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Local Police Aim To Stop Smash And Grabs Amid Holiday Shopping Season

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — Stopping the swarm of smash and grabs as holiday shoppers begin their buying spree, local police have a plan to keep criminals out.

You've seen them in action: gangs of thieves going into high-end stores grabbing what they can and making a run for it. There's a beefed-up effort to stop them before they start.

We're at the cusp of craziness, the start of what's expected to be the busiest shopping time of year at the Roseville Galleria.

"There's definitely thousands of people who will come in," said galleria General Manager Jeff Richardson.

And as they come in, there's an added danger of who else might because the mall features a number of luxury brand stores.

Lately, some of these brand stores have been in the bullseye of brazen smash and grabs and mass robberies — from high-end handbags to gold and silver jewelry.

With millions of dollars worth of merchandise on display, police admit it makes an attractive target for thieves.

"This is an increasingly alarming trend," said Rob Baquera, a spokesperson for the Roseville Police Department.

Some stores have stationed armed guards out front, and others limit the number of customers allowed inside.

Now that's what businesses are doing, but what are Roseville police doing to prevent organized retail theft?

"Adding extra officers on the streets in marked vehicles, doing patrols around our big retail centers and our small mom and pop centers including undercover officers," Baquera said.

The mall also has a high-profile way to saddle up security this holiday season.

"We have the Placer County Mounted Sheriff's Patrol so you can come out and see the sheriff's on the horses," Richardson said.

So are customers here worried about the wave of Bay Area crimes seeping into suburbia? Not really.

"I try to be aware around me but it doesn't scare me away," one shopper said.

"It definitely looks crazy," another shopper said. "I didn't consider it would be happening around here."

And because these crooks often work along freeway corridors and cross county lines, Gov. Gavin Newsom is now directing the California Highway Patrol to increase patrols around malls.

So local cops will have some company to keep unwanted company out.

"We know having freeway access and an easy, perceived getaway is something these groups look for," Baquera said.

It's not just Roseville stepping up, police in Sacramento say they'll have extra officers patrolling shopping areas as well.

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