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Mobs of looters target Bay Area retailers for third straight day

Smash-and-grab thieves target Bay Area stores
Smash-and-grab thieves targeting California retailers 03:15

Looters targeting Bay Area businesses struck again Sunday evening, with smash-and-grab thieves hitting a mall in Hayward, California and taking merchandise from a Lululemon store in San Jose, CBS San Francisco reports.

It was the third day in a row that large mobs of robbers went after retailers in the region.

Hayward police told CBS San Francisco they responded around 5:30 p.m. Sunday to multiple calls from stores in Southland Mall.

Witnesses said a large mob caused a huge disturbance inside the mall, with some briefly taking over a jewelry store.

Witnesses described some 40 to 50 looters wielding hammers and other tools looting Sam's Jewelers, breaking glass cases and quickly fleeing. The Macy's store was also ransacked.

In video taken during the robbery, workers can be heard inside Sam's Jewelers screaming in fear.

"(There was) a whole bunch of glass shattering," said one person who was at the mall during the incident.

Witnesses said it was actually the tail end of a much scarier and bigger scene.

"I would say at least 30 to 40 [people] from what I saw," said another witness. "But then after the main group of kids rushed out, we saw 15 to 20 scattering, and some even came back in."

CBS San Francisco spoke with two women who work near Sam's Jewelers. They and other mall workers said some kids ran into other stores and left with shoes and clothing.

"We saw all the other stores closing. They were panicking, so we were panicking and quickly closed our store and barricaded ourselves," said one of the women.

"It was very scary," said one mall worker. "People with no morals, no sense for other people's safety. I feel helpless. It's disturbing."

Police couldn't immediately say how much jewelry was taken or how much merchandise other stores in the mall lost.

It was unclear if the Hayward robbery was connected to the one targeting a Louis Vuitton store among other businesses in San Francisco's Union Square on Friday or the Nordstrom ransacking and robbery in Walnut Creek on Saturday. Thieves also hit up multiple marijuana dispensaries in Oakland.

Meanwhile in San Jose Sunday evening, police said a group of suspects entered the Lululemon store in Santana Row at about 6:30 and took merchandise. They fled prior to police arriving. No other information was immediately available.

"It was insane"

On Saturday night, dozens of looters swarmed into the Nordstrom store in downtown Walnut Creek, terrorizing shoppers, assaulting employees, ripping off bag loads of merchandise and ransacking shelves before fleeing in a several vehicles waiting for them on the street.

Walnut Creek Lt. Ryan Hibbs told CBS San Francisco three people were in custody and others were being sought.

"Walnut Creek police investigators are in the process of reviewing surveillance footage to attempt to identify other suspects responsible for this brazen act," authorities said Sunday.

Police began receiving calls from Nordstrom employees about the looting at around 9 p.m. Hibbs said there were approximately 80 people who ran into the store and began looting and smashing shelves.

Two employees suffered injuries when they were assaulted and another was pepper sprayed by the suspects.

Brett Barrette, a manager of the P.F. Chang's restaurant across from the Nordstrom store, watched as the bedlam unfolded.

"I probably saw 50-80 people in like ski masks with crowbars, a bunch of weapons," he said. "They were looting the Nordstrom."

"There was a mob of people," he continued. "The police were flying in. It was like a scene out of a movie. It was insane."

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