as police in Redondo Beach have seen an increase in retail thefts at the Galleria mall in recent months, Redondo Beach Police Department officials said in a news release.
Since Nov. 5, a group of thieves has repeatedly targeted a specific retailer at the mall, police said.
The same store, which did not wish to be identified, was hit seven times, Redondo Beach Police Lt. Fabian Saucedo said.
The group of about three to four people would run into the business, fill up bags with merchandise and then run out.
“They clean out the store in front of the employees and customers,” Saucedo said. “They don’t care. It’s very blatant.”
The group has so far stolen more than $15,000 in merchandise, according to the Police Department.
Detectives in Redondo Beach tied the organized retail theft crew to similar thefts in Orange and Los Angeles counties, including in Downey, Westminster and Palos Verdes.
On Saturday, Redondo Beach officers arrested two people who were leaving a retail business on Hawthorne Boulevard with $2,400 worth of stolen merchandise, police said.
Both suspects, 23-year-old Malik Trevon Oaks and 26-year-old Jamol ClaytonPhillips, are believed to be part of the theft crew that had been targeting the retailer at the mall, the department said.
Oaks and ClaytonPhillips were both booked on suspicion of grand theft and were being held at a Redondo Beach jail on $250,000 bail.
Police have clear video of the thieves inside the store at the Galleria and are searching for additional suspects, the lieutenant said.
Redondo Beach police are among several law enforcement agencies that have had to step up patrols near malls as California sees a recent rash of brazen “flash mob style” smash-and-grab robberies.
In Los Angeles, police last week announced 14 arrests from 11 flash mob thefts that resulted in nearly $340,000 worth of merchandise being stolen, including from the Nordstrom at The Grove, a Lululemon in Studio City, a Fairfax district store and a CVS pharmacy in South L.A.
While none of the Redondo Beach incidents involved weapons, there have been reports of more violent retail thefts in California.
Another incident at an L.A. area Nordstrom’s involved smashed windows and a caravan of cars fleeing the location, triggering a dangerous pursuit that ended with the arrests of three people.