Four people were arrested by Los Angeles Police Department officers after they allegedly stole $5000 worth of merchandise from a store and threatened employees that confronted them.
It happened Friday around 10:20 a.m. at a WSS Shoe Store on the 1600 block of W. 7th Street in the Westlake neighborhood.
According to LAPD officials, two men and two teen girls entered the store and filled up bags with thousands worth of merchandise and began heading for the exit. Store security apparently confronted them as they were trying to leave, at which point one of the girls pulled out a can of pepper spray and threatened to use it if they were stopped.
Security let the thieves go on foot and then immediately contacted police.
Dispatchers referred to the group as “assault suspect,” LAPD officials said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Responding officers met with store employees, determined that the suspects had committed organized retail theft and began searching the area with descriptions of the suspects.
Within minutes, officers found the four suspects near the intersection of 8th Street and Union Avenue. They all ran on foot but were eventually chased down to a nearby building where they locked themselves in the building’s laundry room.
Police set up a perimeter and eventually arrested all four without incident. Police did not say how the arrest unfolded.
The two adult men were booked into jail and are expected to be charged with robbery. LAPD officials said the two men have previous arrests for similar crimes. Two 16-year-old girls were also arrested and charged with robbery.
Organized retail theft has been a growing concern for Californians and Angelenos in particular.
On Monday afternoon, four men were formally charged for allegedly partaking in two organized shoplifting sprees at Ross Dress for Less stores in the L.A. area.
Earlier this week, authorities arrested two suspects accused of running an illegal reselling operation that included as much as $200,000 in stolen merchandise.
Both the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department have task forces that are specifically focused on targeting retail thieves. California Gavin Newsom has made the rising thefts and the economic impact they cause a priority of his, recently tripling the amount of task force resources in the L.A. area.