11 'flash mob' robbery suspects linked to 4 SoCal smash-and-grabs arrested

A multi-agency task force that was formed to combat "flash mob" retail robberies in the Southland has made 11 arrests since being formed earlier this week, authorities said Thursday.

The Organized Retail Crime Taskforce -- known as ORCT -- was formed on Monday, and includes personnel from the Los Angeles, Glendale, Beverly Hills, and Burbank police departments; the California Highway Patrol; and Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

"The city of Los Angeles and neighboring cities have recently experienced an increase in `flash-mob' method retail crime incidents conducted by multiple suspects targeting retail establishments throughout the Los Angeles region," the LAPD said in a statement.


"Upon the inception of the ORCT, detectives assumed investigative responsibility of nine cases involving organized retail crimes throughout the city of Los Angeles," the LAPD said. "Many of these retail theft cases have adopted linkage to other retail crimes which occurred in neighboring cities."

As of Wednesday, ORCT personnel had made 11 robbery arrests "which were directly related to four of the nine cases the ORCT assumed investigative responsibility for," the LAPD reported.

The four cases involved the following locations:

  • Versace store at Beverly Center, 8500 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles;
  • Warehouse Shoe Store, 6251 York Blvd., Highland Park;
  • Nordstrom at Topanga Mall, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park; and
  • Yves Saint Laurent at The Americana at Brand, 889 Americana Way, Glendale.

The investigations are continuing, and anyone with information about these types of crimes, or who knows the identity of any additional suspects, was urged to call the Organized Retail Crime TaskForce, Detective Arnold, at 818-374-9420. Tipsters may also call 877-LAPD-247, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222- TIPS.