- A Home Depot in California was robbed on Friday night, authorities said.
- The suspects entered the store and stole hundreds worth of tools before fleeing the scene.
- “They had the sledgehammers ready to hit people who were trying to stop them,” an employee told KTLA.
Authorities in California are looking for a group of suspects who ransacked a Home Depot on Friday night, in one of the latest smash-and-grab robberies in the state.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, just after 7:30 p.m., the group went into the Lakewood establishment and stole an estimated $US400 ($AU562) worth of tools including sledgehammers and crowbars.
The suspects then fled the scene in a red Mercedes Benz “with severe damage to the front of the vehicle,” police said.
As KTLA reported, an employee said that he saw at least 18 suspects in the store.
“They had the sledgehammers ready to hit people who were trying to stop them,” Luis Romo told the outlet.
A wave of smash-and-grabs has been on the rise with multiple reports coming out of California throughout the holiday season. Last weekend, various luxury stores, cannabis dispensaries, and pharmacies were hit by a group of robbers in the Bay Area.
The crime sprees have been also been occurring in other states. In Chicago, a group of 14 suspects stole about $US120,000 ($AU168,468) of merchandise from a Louis Vuitton store last week. Surveillance video shows the robbers running into the store and clearing it out within minutes. Other retailers in the city’s Wicker Park neighborhood were targeted on Black Friday. North Face, Footlocker, and Boost Mobile were all hit within an hour.
A crime expert previously told Insider that videos of the incidents on TV could potentially inspire copycats.
“The most powerful images are watching those videos,” Arizona State University’s Scott Decker said. . “It may be that someone who is an offender who … sees it on TV and says, ‘Hey, the cops in my city aren’t that sophisticated,’ or ‘We could get away with one if we just go in real quickly and get out quickly.'”