A famous open-air mall in Los Angeles has been forced to install massive coil fencing that strongly resembles barbed-wire around its property, after falling victim to sudden and highly-coordinated waves of looting attacks in recent weeks, as reported by CNN.
The Grove was attacked late in the night on November 22nd, when a group of up to 20 looters suddenly broke into the complex’s Nordstrom and used heavy weapons, including sledgehammers and e-bikes, to smash windows containing expensive merchandise. Up to $5,000 worth of property was stolen, and over $15,000 worth of damage was caused to the store; most of the culprits disappeared into the night just as quickly as they had appeared.
In preparation for the coming weeks leading up to Christmas, the Grove will now have the fencing put in place every night after closing, and removed before reopening in the morning.
“The coil wire is a reasonably new technology in retail crime prevention,” said Mike Lamb, former vice president of asset protection and safety at Walmart and Home Depot. “It looks like it’s designed to not cause injury, but can tangle a person in it and slow down someone who is trying to get away quickly.”
The attack on the Grove was one of many in recent weeks since Thanksgiving, where mobs of masked looters attack high-end stores and malls late at night, steal as much merchandise as possible, and flee in seemingly coordinated wave attacks. A Nordstrom just outside of San Francisco was hit by over 80 looters the Saturday before Thanksgiving, pulling up to the store in dozens of cars to systematically block the street, before flooding into the store, stealing products, and assaulting employees and bystanders before fleeing in the same cars.
Most of the brazen attacks have taken place in California, which has implemented laws easing penalties on the crime of shoplifting. As a result, several chains have been forced to close locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Leading figures in retail and the pharmaceutical industry have called on Congress to act, with a joint letter sent to Congress signed by the CEOs of Target, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Home Depot, and CVS. In the letter, the CEOs acknowledged that “retail establishments of all kinds have seen a significant uptick in organized crime in communities across the nation.”
Most recently, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tried to claim that mass looting isn’t really happening, claiming that “the data [doesn’t] back it up,” but failing to cite any such data in her remarks. In response, Walgreens senior executive vice president of communications Jason Brewer said that Ocasio-Cortez “has no idea what she is talking about,” pointing to the fact that “both the data and stack of video evidence makes fairly clear that this is a growing problem in need of solutions.”