Masked robbers order diners at South Coast Plaza restaurant to get down, steal purse before fleeing: Police

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A Costa Mesa Police Department vehicle is seen in an undated file photo shared by the department.

A Costa Mesa Police Department vehicle is seen in an undated file photo shared by the department.

Authorities are searching for the masked robbers who ordered patrons at a South Coast Plaza restaurant to get on the ground before stealing a purse in Costa Mesa Monday evening.

Several people in masks and black clothes entered the patio area of the Seasons 52 restaurant in the 3300 block of Bristol Street around 7:15 p.m.

At least one of the robbers was possibly armed with a handgun, Costa Mesa Police Department Spokeswoman Roxi Fyad told KTLA.

They then told everyone to get down.

The suspects then stole one purse and fled the area in a white four-door Buick, heading southbound on Bristol Street, Fyad said, citing preliminary information.

By the time police arrived, the robbers had already fled the scene.

Officials said there were three to five robbers involved in the incident, and all were masked and wearing hoodies.

It’s unclear how many people were dining on the patio at the time, but the robbers arrived during what is usually the busy dinner rush time.

No arrests had been made as of Tuesday afternoon and no injuries were reported during the incident.

The case remains under investigation and no further details were immediately available. Police asked anyone with information on the Costa Mesa incident to contact Detective J. Korte at 714-754-5051, or Sgt. Detective J. Morales at 714-754-4933.

The robbery at the South Coast Plaza restaurant comes as neighboring Los Angeles County is seeing a troubling wave of follow-home robberies targeting celebrities and upscale restaurants.

In one similar case from September, robbers approached and brandished a gun at three people dining outside a cafe in the Fairfax District. They took the victims’ belongings before fleeing the scene.

There has also been a string of smash-and-grab thefts at high-end stores throughout the state, including recent incidents at the Nordstrom in The Grove and in Beverly Hills.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday directed the California Highway Patrol to increase their presence near major retail sites.

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