Following the latest incident in a national trend of smash-and-grab theft, Best Buy CEO Corey Barry said organized theft was one of the factors negatively affecting the company’s bottom line.

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On Monday night, a group of burglars targeted a Nordstrom at The Grove Shopping Center in Los Angeles, smashing store window displays and grabbing as much merchandise as they could before fleeing the scene.

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The Associated Press reported that Los Angeles Police Department officers chased an SUV, eventually taking three people into custody.

The Grove incident follows similar thefts in places such as San Francisco, Beverly Hills and a Chicago suburb.

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A recent survey by the National Retail Federation showed that many stores are seeing an increase in organized theft as well as an increase in aggression by criminals.

Electronics chain Best Buy cited an increase in thefts as one of the reasons for the decline in gross profit margin in the third quarter. Barry told reporters that the company is seeing an increase in piracy across the country, but especially in San Francisco.

“We’re certainly seeing more and more incidents of organized retail crime in particular and shrinkage in our locations,” Barry told analysts during a conference call on Tuesday. “It’s a real issue that hurts and scares real people.”

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Groups of thieves, some carrying crowbars and hammers, smashed glass cases and window displays and ransacked high-end stores throughout the Bay Area in shameless organized thefts, before fleeing into waiting cars to find jewelry, sunglasses. , Stolen suitcases and other goods.

The theft is believed to be part of a sophisticated criminal network that primarily recruits young people to steal merchandise in stores across the country and then sell it in online marketplaces. Experts and law enforcement officials say thefts are on the rise as the holiday shopping season approaches.

Barry said Best Buy is hiring security guards and working with its vendors on creative ways to stage the product.

Yet loss prevention agents and security guards are trained not to engage with burglars, said mall and retail security expert David Levenberg. they are not trained or equipped to chase or subdue suspects and the potential for violence is high; Instead they are supposed to “observe and report”.

“The value of the goods is not worth anyone being injured or killed,” he said.

The weekend robbery began around 8 p.m. on Friday in San Francisco, when packs of people broke into stores in the downtown area including Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Bloomingdale’s, and in Union Square, a posh shopping district popular with tourists. Which was full of holiday shoppers.

Videos of the chaotic scene posted on social media by eyewitnesses show police officers pulling a suspect out of a waiting car and people carrying cargo or suitcases in their arms.

Ben Dugan, president of the Law Enforcement and Retail Coalition, said flash mobs are typically organized by locals who recruit their employees and send them across the country to steal specific merchandise requested by criminal organizations.

The burglars are paid between $500 and $1,000 to take as much as they can and bring it back to the organizers who ship it to other parts of the country.

“The crew owners organize them, they crowbar them, and in some cases even rent them cars, or provide them with an escape route or a list of products so they can actually go out and steal It looks so chaotic but it’s actually very organized,” Dugan said.

“We’re not talking about someone who needs money or needs food. These are the people who go out and do this for high profit, and for the thrill,” he said.

And while burglary burglaries are rampant across the country, Levenberg said cities with progressive prosecutors — such as Los Angeles and San Francisco — are particularly hard hit because the consequences for criminals are not as harsh as in other cities.

“The consequences are minimal and the profits substantial,” said Levenberg, founder of Florida-based Center Security Services.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that his office met over the weekend with retailers who asked for more police patrols.

He added that enhanced enforcement will begin immediately “in and around highly trafficked areas and shopping malls leading up to the holiday season Black Friday.”

Dugan said that organized theft causes retailers to lose about $65 billion each year, which is stolen by professional thieves.

Last week, 14 suspects went into a Louis Vuitton store in Oak Brook, a Chicago suburb, pulled large plastic bags from their coats and filled them with clothing and other items, stealing more than $120,000 in merchandise, police said.