A group of thieves who were caught on camera ransacking a Nike store in East Los Angeles were arrested on Wednesday.
On Sunday, citizen video captured the suspects stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise at a Nike store located at 4585 Whittier Blvd. around 5:30 p.m.
One of the last suspects to flee the store was seen filling a large trash bag with many boxes of sneakers.
The three suspects, described as a Black man and two Black women by the Los Angeles Police Department, fled the scene in a red SUV on the southbound 710 Freeway.
On Wednesday, L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies spotted the suspects’ SUV and requested assistance from the California Highway Patrol. The suspect vehicle was pulled over and six people were arrested at the scene, deputies said.
Photos from the arrest show the suspects’ SUV was filled with merchandise including large bags containing boxes of Nike sneakers and other potentially stolen merchandise.
The suspects’ identities were not released as the incident remains under investigation.
The Nike store robbery follows a string of other “flash mob” robberies across Southern California over the past few weeks including at a Norstrom at the Westfield Topanga mall, a YSL store at the Americana at Brand in Glendale, a luxury denim store in Hancock Park and a Gucci store at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.
On Thursday, authorities arrested the first suspect in the YSL robberies.
In most flash mob robberies, the thieves will overwhelm store employees and security guards and grab as many items as possible before fleeing. Their hauls often exceed $100,000 since many of the stores are high-end retailers.
Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors across L.A. County announced the establishment of a task force aimed at stopping the rising number of “flash mob” style thefts targeting retailers.
The task force, announced at a Thursday news conference, involves the L.A. Police Department, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, police in Glendale, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Santa Monica, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Marshals Service, city and county prosecutors, and the state Attorney General’s office.
“These are not victimless crimes,” said L.A. Mayor Karen Bass. “No Angeleno should feel like it is not safe to go shopping in Los Angeles. No entrepreneur should feel like it’s not safe to open a business in Los Angeles.”