HomeCity NewsGPD Makes First Arrest in Americana Flash Mob Burglary

GPD Makes First Arrest in Americana Flash Mob Burglary

The Glendale Police Department made their first arrest related to the Yves Saint Laurent flash mob burglary on Thursday.
GPD detectives have taken a 23-year-old Los Angeles man into custody as the first person directly connected to the flash mob burglary at the Americana at Brand on Aug. 8, according to a press release from GPD’s public information officer, Sgt. Victor Jackson.
The suspect is still in GPD custody and was booked on several charges, including organized retail theft, burglary, grand theft and conspiracy, Jackson said.
A second suspect, a 21-year-old Los Angeles woman, is currently outstanding. Detectives have a warrant for her arrest and are actively searching for her.
The flash-mob burglary was caught on camera by numerous bystanders, “sending shockwaves through the Glendale community,” Jackson said. In this daytime burglary, at least 30 suspects flooded into the YSL store and fled with an estimated $400,000 in merchandise.
Police said the male suspect was allegedly spotted on surveillance video.
Since the original crime, GPD detectives have been collaborating closely with Americana security and representatives from YSL to piece together details of the crime. Police said the investigation remains ongoing as they gather evidence and analyze leads.
“I assure all members of the Glendale community and the broader Los Angeles region that these brazen smash-and-grab robberies and burglaries will not be tolerated,” said Chief Manny Cid. “This marks the first arrest related to this crime and there are more arrests to come.”
Crime tips, videos and support from the Glendale community and business partners, have been pivotal in moving this investigation forward, Jackson said.
Rick Caruso, owner of the Americana at Brand, recently announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information to assist in the identification, arrest and conviction of the suspects responsible for the YSL crime.
“The time has come to demand that our elected officials change the laws to hold criminals accountable and start enforcing the laws in a fair and equitable manner,” Caruso said in a statement last week following the heist at the Americana at Brand. “Retail businesses and small and large shopping areas are experiencing an alarming increase in ‘smash and grab’ robberies. I have heard directly from small business owners who feel defeated by the lack of accountability for criminals.”
As a response to the recent surge in flash mob-style burglaries, LAPD has announced the formation of the Organized Retail Crime Task Force which will work to proactively put an end to these types of crimes, to develop leads and make arrests, according to Jackson, and the GPD has joined this coalition.
These flash mob burglaries involve a large, coordinated group of individuals simultaneously rushing into the store, overwhelming staff and taking it over. The suspects grab as much merchandise as possible before fleeing in multiple vehicles, police said. These types of crimes often will be done in a two- or three-minute time frame.
Similarly, on Aug. 12, more than two dozen culprits carried out a mob-style smash-and-grab robbery at Westfield Topanga Mall in Canoga Park, inside a Nordstrom. The police value the stolen merchandise at about $300,000.
Cell phone video from the scene, which was posted on Twitter, showed male and female suspects — most wearing masks, hoodies or other identity-concealing garb – smashing displays, grabbing clothing and bags and running from the store.
The mall was not evacuated, but an ambulance was summoned to treat a security guard at the store’s entrance who was sprayed with bear spray, according to police. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement condemning the crime.
“What happened today at the Nordstrom in the Topanga Mall is absolutely unacceptable,” Bass said. “Those who committed these acts and acts like it in neighboring areas must be held accountable. The Los Angeles Police Department will continue to work to not only find those responsible for this incident but to prevent these attacks on retailers from happening in the future.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón insists the perpetrators will be held accountable. While speaking to reporters Monday, Gascón said his office is being aggressive about prosecutions in such mob-style robberies, treating them as organized crime felonies, not simple misdemeanors.
“We’ve got a team of people that have been working in the Glendale case and other cases, and will continue to do so,” Gascón said. “We assigned our organized crime division to work on these cases about a year and a half ago. We view them as organized crime, and we will use every tool available under the law when there is an arrest made to make sure these individuals are held accountable. This is unacceptable behavior in a civilized society.”
Gascón said there are people in the community who can identify the robbers, with some people even buying stolen merchandise from the heist, and they also need to be held accountable.
While his department is not directly involved in the Glendale or Canoga Park cases, Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters the sheriff’s department will coordinate with other law enforcement agencies.
“We’re going to be communicating, we’re going to investigate and we’re going to assist in any way we can,” Luna said. “But I guarantee you, once we get the evidence where we can take people into custody, we’re going to take them into custody and go from there.”
Anyone with information to assist in this case should call (818) 548-4911. To remain anonymous, call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to lacrimestoppers.org.

— City News Service contributed to this report.

First published in the August 19 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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