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Santa Monica Police Monitoring Flash Mob Attacks in Los Angeles Area

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By Jorge Casuso

November 23, 2021 -- Santa Monica police have been "closely monitoring" a spree of flash mob robberies that have targeted high- end stores in two nearby cities over the past two days, officials said.

SMPD officials have been communicating with law enforcement partners and sharing information about the attacks that have taken place in the San Francisco area and in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, police said.

The Department has also been communicating and working in partnership with Santa Monica's business community, said Police Chief Ramon Batista.

This has "caused some of the businesses to take a stronger stance to secure their property," Batista said.

The robberies started Friday night when thieves ransacked a Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco. The following night, a flash mob descended by the carload on a Nordstrom store in nearby Walnut Creek.

Similar raids hit Beverly Hills shortly after midnight Sunday with thieves smashing windows at Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue.

After learning of the attacks, police "launched a comprehensive plan deploying a contingent of uniformed personnel throughout our business districts," Police Department spokesman Rudy Flores said Tuesday.

When an attempted raid of a Nordstrom store took place at the Grove shopping center in LA late Monday leading to a high speed police chase, SMPD "immediately shared the information with our local mall," Flores said.

"Again, we set up a plan to monitor and remain highly visible within the major corridors around businesses," he said.

Santa Monica police were already on alert over the weekend in response to the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Chief Ramon Batista said in an update Tuesday.

"As we learned from nationwide events, the community response involved lawful and unlawful civil protests related to the outcome of the verdict," Batista said.

"We also identified a trend amongst opportunistic individuals involved in criminal activity throughout the country and in California."

No such "criminal incursions" took place in Santa Monica, Batista said.

In anticipation of the verdict delivered on Friday morning SMPD "launched a comprehensive plan deploying a contingent of mobile field force, tactical team officers, and support personnel focusing on business districts throughout the city," the Chief said.

The City also opened its Office of Emergency Management "in order to stage city resources at the ready," Batista said.

The Chief cautioned in his update to the community that "while there were no incidents of note this weekend, we understand that we cannot be present and deter every opportunity for criminal behavior.

"Our relationships and partnerships with you, are a vital component to the fabric of safety that is our community," he wrote.

"We have more high-profile cases on the horizon and we will continue to communicate with our law enforcement partners," Batista said. "We will monitor for any actionable intelligence, and remain vigilant."

The Chief reminded the public that "if you see something, say something" by calling 310-458-8491 or 9-1-1 in a life-threatening emergency.

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