LAKEWOOD, Calif.—Authorities today identified four men who were being held in the “flash mob” robbery of at least $400 of merchandise at a Home Depot in the Lakewood Center Mall, and said more suspects are still at large.
The arrests were made at approximately 2:20 a.m. Saturday in the 400 block of North Rexford Drive in Beverly Hills, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Beverly Hills police had spotted a red vehicle with front-end damage matching the description of the vehicle used in Friday evening’s robbery in Lakewood.
“They conducted a traffic stop to investigate. The vehicle contained four male occupants who were all dressed in dark clothing,” the sheriff’s department said. “They also found new tools in the vehicle, possibly from Home Depot.”
Arriving sheriff’s detectives took the suspects into custody and brought them to the sheriff’s Lakewood station, where they were booked on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary.
The suspects were identified as Everett Lestorkindle of Hawthorne, 22, and Los Angeles residents Bronz Jackson, 20, Shawn Jones, 19, and Daniel DeHughes, 19.
Lestorkindle, Jackson and Jones were being held in lieu of $20,000 bail and are due Tuesday in the Bellflower Courthouse.
DeHughes was being medically treated prior to being booked.
“There are still several more suspects, and suspect vehicles, being sought in this flash mob burglary and many more like it,” the sheriff’s department statement said.
On Saturday, Lakewood officials said the sheriff’s department would send more deputies out to patrol the mall and city would share the costs. They added that they would ask District Attorney George Gascon to prosecute the suspects to the fullest extent of the law.
Approximately eight males entered the store at 7:46 p.m. Friday, walked directly to the tool aisle and stole various sledgehammers, crowbars and hammers valued at approximately $400, according to Deputy Miguel Meza of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Store employees told Fox11 a group of up to 20 males between 15 and 20 years old pulled up to the store in as many as 10 cars, put on ski masks and began stealing sledgehammers and crowbars.
“We tried to stop them,” worker Luis Romo told the station. “We closed the front entrance and they put their sledgehammers up and whoever got in the way, they were going to hurt them.”
The group threatened one customer, “but he got away,” Romo said.
Anyone with information about the robbery was encouraged to call the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-623-3500. Anonymous tips can be given to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at lacrimestoppers.org.
It was another in a series of so-called “flash mob” or smash-and-grab robberies across Los Angeles County in the past week, several of them taking place on Black Friday.
A large group of thieves entered the Bottega Veneta store at 8445 Melrose Place—near Croft Avenue and the border with West Hollywood—and stole an unknown amount of items before fleeing Friday.
According to KCAL9, a total of six smash-and-grab robberies took place Friday in the Fairfax District, Beverly Grove and Hancock Park.
The Los Angeles Police Department lifted a citywide tactical alert early Saturday that had been in effect through the majority of the city.
As of Sunday afternoon, the LAPD still had not confirmed how many robberies took place across the city on Black Friday.
On Wednesday, robbers attacked a security guard and stole designer handbags worth an estimated $25,000 from the Nordstrom store at the Westfield Topanga mall in Canoga Park. Also Wednesday, “flash mob” suspects entered several stores in the 8500 block of Beverly Blvd at the Beverly Center and
grabbed merchandise without paying and ran out, the LAPD said.
Those crimes occurred two days after a smash-and-grab robbery by a mob of at least 20 people at the Nordstrom store at the upscale Grove shopping center in the Fairfax district Monday evening. The suspects in that robbery fled the scene in at least four vehicles.
Three suspects were arrested in South Los Angeles following a chase. Officers recovered several items of clothing, at least one cash register and gloves from their vehicle.
Also Monday, at about 9:45 p.m., six suspects entered a CVS Pharmacy in the 5800 block of South Vermont Avenue in the South Los Angeles area and stole three cash registers, taking about $8,500 in cash, police said.
Last Sunday, storefront windows of the Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Beverly Hills were smashed during attempted burglaries.