Shortly after midnight on Monday, several vehicles blocked the intersection of Figueroa Street and El Segundo Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, and spectators gathered. Drivers began to perform “donut” maneuvers in the middle of the intersection, creating circular skidmarks by spinning their rear tires while turning. After a short time, what was at first a disruptive, spontaneous and highly illegal exhibition of stunt driving quickly turned into an explosion of violent looting, thievery and destruction.
The spectators who had initially gathered around the makeshift “pit” the Los Angeles Police described then formed a “flash mob” and flooded into a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store, where they began stripping the store of products with impunity.
The looters of the flash mob stole snacks, drinks, cigarettes, lottery tickets and other assorted merchandise from the convenience store. The mob vandalized the store and hurled merchandise at the clerks before exiting and dispersing before police officers could respond to the scene.
According to an LAPD news release, “Officers obtained surveillance video of the looters to identify and arrest the individuals involved.”
Surveillance video captured the scene as the flash mob stormed the store.
‘Flash Mob’ Looters Ransack Convenient Store after Street Takeover
On August 15 around 12:40am a street takeover initiated at Figueroa and El Segundo. The spectators then formed a ‘flash mob’ of looters and rushed a nearby 7-Eleven.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) August 18, 2022
The LAPD gave a bit of background on the flash mob phenomenon as well, “The term ‘flash mob’ was first used to describe a large public gathering at which people perform an unusual or seemingly random act and then disperse, typically organized by means of the internet or social media. In the latest cases, however, ‘flash mobs’ have turned from fun spontaneous events to opportunistic criminal occurrences.”
Dozens of similar flash mobs have wracked Los Angeles since 2020. One notable incident took place in Beverly Hills on Dec. 23, 2021, as reported by The Post Millennial, and was promoted by local Black Lives Matter groups.
“Today is a smash and grab. It is a different kind of smash and grab — don’t nobody go and grab Gucci purses, ok? We are smashing white capitalism, and we are grabbing some justice. We are smashing and grabbing in the name of our people — we know that every year, the reason we do this is because our people are killed by white capitalism,” said Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles chapter.
The increasing occurrence of shoplifting and looting has led many retailers to close area locations, with The Daily Wire reporting, “In November, CVS announced that it will close around 900 retail locations over the next three years, which amounts to about 9 percent of its 10,000 stores. CVS locations across the country have been affected by looting over the past year and a half, but the company cited more customers shopping online in its decision to close stores.”
“Rite Aid said just this week that it is closing 63 stores in order to reduce costs and boost profitability. In October, Walgreens announced that they would close five locations in San Francisco, citing rampant shoplifting across the city. The company said that it increased security measures at Walgreens locations ‘across the city to 46 times our chain average’ in an effort to combat San Francisco’s ‘organized retail theft’ epidemic.”
“We really want to prevent this from becoming a new trend,” Moreno said at a news conference on Thursday.
“They’re going to be held accountable.”
“We really want to stop this from becoming a new trend where they think they can show up and take over a street, freeway or any part of the city where they think they come into a store and take whatever they want. We are here to stay; that is not going to happen,” Moreno added.
Among the at least 100 suspects, one has been identified according to authorities and can be seen in the video wearing a Colorado Rockies Jersey, hurling food at the store clerk, KTTV reported. Detectives have reportedly identified others from video footage, and future identifications are likely forthcoming from the fingerprints on the countertops.
Any of the suspects captured will be facing several charges including but not limited to: grand theft, looting and vandalism.
The LAPD is asking anyone with information about this traffic collision to contact South Traffic Division Detectives at 323-421-2500 or email STDdetectives@lapd.online. They also warned that anyone involved in a street takeover like the one that preceded the looting will have their car impounded for thirty days, and this applies to anyone watching, filming or driving in the act.
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